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How To Successfully Undertake Site Migrations - Search London 2017


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From the initial full site audit to new site suggestions and migration technical guidelines to staging site crawls, error fixes and post go live technical checks, this presentation covers all essential parts of site migrations, providing you with practical advice, checklists and recommendations to ensure migrations are synonymous with increased visibility.

Published in: Marketing

How To Successfully Undertake Site Migrations - Search London 2017

  1. 1. @chloebodard | #brightonseo How to Successfully Undertake Site Migrations @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  2. 2. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Why Migrate? ● Planning ● Pre Live Checklist ● Go Live Checklist ● Post Live Checklist ● What’s Next? Site Migrations @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  3. 3. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Why Migrate? HTTPS August 2014, Google announced that site using HTTPS site would benefit from minor boost in rankings, hoping to encourage a safer web. Rebranding & Re-design Changing Top Level Domain (TLD) Going international? Change targeting and add hreflang tags @chloebodard | #SearchLondon@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  4. 4. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Risks @chloebodard ● Missing 301s, 404s & broken links ● Content duplication ● Robots & Sitemap issues ● Tracking issues @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  5. 5. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard Site migration rushed - resulted in lots of redirect chains/broken redirects Redirect chains and broken redirects fixed Migrations Can Go Wrong @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  6. 6. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Pre Go Live @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  7. 7. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Pre Go Live Checklist @chloebodard 1. Homepage Design & Content 2. Navigation, URL structure & Optimisation 3. Crawl Current Website URLs 4. Redirects 5. Canonical Tags 6. Robots.txt File 7. Sitemap.xml 8. Schema Markup 9. 404s 10. Mobile & Page Speed 11. Goals & Event Tracking @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  8. 8. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Planning @chloebodard ● Keyword research & GA ○ Identify key pages ○ Url structure & Site Hierarchy ○ Sitemap ○ Benchmark rankings ● Competitor analysis ○ Use their knowledge & experience to your advantage ● UX ○ User friendly ○ Think about the user journey ○ CTAs ● For new domains, audit domain - previous penalties? Audit backlinks - get disavow ready @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  9. 9. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Planning @chloebodard ● Crawl your site ○ Gather all urls ● Look in GA ○ Identify your top landing pages ● Map out your 301s ○ Assign a corresponding new site URL (or best option) to all current URLs to be 301 redirected. ● Verify new site domain in Search Console Where to Start? @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  10. 10. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Optimisation @chloebodard ● URL structure ● Navigation ● Meta tags ● Heading tags ● Content ● Interlinking ● Alt tags ● CTAs @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  11. 11. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Missing page titles/meta descriptions/ H1s - use SF SERP Summary report ● Duplicate page titles/meta descriptions/ H1s - use SF SERP Summary report ● Lack of keyword targeting ● Meta tags improvements - use SC Search Analytics Report ● Internal cannibalisation - use GA landing page organic traffic & check rankings What To Look At For Improvements? @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  12. 12. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Ensure ALL pages have a unique Page title, meta description and H1s. ○ Targeted keyword should be at the start of the page title & in the H1 ○ Look at top rankers !! ○ Seize improvement opportunities from SC ○ Make meta descriptions engaging & with a CTA. ○ Include KW & semantic variations in H2s ● Ensure page titles & meta descriptions are within recommended length (up to 61-63 characters now) ● Ensure each page targets a different phrase to avoid internal cannibalisation ● Push pages ranking on top of page 2 to page 1 Get New Site Optimisation Right @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  13. 13. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Use Screaming Frogs List Mode to crawl your list of URLs. Make sure ‘Always Follow Redirects’ is ticked in Settings. (Configuration > Spider > Advanced) ● Paste/Upload all URLs into a spreadsheet ● Identify current redirects to avoid redirect chains Crawl your Site @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  14. 14. @chloebodard | #brightonseo 301 Redirects Tips @chloebodard ● No blanket redirect to the homepage! ● Setup page-to-page 301 permanent redirects to new corresponding pages (not 302 temporary redirects!) - don’t forget images! ● Ensure site-wide 301 redirects are set up from non-preferred to preferred versions (www, https & trailing slashes) ● Prevent redirect chains - URLs should 301 redirect straight to the final version (remember to update internal links) ● Map Redirects for key 404s (esp. Backlinks or Landing Page 404s) @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  15. 15. