Monday, January 17, 2011

Migrating from Blogger (Blogspot) to WordPress without Losing Any Valuable SEO and Links

Migrating from Blogger (Blogspot) to WordPress without Losing Any Valuable SEO and Links:
There are more than a few of you who are hanging out on Blogger.com (also known as Blogspot) which is fine!

There is really nothing wrong with the platform in and of itself but if you’re interested in taking your blog to the next level, especially as it relates to monetizing it, customizing it, as well as optimizing it for SEO, you’re probably going to want to take a serious look at moving to WordPress at some point.

[If you want to know why I choose WordPress over any other blogging platform then you can read my thoughts here!]

You won't regret the move... trust me!

But, you’re not going to want to lose all of those blog posts since they provide valuable legacy content and have already been indexed by Google and the other major search engines. Here is what’s at stake:

  • Your previous blog on Blogger has been around for a while and SEO factors in how long (or how old) a website is. In other words, how long it’s been in existence. You’re not going to want to abandon that!
  • Some of your previous articles and blog posts may in fact rank very high in Google and other search engines. You’ll want to pass that “juice” into your new WordPress-powered blog!
  • You are not able to use any “301 redirects” with Blogger because you don’t control any .htaccess files, the software, or the hosting of the actual blog. Using 301′s typically help move one move to a new web address without losing PageRank. Doh!
  • Search bots are one thing, humans are an entirely different thing (and just as valuable)! People are familiar with your current web address and may be in fact be visiting your site directly (or even have it bookmarked)! You’re not going to want to lose those direct traffic sources!
  • Current incoming links from other sources, blogs, and websites will have your old address and there’s simply no way for you to possibly inform those sources to update their links on your behalf. In fact, you probably don’t know even half of the sources anyways! What are you going to do?!
  • You may even lose RSS Subscribers if you make the jump. How are you going to manage that dropoff?
  • Finally, if you were making any money via Google’s Adsense program you can be certain that the loss of traffic (without a full and complete migration with recovered link juice) will ultimately result in loss of revenue generation. You’re not going to want that to happen!

So what’s the solution? How do you go about making the jump without losing all that precious SEO, traffic, and revenue? Here’s how:

1. Get WordPress Installed and Ready:

Of course you’ll first want to get your new self-hosted WordPress blog up and ready to go. All you have to do is follow these instructions here and then come back to this post!

Once you’ve got your new WordPress blog setup you’ll be ready to make the move and migration.

Cool? Cool.

2. Import Content from Blogger to WordPress

I’ve captured nearly every single step visually for your perusal. It’s quite straight-forward but you’re not going to want to make any mistakes!

Ready? Here we go:

As you can see from above I’ve created a dummy Blogger account and blog which has 3 posts. For this demo I’ll be migrating the content from this dummy blogspot blog into a brand new WordPress installation:

As you can see from the image above the installation is brand new and only has 1 post right now! By the end of this extensive walk through it should have 3 new posts via the Blogger blog.

First you’ll want to log into your new WordPress blog, go to Tools >> Import >> Blogger as seen below:

Next, you’ll click Blogger and you will most likely have to download and install the Blogger to WordPress Importer Plugin:

If for some reason you can’t install this plugin directly through your interface you’ll have to download it manually as well as upload it manually to your Plugins folder. You can find it directly here.

Activate it:

Next, you’ll want to begin the Authorization Process between your WordPress-powered blog and your old Blogger account:

Click Authorize and then this page should show up asking you to log in to your Google Account:

Insert your Email and Password and then proceed to this next screen where you will Grant Access to create a secure connection between your Blogger blog and your new WordPress blog:

Hit Grant Access and you’ll be returned to your WordPress blog to begin the migration process:

As you can see, WordPress has correctly identified that the old Blogger blog has 3 posts to migrate! Sweet! Click the Import button on the right and watch as WordPress imports the old content:

Done! Now, if you have multiple authors you may have to assign them to new usernames in WordPress:

When you’re done click Save Changes.

Now, as you can see WordPress displays correctly the 3 blog posts in the admin panel as well as on the front page!

You’ve now completed the migration of all your content from Blogger to WordPress!

Give yourself a pat on the back. You’re awesome! But remember that you’re not done yet! You’re now going to want to do some work in your old Blogger blog to make sure you capture all SEO juice.

3. Update Blogger Info for SEO

To correctly capture all the lose ends from your direct blog link to your organic SEO as well as direct links to your old Blogspot blog you’re going to want to change a few things in your account and settings.

Ready? There’s a little code involved but it’s not too bad!

