SMX Live: SEO Essentials For Migrating Websites

Mar 1, 2012 - 1:40 pm 1 by
Filed Under SMX West 2012

Live Blogging Coverage SMXBelow is live coverage of the SEO Essentials For Migrating Websites panel from the SMX West conference. This coverage is provided by Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick.

Disclaimer: The coverage is brought to you in real time, using a custom live blogging tool. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for inclusion into the live coverage. During the live event, live notes will auto-scroll with newest entries at top. After the session is complete the archive version will have the oldest entries at the top. We ask you to please excuse any typos, as these are live notes.

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Barry Schwartz: 10:40:36 am
Starting in 5 minutes
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That is the face of a Mac user using a PC
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SEO Essentials For Migrating Websites (#smx #32A)
It’s an SEO’s worst nightmare: for whatever reason, you need to migrate your website to a new host, CMS, or (horror!) a new domain name. But don’t panic – there are proven techniques that can help minimize the impact on search visibility caused by a site migration. Panelists on this session share best practices and tactics to ensure all of your hard-fought SEO efforts aren’t for naught.
Moderator: Christine Churchill, President, KeyRelevance (@keyrelevance)
Q&A Moderator: Corey Morris, SEO Strategist, emfluence (@coreydmorris)
Jessica Bowman, CEO,
Rhea Drysdale, Co-Founder & CEO, Outspoken Media, Inc. (@Rhea)
Ryan Jones, Sr. SEO Strategist, Team Detroit (@ryanjones)
Dana Lookadoo, SEO Consultant and Trainer, Yo! Yo! SEO (@lookadoo)
Shari Thurow, Founder and SEO Director, Omni Marketing Interactive (@sharithurow)
Barry Schwartz: 10:41:31 am
We cannot blog Shari's presentation
Barry Schwartz: 10:45:42 am
Site Migration panel starting now
Barry Schwartz: 10:46:00 am
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Dana Lookadoo, SEO Consultant and Trainer, Yo! Yo! SEO (@lookadoo) is up first
Barry Schwartz: 10:46:24 am
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Every web site that is migrated, will experience little loss
Barry Schwartz: 10:47:10 am
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She shares the experience some people have with migrating 10+ year old sites that are half broken
Barry Schwartz: 10:48:13 am
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Barry Schwartz: 10:48:54 am
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Barry Schwartz: 10:49:14 am
That is the plan right there. Lisa is on my right trying to type the whole slide fast. :)
Barry Schwartz: 10:49:47 am
Migration Variables depend on what changes:
- Design?
- URLs?
- IA Structure?
- Content & Meta?
- Plugins and Functionality?
Barry Schwartz: 10:50:26 am
Mirror the content order, keep the home page links, retain the link structure as much as possible
Barry Schwartz: 10:51:03 am
You want to know your internal links, you want to maintain your internal link structure, persrve your internal link strcuture
Barry Schwartz: 10:51:36 am
Know your top pages, which tools have the most links, which pages get the most traffic. Use Webmaster Tools or Open Site Explorer to discover those links
Barry Schwartz: 10:52:25 am
Weekly Baseline Metrics include pages indexed, cache date, PageRank, home page authority, domain authority and webmaster tools errors
Barry Schwartz: 10:52:54 am
Then think about tracking monthly basis, traffic sources, key pages, unique visitors, page/visits, bounce rates, time on site, conversions, etc.
Barry Schwartz: 10:53:21 am
Now the Planning and Implementation ....
Barry Schwartz: 10:53:50 am
First disallow your development site from being indexed using robots.txt file and password protect your dev site
Barry Schwartz: 10:54:08 am
Content Audit, what type of content do you have, rate the pages, what is moving, what pages are already indexed.
Barry Schwartz: 10:54:37 am
You can use the IIS SEO Toolkit to do an audit
Barry Schwartz: 10:55:19 am
Now the keyword research phase... map those keywords properly
Barry Schwartz: 10:55:32 am
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When you set up your redirects, map the redirects one to one. Retain the site hierarchy and structure
Barry Schwartz: 10:56:56 am
Final Days prior to launch:
- Try to break the site
- New Domain? Keep both active
- 503
- Mail Servers
- Secure access, etc.
Barry Schwartz: 10:57:09 am
Now you launch. Expect a drop in rankings from 2-4 weeks
Barry Schwartz: 10:57:53 am
Post Launch:
- Remove the robots.txt disallow
- Update/submit XML sitemap
- If a new domain, add and verify your site in GWT
- Fill out change of address
- Check header coders
- Keep track of coding errors
- Watch 404s
- Check indexation
Barry Schwartz: 10:58:44 am
Next up Jessica Bowman, CEO,
Barry Schwartz: 10:59:35 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:00:10 am
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She is going to look at two of those phases
Barry Schwartz: 11:00:42 am
