Maintaining High Search Visibility Through Redesigns - PubCon New Orleans 2014


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PubCon demands details about search marketing and this presentation provides lots of details about what to do and not to do during redesigns in order to maintain high search visibility. Of interest to SEOs, webmasters, web producers and web marketers.

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Maintaining High Search Visibility Through Redesigns - PubCon New Orleans 2014

  1. 1. Sanity Through a Redesign!!! Barbara Coll NOLA2014 @webmama
  2. 2. @webmama Maintaining... Through a Redesign Sanity – insert your own definition Visibility – in organic search results The Realistic Ability to Measure – a major redesign is going to make it hard to compare apples to apples.
  3. 3. @webmama Top Reasons for Redesign and #1 Effect on Measurement, Visibility and Sanity New SEO Company = Tactical changes too many to mention in this small box New CEO/CMO = New brand agency, new web design Repositioning of Company/products = New content, new keywords Company Name Change /Acquisition = Domain Name Change. Every URL Changes
  4. 4. @webmama Prepare for Redesign (1) Keyword discovery research – what keywords define the company Which content drives traffic into site (review landing pages) and set content/SEO strategy to maintain that content Look at Page Authority ( and don’t kill pages with high page authority
  5. 5. @webmama Keyword Category Domination Company = VMware Keyword = virtualization
  6. 6. @webmama Instances of Keyword/Content   *  n-basics/what-is-virtualization.html *  virtualization.html * * URLs/Filenames the same as pre-redesign
  7. 7. @webmama Internal Content Links Maintained Footers Imagery Main Nav Video
  8. 8. @webmama Prepare for Redesign (2) The Tedious Part WebMaster Tools – Queries, Keywords, Clicks - TAKE SCREENSHOTS! What do search results look like today! TAKE SCREENSHOTS! As much as I hate to say it – run ranking reports Set up redirect file for .htaccess
  9. 9. @webmama@webmama Pre-Redesign (3) Competitive Positioning – Who’s There in search results Paid Search – Gap Analysis – SearchLight has been recommended  Inventory which page names are changing  Set up redirect list for .htaccess file  Use 301 redirects  Consider leaving high Page Authority pages’ URLs the same regardless of high value of adding keywords to URL  Test redirects before launch Filename Changes
  10. 10. @webmama
  11. 11. @webmama
  12. 12. @webmama@webmama Little Things  Error Page in place?  Turned on the tracking code (since it was probably off on the beta site)?  Filtered out the design/development team (Search company too) from the analytics?  Connected Google analytics and Google Webmaster tools and have the same person looking at both  Don’t forget the marketing automation forms since they tend to be on a subdomain of the old domain which may get deleted
  13. 13. @webmama Error Page: Count it in Analytics Example of Error Page
  14. 14. @webmama@webmama Launch Sitemap.xml Fetch in Google Webmaster tools Ask for updates on key external links Fingers crossed 24 hour surveillance
  15. 15. @webmama Right about Now Spot check for redirect errors – click on organic search results Home page change? 3 hours Sitelinks? 1-3 days Old and new URLs at same time – yup – some overlap DNS propagation – 4-5 days across world Major ranking changes – 2 weeks Launch 2-weeks
  16. 16. @webmama What can you compare from previous site?
  17. 17. @webmama Organic Search Traffic Comparing Pre-Post Launch Traditional Analytics Full site Visits Unique Visitors Time on site Bounce rate Traffic to pages where URL has NOT changed Questionable Number of Pages Viewed/visit Form completions
  18. 18. @webmama Organic Search Traffic Comparing Pre-Post Launch  Queries, Keywords, Clicks
  19. 19. @webmama What CAN’T you compare from previous site?
  20. 20. @webmama Organic Search Traffic What you CAN’T Compare Content by page (unless you kept the URLs the same) (ie. Visits to company/mgt/ceo would need to be mapped to company/management/ceo) # of Pages visited Path through site Top content Landing pages Questionable  Consumption of resources (whitepapers, etc)
  21. 21. @webmama@webmama Suggestions / Observations Go back and revisit your screenshots of search results prior to redesign. - Did it work? - Do the snippets make sense? Question – when do you intervene?
  22. 22. @webmama Visual Search Turns Up Lots of Things
  23. 23. @webmama VMware Case Study -
  24. 24. DomainChan ge Case Study
  25. 25. @webmama • Hundreds of external links • 3 external relevant links
  26. 26. @webmama Prep Work  Page by Page 301 redirect set up  No pages added. No design changes.  Ran sites in duplicate for a few hours to get a few important things done  Testing internal links (especially back and forth from blog)  WebMaster Tools verification  Prepared a new XML sitemap for submission  Testing of Google Analytics on .com  Warned executives that their site may disappear from search results for a while  Made sure company IP address, my company and design team was filtered out of site analytics for new domain
  27. 27. @webmama Immediately Told Google and Bing that we had switched domain names through their webmaster tools Checked tracking system for both site and marketing automation tool (lead generation) Ie – filled out forms Hand Searched – followed results checking for 301s in place
  28. 28. @webmama Waited a few hours…then.. Turned on the redirects Uploaded a new sitemap – wanted to make sure the redirect was working as a 301 so I waited about 4 hours Used Webmaster Tools and Microsoft and did a Fetch of the main pages
  29. 29. @webmama Remember.. Change email addresses
  30. 30. @webmama Initial Consequences Nothing happened Double listings on some page results Loss of sitelinks Switch over of brand search – no sitelinks or even little links Google+ got it all wrong (next story)
  31. 31. @webmama Identical to pre-domain change.
  32. 32. @webmama
  33. 33. Barbara Coll @webmama #PubCon