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Ensure canonicals point to the preferred version of the site (esp. Important after https migration) ● Use absolute URLS ● Should NOT point to 404s or 301s ● Listing URLs should not be canonicalised to the first page - use rel=prev and rel=next tags! Canonical Tags @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  16. 16. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard Tech changes made and canonicals set to non preferred (http) version Canonicals updated to avoid 301s and point to preferred version (https) Canonical Tags Matter! @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  17. 17. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Hide / Disallow the staging site! ○ password protect the staging/new site and add the Disallow : / directive to robots.txt ** DON’T FORGET TO REMOVE IT ON GO LIVE ** ● Get a list of unwanted URLs ( for users only) that you’ll want to add to it (wish list urls, admin urls etc) ● Sitemap reference will need to be added too Robots.txt File @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  18. 18. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Best type of Sitemap is dynamic - automatically updates! ● Only include canonical URLs, don’t include 404, 301s or canonicalised URLs ● Beware of orphaned URLs that you may not want to be indexed ● Include an accurate Last Modified Date and Location of the URL ● Make sure your key pages are in there & use child sitemaps to separate sections/large list of URLs. ● If multiple types of content, use additional sitemap types (image, video & mobile ) ● All URLs in the sitemap should be linked internally Sitemap.xml @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  19. 19. ● It’s a way to annotate the code of your website so that Google understands your data better through adding markup tags within a page’s HTML. ● These include products, local business, breadcrumbs and many others. ● Search engines use the tags that they find on pages to generate rich snippets for search results in Google. ● These can then help increase CTR from SERPs. More Information : @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard Schema Markup (Structured Data) @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  20. 20. ● 404s do not negatively affect SEO but do affect the user experience ● Incorrect URLs should contain a 404 HTTP status code & display a page not found error. They SHOULD NOT redirect ● Create a custom 404 page that displays links to other pages that users could visit & keep same header / footer. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard 404 Error Handling @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  21. 21. Google announced that they intend to switch to a mobile-first index: ● Website should use a responsive design - same code is present on all devices ● Mobile website should include same content as desktop, DO NOT remove important links or hide content on some devices Page Speed has been a ranking signal since 2010 & also affects UX ● Test your page speed (webpagetest, gtmetrix, pingdom, page speed insights) ● Make sure that the server is as optimised as possible for speed ● Website Page Speed Improvements @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard Mobile & Page Speed @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  22. 22. ● GA tracking code to be added on Go live to every page, right before the </head> tag. ● Test with google tag assistant ● Set up goals - or ecomm tracking ○ Destination urls ○ Event tracking Adwords? Don’t forget to change destination URLs!!! @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard Tracking & Goals @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  23. 23. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Go Live @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  24. 24. BRAUMGroup 24 Ready to go live? @chloebodard ● Add the GA tracking code ● Check goals are set up ● Remove blanket noindex tags ● Remove disallow directive from robots.txt file ● Check 301 Redirects are added and ready to go ● Complete a final crawl. Check/fix any remaining issues ● Save the last crawl (to run again post migration) ● Backup your website (in case anything goes wrong) @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  25. 25. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Post Go Live @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  26. 26. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Check GA tracking code ● Use Fetch & Render & Submit URLs ● Submit Sitemap in SC ● Add an annotation in GA (to track the go live date) ● Check goal tracking is working ● Check robots.txt file ● Crawl New Site - Check for issues such as 404s or internal redirects ● Crawl Old URLs - Check the redirects are working as expected ● Check Canonicals ● Update important Backlinks Post Go Live Checklist - Same Domain @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  27. 27. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Extra steps for a HTTPS migration ● Verify HTTPS versions of the domain (e.g https://, https://www) in Search Console. Don’t remove the HTTP versions. ● Update Google Analytics settings & reconnect to Search Console ● Group all versions (http & https) within a Property Set in Search Console ● Upload disavow file for new domain ● Re-apply any advanced settings in Search Console e.g Parameters and Country Targeting ● Ensure all URL within the sitemap are on https as otherwise http urls could get indexed Post Go Live Checklist - HTTPS Migration @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  28. 28. