Migration Guide Part 6 - Quality Assurance
Before you push the button and migrate your site to Shopify, it's best to conduct some reviews of all the work that's been done, to minimise any risks when you go live. Find out what we do prior to every single migration to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
We use the same checklist on every site we migrate. We've refined this over several years and dozens of migrations and it ensures we cover the key QA steps for every launch.
Quality-assuring redirects is one of the most important parts of the entire process.
It is essential to ensure that:
- Every redirect goes to the correct destination page
- The destination page loads properly (no 404s)
- There are no redirect chains (i.e. Page A > Page B > Page C)
How to Test Your Redirects
- Get a list of all the URLs from the old site
- Open Screaming Frog and switch to ‘list’ mode
- Authorise Screaming Frog to access your dev store
- Configure Screaming Frog to ‘follow redirects’
Shopify will block any IP that attempts to request lots of URLs too quickly. This is to prevent people spamming your site. This includes bots like Screaming Frog.
To get around this, in Screaming Frog go to:
- Configurations > Speed > Limit URLs >
- Set Max URLs to 1.4
- Start a list-mode crawl on your old URLs
- Screaming Frog will now crawl all those URLs and follow where they redirect to
When the crawl has finished, go to:
Reports > Redirects > All Redirects
This will export a CSV that details all the redirects discovered during the call.
- Each of the URLs should return a 301 status.
- The 301 should redirect the URL to a Shopify page that returns a 200 status code
- If your redirects go to a destination that 404s, you need to update the destination of that redirect
Then go to:
Reports > Redirects > Redirect Chains
This will generate a report that details any redirects that chain across multiple redirects. For these ones you should update the redirect so that it points directly at the final destination.
Developer Note ('Dev note')
This is the final check we do to review the SEO health of the site - any amendments are passed to our development team to implement.
Some of the things we check include:
A canonical tag ("rel canonical") is a way of letting search engines know that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or "duplicate" content appearing on multiple URLs. In real terms, the canonical tag tells search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in their search results.
- Do all indexable pages have a self-referencing canonical?
- Do pages with URL parameters canonicalise to the non-parameter version?
- Do collections link directly to the canonical version of products? (Many Shopify collections will link to non-canonical product URLs so this needs to be updated.)
Schema markup is a structured data vocabulary that helps search engines better understand the info on your website. These markups allow search engines to see the meaning and relationships behind entities mentioned on your site.
- Do product pages have valid schema implemented?
- Are all the schema fields populated?
- Is there any conflict between product schema and reviews schema?
You use headers to provide structure to your pages. Typically an H1 is the main title, H2s might represent chapters and H3s, H4s and H5s etc can refer to sub-topics.
- Do all pages use H1s properly? (The H1 tag is the most important heading on a page because it’s the highest level tag that shows what your page is about.) It is best practice to have just one H1 on each page.
- Check whether the homepage logo is an H1. (This is the default behaviour of Shopify and should be removed.)
Hreflang is a HTML attribute which indicates to search engines when there are alternate versions of a page intended for a different region/language audience.
Hreflang can be implemented in different ways but the most common is a simple meta tag which goes on any page that has alternate versions.
- If the site is international, then we need to check that the hreflang tags are there and will work.
- (This is difficult to fully validate at this point because the site isn’t yet using the live URLs).
- More detail on hreflang and how it is implemented on Shopify can be found in our complete guide to Hreflang.