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You must atttend all requirement meetings
Barry Schwartz: 11:02:22 am
You need to read the new site migration documentation from the developers
Barry Schwartz: 11:03:42 am
She shows an example of something written in a technical document that was bad for SEO
Barry Schwartz: 11:03:56 am
It was a business decision, but it would create huge duplicate content issues
Barry Schwartz: 11:05:29 am
Here is a snippet of those requirements
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Barry Schwartz: 11:06:35 am
You need to sit down with the design team before they do their photoshop work
Barry Schwartz: 11:07:16 am
Get designers and SEOs to review the wire frames prior to the developers see it
Barry Schwartz: 11:07:24 am
Most wire frames only cover basic SEO stuff
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The wire frames may say "make this SEO friendly" but it should specifically say how
Barry Schwartz: 11:08:29 am
Learning happens over time, so train your team, the more they will learn
Barry Schwartz: 11:09:55 am
Rhea Drysdale, Co-Founder & CEO, Outspoken Media, Inc. (@Rhea) is next up
Barry Schwartz: 11:10:00 am
She is way cooler than Lisa
Barry Schwartz: 11:10:12 am
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She is going to focus on links for migration
Barry Schwartz: 11:11:12 am
She likes Bing Webmaster Center cause it has very detail error reporting
Barry Schwartz: 11:11:55 am
Bing shows you link detail with the anchor text.
Barry Schwartz: 11:12:12 am
Google Webmaster Tools also lets you do this... Shows you most linked to content.
Barry Schwartz: 11:12:28 am
So reach out to them and ask them to link to the new place
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You can download all those reports
Barry Schwartz: 11:12:52 am
There is also Open Site Explorer
Barry Schwartz: 11:12:56 am
Also Majestic SEO
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Google Analytics shows referral traffic
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404 Discovery, check to see which pages are broken or need to be 301ed
Barry Schwartz: 11:13:46 am
You can control domains you own, self published links, sites with a direct relationship and paid links
Barry Schwartz: 11:15:04 am
What don't you control? Really old content, curated lists, reviews, news/media mentions, site wide links, blogrolls, andd social shares
Barry Schwartz: 11:15:37 am
Set up a criteria on what is a priority:
- Link count
- Followed or no followed
- Anchor Text
- Domain and page authority
Barry Schwartz: 11:16:33 am
Now you need to automate and outsource to ge tthem updated.... Use something like mechanical turk or odesk
Barry Schwartz: 11:16:46 am
Raven SEO tools and Buzz Stream has a contact discovery but it is a bit buggy
Barry Schwartz: 11:17:26 am
Once you have the list of people to contact, you need to reach out to those people. Make sure new link still adds value. Otherwise why would they update a link?
Barry Schwartz: 11:17:54 am
After, track and follow up with these people
Barry Schwartz: 11:19:45 am
Then replace the links you cant fix
Barry Schwartz: 11:20:07 am
Ryan Jones, Sr. SEO Strategist, Team Detroit (@ryanjones) is next
Barry Schwartz: 11:20:22 am
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He had to change his deck last minute b/c he just switched companies --- He also bribed me with non-Kosher cookies
Barry Schwartz: 11:22:12 am
Reasons To Move A Domain:
- A change in brand identity
- You might get a Google penalty
- Maybe you just screwed up
- Maybe you need to consolidate and leverage your authority
Barry Schwartz: 11:22:34 am
He worked at a large automotive company
Barry Schwartz: 11:22:48 am
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#1 source of traffic was the corporate site and the site was terrible with bounce rates
Barry Schwartz: 11:23:40 am
The site wasn't meeting user expectations
Barry Schwartz: 11:24:32 am
They has all these authoritative sites but they weren't using it
Barry Schwartz: 11:24:41 am
So they wanted to create an authority hub
Barry Schwartz: 11:25:01 am
They went to sub domains
Barry Schwartz: 11:25:29 am
They moved two sites, into one. They couldn't have any down time. They had to mitigate dup the content period
Barry Schwartz: 11:26:07 am
Tip he said to use is this but he didn't call it TTL
Barry Schwartz: 11:26:38 am
They had to prove it would sell more cars before anyone moved ahead with it.
Barry Schwartz: 11:26:56 am
Come up with a plan to move the site, QA, revert back if things go wrong, communicate plan.
Barry Schwartz: 11:27:09 am
Measure everything from rankings to traffic, bounce rate, 404s, etc
Barry Schwartz: 11:28:08 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:29:35 am
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Good results!
Barry Schwartz: 11:30:21 am
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Barry Schwartz: 11:31:50 am
Shari is up but I can't live blog her
Barry Schwartz: 11:32:10 am
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See, you can't see her now.
Barry Schwartz: 11:33:05 am
Anyway, next sessions at 1pm PDT

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