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Extra steps for a Domain migration ● Verify all Search Console versions for the new domain e.g https, http, http://www, https://www (don’t remove the previous domain versions!) ● Submit ‘Change of Address’ request in Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools ● Update Google Analytics settings & reconnect to Search Console ● Group old and new domain versions (http & https) in Property Set in Search Console ● Upload disavow file for new domain ● Re-apply any advanced settings in Search Console e.g Parameters and Country Targeting ● Update Citations e.g Google My Business links Post Go Live Checklist - Domain Change @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  29. 29. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Check Your Sitemap Use DeepCrawl Sitemap report to: ● Highlight any orphaned URLs to be linked ● Pages missing from your sitemap to be added ● Errors within its pages to be fixed Use Search console to submit it & check for errors: ● Check for warnings & follow recommendations ● Look at number of URLs submitted vs indexed @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  30. 30. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Errors in your sitemap, such as 404, 301s or canonicalised URLs ● Orphaned URLs that you may / may not want to be indexed ● Missing/inaccurate Last Modified Date ● Missing key pages ● Noindex pages & URLs blocked by robots.txt file Issues To Look For in Sitemap? @chloebodard | #BrightonSeo@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  31. 31. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard Monitor Sitemap Indexing @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  32. 32. Option 1: Use the robots.txt tester in Search Console - this requires the robots.txt file to be actually updated. Option 2: Use the custom robots.txt tool in Screaming Frog to test then and there. Check the commands you are adding will work for the URLS you want to block. @chloebodard Test Your Robots.txt File @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  33. 33. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Disallowing full site post migration? ● Disallowing CSS/JS files? ● Disallowing unexpected URLs? Issues To Look For In Your Robots.txt File @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  34. 34. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Use Screaming Frogs List Mode to crawl your list of URLs. Make sure ‘Always Follow Redirects’ is ticked in Settings. (Configuration > Spider > Advanced) ● Paste/Upload old URLs ● Update Redirects which have multiple Redirect Chains ● Create Redirects for key 404s (esp. Backlink or Landing Page 404s) ● Fix broken/incorrect Redirects ● Download the final redirect chain reports Crawl your URLs + Check 301s & 404’s @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  35. 35. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  36. 36. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Check Canonicals Run a DeepCrawl Canonical Report to highlight: ● canonical errors, ● orphaned canonical URLs ● pages without a valid canonical tag Use Screaming Frog to: ● Identify canonicalised URLs ● Check for errors by exporting the Canonical Errors report @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  37. 37. @chloebodard | #brightonseo ● Gather backlink URLs via tools such as Majestic ● Update high quality backlinks to final destination if possible ● Update local citations if domain name changes including GMB ● Update social Profiles Backlinks @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  38. 38. @chloebodard | #brightonseo What’s Next? @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  39. 39. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Crawl, re-crawl, keep checking indexing, rankings, visibility and traffic! @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  40. 40. ● Monitor indexing, visibility & rankings ● Update meta tags and heading tags based on rankings ● Work on on site content - on page & blog articles ● Work on internal linking ● Work on outreach and link building ● Carry out technical checks (check 404s, 301s, new issues?) @chloebodard | #brightonseo What’s Next? @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  41. 41. @chloebodard | #brightonseo Case Study @chloebodard ● Recently migrated 7 separate websites towards a single domain. ● The main site was completely restructured, with the other sites being smaller branches of the brand that were migrated to a single site. ● This involved a massive amount of planning beforehand, including extensive URL mapping and staging site tech check and analysis. @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  42. 42. +400% Organic traffic since the migration @chloebodard Migration Results @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  43. 43. +93% Increase in organic traffic New Site Design & TLD ● Page 1 rankings for all key pages. ● Organic traffic is up 92.92% year on year ● Organic enquiries increased 333% YoY @chloebodard @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  44. 44. BRAUMGroup 44 ● Homepage Design & Content ● Navigation & URL structure ● Crawl Current Website URLs ● Map 301 Redirects ● Canonical Tags ● Optimisation ● Sitemap.xml ● Robots.txt File Migration Checklists Pre Go Live @chloebodard ● Goals & Event Tracking ● Schema Markup ● Mobile ● Unnecessary Redirects ● Calls to Action ● 404’s ● Page Speed @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  45. 45. BRAUMGroup 45 Migration Checklists Go Live ● Sitemap.xml ● Robots.txt File ● 301 Redirects ● GA Tracking Code ● Mobile Site ● Website Crawl @chloebodard@chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  46. 46. BRAUMGroup 46 Migration Checklists Post Go Live @chloebodard ● Submit Sitemap ● Old URLs crawl ● New site crawl ● Robots.txt file check ● GA tracking code check ● Fetch & Render ● Data Highlighting ● Search Console Settings ● Backlinks updates ● Disavow file upload @chloebodard | #SearchLondon
  47. 47. @chloebodard | #brightonseo@chloebodard Thank You! @chloebodard | #SearchLondon