So I have a wordpress site that is doing well with SEO and but the theme is quite antiquated and will be replaced with a new custom theme, updated plugins and new functionality. I am keeping the same domain of course.
Firstly, I need to know the most effective the workflow with respect to keeping good SEO kudos.
Once the new site has been finished, I would have thought it went something like this:
1. Create sitemap for old site
2. Create sitemap for new site
3. Using 301 redirects, start matching up old pages with new destinations
4. Resubmit to search engines for crawling
Assuming this basic workflow is correct, my next question is what is the best way to perform the redirects in Step 3? I am getting mixed results when I search for information as it can be done a myriad of ways. I seem to be coming to the conclusion that modifying the htaccess file is the best way. I am hoping I can come up with some sort of script to facilitate pointing hundreds of pages.
Lastly, I will need to repeat this process with 4 other sites in the near future.
Any feedback on how to do this painlessly as possible would be appreciated.
*first-time poster, so sorry if this is too general. If it is please feel free to link to good articles about this (I tried looking but kept getting very vague information)