Migrating your e-commerce store to a new platform is a large, tedious process. With so many moving parts, it’s easy to forget a few. Especially those that you really can’t do until you’ve moved the site.

Here’s three really important technical tasks you may overlook once you’re live.

Old Crawl Parameters in Search Console

It’s fairly unusual these days for people to modify this section of Google Search Console, since we have so many other ways to instruct search engines to crawl sites. This was not always the case, however.

URL Parameters tool in Google Search Console
URL Parameters Tool in Google Search Console

Canonical URLs, some nifty header coding and a handful of other developments have made that portion of Search Console so obsolete that even Google has it in the legacy tools tab.

Let’s say you have a mature eCommerce site though, that’s been around ten or twenty years. In that case, someone may have used crawl parameters way back when.

In some cases, such as if you are moving to Shopify, your URL structure will likely change. This is where crawl parameters can really damage you. Here’s what could go wrong:

  • You may accidentally ask Google to NOT crawl something important
  • You may allow crawling of website sections that were previously blocked, unless you addressed it another way.
  • Crawling of paginated categories may behave differently.

Truthfully, if you have a mature website, you should probably check this anyhow, whether you are changing platforms or not. It could solve some mysteries as to why certain content you want to be indexed isn’t being crawled.

Your Google Analytics Goal Structure

By the time your site has gone live on your new platform, I’m sure you’ve made sure enhanced e-commerce tracking is set up and working. We wouldn’t want to miss the data from your big launch day!

At the same time, many of us have micro goals set up in Google Analytics, looking to see what banners are performing, what links are getting clicked, and many other different types of actions users are taking in your e-commerce store.

Destination Based Google Analytics Goal
An example of a destination based Google Analytics goal which may need to be altered after your platform migration.

Many of these types of goals are triggered by data layer events. We need to make sure that the data layer, as well as a few other things, are behaving the same way on your new platform.

Some issues in particular to look for:

  • Events firing on specific CSS selectors that no longer exist
  • Destination based GA goals where the “success” URL has changed
  • Data layer variable names that have changed
  • Form classes and IDs that have been modified or removed

So for data continuity, we should go in an adjust goals and events right away. You can plan ahead by identifying all these on your development store instance before the big day. Then it’s simply a matter of tweaking GA and Tag Manager.

Redirect Chains: Don’t Let this Happen to You

During an e-commerce platform migration, content may be gained or lost, and URL structures may change. While you may have painstakingly created 301 redirect mapping for this, it’s likely that you have inadvertently created some redirect chains during the process.

What that means is that old URL A points to another older URL B, but now it eventually resolves at URL C. Maybe even D.

Redirect Loop Example
A page that redirects twice to get to its final destination.

Use a tool like Sitebulb or Screaming Frog to crawl the new site day one, and identify these “hops”. Not only do they slow down the user experience, but they are non-optimal from an SEO perspective.

While the search engines are smart enough to figure out what we want the experience to be (for the most part), why leave anything to chance? For the most possible juice from your internal linking strategy, always make sure you are linking directly to the properly resolving URL. This might even include some to the old HTTP standard, as opposed to HTTPS.

Sitebulb and Screaming Frog are great, but another thing you may want to do is install the Link Redirect Trace plugin for your browser.  Let’s face it, we’re all on our websites every day, and this browser plug-in will help you identify these kinds of issues while you’re doing your other daily tasks.

Your Next Steps on E-commerce Platform Migration Launch

You’ve just made a massive accomplishment in migrating your e-commerce store to a new platform. Kudos on a job well done!  There’s just a few more things you need to do today to claim a major victory.

  1. Log into Google Search Console
  2. Check for old crawl parameters
  3. Log in to Google Analytics & Tag Manager
  4. Check for Goals and Events that May no Longer Work
  5. Use a Tool to Check for Redirect Chains
  6. Adjust On-Site Content to Point to the Right Pages

Need additional help?  We can walk you through the whole process. Get in touch!

Kevin Webster

I've been doing digital marketing since 2003. I've worked with clients across dozens of verticals, helping them achieve results in SEO, Paid Search, and analytics.

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