SEO Case Study – Successful Website Migration

Successful Website migration

The migration to a new infrastructure and platform was successful – the website’s search visibility and traffic wasn’t impacted with trends staying the same as they were before the migration took place.

Client Background

Market:     The United States, nationwide

Industry:   Retail // Online Paint and Paint Supplies Store

About:       Small and ambitious family business selling eco-friendly and stylish paint.

Following the advice of their consultants, this client was looking for an SEO agency to guide them through a website migration project. The management wanted the migration to be a success, and this meant they didn’t want the migration to hurt their organic visibility. The development team was looking for clear instructions on how to build a website that follows the Search Engine guidelines and best technical practices.

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Problem & Project Goals

The client decided to change their website infrastructure and platform, and understood that this migration can harm their search visibility and rankings. There was nobody within the organization who had enough SEO expertise to take-on this project.

Strategy

1) Preserve the strengths of the old website,
2) Use the migration as an opportunity to improve overall SEO quality, and
3) Create full dev. team commitment to maximize their efforts

What we did

Mapped strength and weaknesses old website

We started with a full SEO Audit of to understand the strength and weaknesses of the existing website. This allows us to create a baseline for later reference, and to create a blueprint for the technical SEO requirements to transfer to the new website.

Created backup of all SEO elements

We crawled and stored our crawl results for future reference and as a backup in case data gets lost during the migration process. 

Got involved early on

We also requested access to the wireframes, and the development location for the new website. Together with our earlier findings when auditing the website, the wireframes and access to the dev. location we were able to provide feedback and recommendations on how to preserve the old website’s strengths within the new website. At the same time, this also allowed us to provide our feedback on the wireframes and deliver our recommendations on how to minimize the risk of a drop in visibility and traffic.

Provided clear detailed feedback and recommendations for the dev.team

Some of the recommendations we provided were to;

  • Update the technical implementation of the product filters so that they can be crawled by the search engines (something that was the case for the old website, and supports the internal link distribution of the website).
  • Re-create the pages that were present on the old website, and are missing on the new website
    (the existing traffic to these pages would otherwise be lost).
  • Set up redirects for those pages for which the URL structure changed (to preserve existing traffic and page authority. We also provided the redirect mapping for this).

Guided and supported the dev.team through development and testing

During the development phase, we frequently met with the dev. team to discuss progress, recommendations and to support the dev. team with the implementation of the SEO requirements. When recommendations and fixes were made available on the dev. location, we reviewed the changes to confirm these were implemented correctly, and provided additional support where necessary.

Created custom reports for monitoring and troubleshooting

To track the impact of the migration we created custom reports in Google Data Studio, using Google Analytics and Google Search Console data, to monitor the impact on a page template level and site-section level. This would allow us to quickly assess where, if any, possible issues might occur during the migration.  

The results

Organic traffic and organic visibility was not impacted by the migration; all trends stayed the same after the migration took place. And the migration was on schedule – completed following the initial timeline.

Year over Year snapshot of the clicks before and after the migration
Year over Year snapshot of the clicks before and after the migration

The snapshot shows that there is no trend-break after the website migrated, and the Year over Year traffic trend follows the same pattern.

Right after the launch, we did notice a spike in sessions. With the help of the custom reports we created, and some additional investigation we were able to confirm this spike was caused by an inflation of total sessions caused by a Google Analytics tracking issue. 


Year over Year snapshot of organic sessions before and after the migration


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