There are huge SEO implications in a web migration project
I have assisted many companies on their path to brand concentration , that is, SMEs that have reached prominent positions in their markets and consolidate their online assets based on SEO focussed domains through a web migration towards an umbrella brand that gives them recognition.
A web migration with SEO is something that should be unappealable, given the serious consequences of a procedure attended by unqualified personnel to solve or circumvent SEO problems. These procedures are something where experience counts especially.
What is a web migration?
It basically consists of transferring the content of your website between two different presentations . With presentations I mean “how do you bring before your audience’s eyes” your content. These transfers are mainly of two types:
- Between domains
- Between platforms
1 – Web migration between domains
Such a case where a company is willing to transition from [www.niche-keyword.info] to [www.branded.com].
Please notice that domain extensions do not play a role in these examples, they show merely going from a “necessary evil” start to a “this is where we want to be” solid situation.
This can also happen between subdomains and domains, for example going from [blog.branded.com] to [www.branded.com/blog/].
A relevant case that illustrates a migration between domains could be a success story in which a company has several separate websites oriented in their respective target markets in their language:
[foreveryone.co.uk] [pourtoutlemonde.fr] [pertuttilimondo.it] > [branded.com/lang/slug] or maybe [en.branded.com] [fr.branded.com], etc.
It will eventually depend on legacy or technical dependencies and who takes on with your SEO effort. At first I am for the “folder structure”, but this is out of scope now.
There are other case types for web migrations, everything is dictated by the need detected by the company itself or external consultancy. However, there are clearly forced cases that nobody wants:
The least desirable cases
Some cross-domain moves end up being the only viable alternative, either because of budget, resources, or maybe even desperation:
- Serious penalties from Google: you leave the affected domain due to the difficulty of solving the problem. It’s rare and usually requires many limits to be crossed, but it is possible if you listen to the wrong advice or fall victim to a negative SEO attack. Some niches are prone to be inspected, generalists fall usually under the radar.
- Hacking, content injections, spamdexing: you no longer trust anything or anyone and leave the domain to its fate. I’ve seen it a lot on sloppy WordPress and Joomla installations.
- Domain name hijacking by providers: for justified reasons (or not) a provider denies you control of your domain. I’ve seen it a few times due to fine print, outstanding debts (real or not), misunderstanding, etc.
- Expiration of the domain: yes, it seems incredible that it still happens but it does. Your domain expires and is not renewed, either due to carelessness or negligence of your own or that of providers. By the time you want to amend it, any Chinese, Japanese or American domainer (among others) has already caught you. You have to shield domain names: the more authority yours has, the faster they take it out of your hands at the first chance.
2 – Web migrations between platforms
I am referring to the publishing and content management platform that you choose or are recommended about. In this case, it is not so much the change of domain but rather the determining factors or approach from which one starts. Each platform can provide advantages and disadvantages and all have particularities that can turn against your goals if these features are not properly controlled.
The first point to safeguard is the URL structure, something that can change diametrically between platforms for example due to a jump from Open Source to Custom Programming.
ANY single character changed, skipped or added makes your URL fresh new (for bad).
URLs are the lifeblood of your tree, the more you lose in the process the less health the tree will have. You can lose entire branches or even the whole thing.
Can URLs be lost? But all the pages I had are there!
Watch out. Don’t confuse content with URLs.
Your content may have been carried over with/without noticeable differences flawlessly, but if the URL that used to identify each content changes, then it turns out that you have completely rewritten your sitemap (in a metaphorical sense, because of course you will have also rewritten your XML sitemap).
This will lead to a sudden increase in 404 errors (page not found) and will ultimately lower your crawl budget, which complicates any recovery attempt.
Until when should you trust your path to a keyword?
That is, will you know that it is time for a web migration when you see it? When and how do you know that you have reached that moment of the umbrella brand?
The answer could not be accurate for the multitude of cases that can lead to such a migration. Without a doubt, it will be market causes, of your own activity, that will push you to value the decision.
Go from self-employed to company for taxation, for example. Adapt your websites spread across various local markets in different languages under a single website served in those languages, maybe your small company was acquired or funded, etc.
A value to take into account is the achievement of EAT , which summarizing tells the world about your value on the field as an Expert and Trusted Authority.
Your SEO-aggressive domain and all the online marketing effort behind it may have gotten you to where you are, possibly a very prominent position in your economic sector; but there comes a time when you will not feel represented and you want the world to know your company, brand, service or product by its name, not by happening to rank first on an external search service (“Everything that goes up must come down”). When the public refers to a generic product with a brand name, that is a brand triumph that we all want to achieve.
In English Google even has its own verb: “Google” for “search online”. Awesome.
Today we talk about “send me a whats” or “catch an uber”, do you follow? It happened to our elders and will happen to our grandsons; This is ageless and seemingly will go on for a long time.
Some of my most visible web migrations:
This article is born from the seed of a post on my company LinkedIn profile , part of my personal brand but I adapt it to deal with the process that I have seen many times in which a successful company decides to gather its products/services and sub-brands under a single umbrella brand, a brand that establishes itself in the market, consolidating the parent company as a benchmark in its field.
The robot is leaving: Hasta la vista, baby!
After many years of “thoughtful robot” as a conceptual logo, winds of change are coming to “SEO Freelance”.
Without denying anything, I think it’s time for branding, the time for the umbrella brand. I’ve had a successful career as an SEO professional for years and I feel like the whole world is shedding its skin (again). There are already many SEO freelancers and the degree of confusion is high. Time to think about something else.
Brand versus keywords, that has always been the underlying issue: there are those who sink because they cannot get their brand on the narrow podium of visibility, there are those who reach their goals without any recognition (except for my regular B2B/B2C clients in my own case).
I don’t have a date for the change, but for the sake of my profit I will be careful though unconcerned because the knowledge is at home, just need to find the TIME.
If you are at the moment of making your web migration towards an umbrella brand or other situations that require a high SEO responsibility supporting your team, you can count on me. Tell me your case without obligation.