First, you’ll want to create a new file called blogger.php with the following contents:

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<?php
/*
Template Name: Blogger
*/

global $wpdb;
$old_url = $_GET['q'];

if ($old_url != "") {
$permalink = explode("blogspot.com", $old_url);

$q = "SELECT guid FROM $wpdb->posts LEFT JOIN $wpdb->postmeta ".
"ON ($wpdb->posts.ID = $wpdb->postmeta.post_id) WHERE ".
"$wpdb->postmeta.meta_key='blogger_permalink' AND ".
"$wpdb->postmeta.meta_value='$permalink[1]'";

$new_url = $wpdb->get_var($q)? $wpdb->get_var($q) : "/";

header ("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
header("Location: $new_url");
}
?>

You can obviously create this in any text editor or any of the code editors of your choosing. I use these tools for FTP and Development if you’re interested to know!

If for some reason you can’t create the file I’ve attached it here in a .zip file.

Now, you’ll need to upload this file into your current WordPress Theme folder. For example, if you’re using the default theme in WordPress then you’ll put it here:

The default theme is called twentyten and I’ve put the blogger.php file inside the theme folder directly.

Here’s another view from the entire URL and domain folder:

As you can see it in the wp-content >> themes >> twentyten >> blogger.php.

Next, you’ll want to create a new Page in WordPress called blogger and choose the Template called Blogger in the “Page Attributes” area:

Don’t miss this! The “Page Attributes” is on the right side:

Hit Publish because you’re done here!

Now, head back to your Blogger Admin Panel:

You’re going to want to click the Design button on the right and head into the Edit HTML area:

Now scroll all the way to the bottom and you’ll see a link that says “Revert to Classic Template” – click that:

Now you’ll see a new “Edit HTML” screen:

You may also notice that the look of your theme on Blogger has also changed:

Now, you’ll want to copy and paste the following code into the “Edit” window completely replacing all the existing code, with your correct URL in the code as well:

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<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en" dir="<$BlogLanguageDirection${body}gt;">
<head>
<title><$BlogPageTitle${body}gt;</title>
<script type="text/javascript">
<MainOrArchivePage>window.location.href='http://YourDomain.com/'</MainOrArchivePage>
<Blogger><ItemPage>
window.location.href='http://YourDomain.com/blogger/?q=<$BlogItemPermalinkURL${body}gt;'
</ItemPage></Blogger>
</script>

<MainPage><link rel="canonical" href="http://YourDomain.com/" /></MainPage>
<Blogger><ItemPage>
<link rel="canonical" href="http://YourDomain.com/blogger/?q=<$BlogItemPermalinkURL${body}gt;" />
</ItemPage></Blogger>
</head><body>

<div style="border:#ccc 1px solid; background:#eee; padding:20px; margin:80px;">
<p>This page has moved to a new address.</p>

<h1>
<MainOrArchivePage><a href="http://YourDomain.com"><$BlogTitle${body}gt;</a></MainOrArchivePage>
<Blogger><ItemPage>
<a href="http://YourDomain.com/blogger/?q=<$BlogItemPermalinkURL${body}gt;"><$BlogItemTitle${body}gt;</a>
</ItemPage></Blogger>
</h1>
</div>
</body></html>

Don’t forget to change out the “YourDomain.com” links to your your new web address! This is critical! There are 6 places that need to change in the above code!

It’ll look like this:

Don’t forget to change out “YourDomain.com” to your domain name!

Then hit Save Template Changes and guess what… you’re done!

Essentially what this is doing is redirecting all traffic, requests, and links to your new WordPress blog!

5. Test and Check It!

The next step of course is to actively test your work! Head to your old Blogspot address and it should redirect to your new WordPress blog! Also, if you can test old links to posts click those and they should auto-redirect to the same post but on your WordPress blog!

I’ve created a video to show you in action:

Fantastic! You’ve successfully migrated from Blogger to WordPress without losing some significant SEO!

A Few Things to Remember:

There are a few things that you’ll want to make sure you even after this process is complete:

  • Keep your Blogspot blog up! Do not delete it! It still provides value and you will need it to keep the redirection alive!
  • Pictures and assorted media may not have fully been moved over, especially if it’s hosted on Blogger directly and/or Picasa. Bring these over manually or just keep your Blogspot blog up to serve that content.
  • Let everyone know that you’ve moved! Make the last post you do on Blogger an “Announcement” type post sharing with people the news of the migration. Heck, link them to this post to share with them how you did it (and to encourage them to migrate as well!).
  • Update any RSS Feed links and/or Feedburner!
  • Freshen up your look on WordPress with your content as your template structure most definitely will not look like the one you had on Blogger.
  • If you’re ever interested in seeing how your Blogspot looks like to a SEO bot you can easily turn of Javascript in your browser and visit the site.

Take care and we’ll see you on the other (and better) side with WordPress!"

1 comment:

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