Mission: Leave No Pages Behind

One of Australia’s leading wealth management organisations was embarking on a CMS migration to improve their online customer experience.  To ensure the new site retained as much SEO value from website authority, mitigate any lost traffic and subsequent loss of digital sales, Columbus completed a detailed migration project. Spanning six months to cover pre, during and post migration support, we facilitated a seamless transition to the new site, avoided any interruption to domain traffic whilst increasing key metrics such as mobile users and click-through-rates.

Challenges:

There was a number of challenges that we needed to plan for and overcome; the new information architecture and website CMS required accurate migration of URLs and SEO value to all new pages. There was also the issue of all existing valuable backlinks to the old website had to have their value maintained whilst being passed onto the new website, this was crucial to the overall project success.

Goals:

  • Optimise new website for search engine accessibility and indexing
  • Retain and increase search engine results page CTR and accurately capture relevant audiences
  • Ensure new URL structure is search engine-friendly and all content is keyword-driven
  • Ensure all legacy URL structures have been redirected to the new URL structure

Execution

We decided on a three-phase approach to tackle each stage of the migration:

  1. Pre-migration technical audit
  2. Beta site activities
  3. Post launch technical audit

The first step was conducting a health check of the current site to compare performance before and after the migration. This process gave us a clear understanding of the overall natural search visibility and traffic performance of the website prior to the migration with comprehensive benchmarking analysis. This report identified overall website traffic, organic search traffic, page errors and current organic search ranking.

A sitemap and information architecture review for SERP visibility revealed performing pages that were buried through too many clicks. These were then mapped out to reduce the amount of clicks to access each page.

Phase 2 encompassed a full technical audit and site crawl to identify and action any obstacles presenting SERP visibility for the new site. These included meta data, site structure, page errors, content review and page speed.

August 15 was go time – migration day. The Columbus SEO team were on standby for the full 24 hours to assist the client with any issues that might arise, luckily no major issues occurred.

During the post launch phase, we conducted a technical audit to ensure that were no issues such as page errors, URL structure, Meta data presence, page headings or image optimisations. All redirections from the previous site on to the new pages were tested to ensure they successfully reached the right page and that the new links were search engine friendly. These measures were then compared to our pre-launch benchmarking metrics.

Alongside our technical analysis and implementation, we also provided numerous SEO best practice training and user guides for the client which are now used as staples across the digital and marketing teams.

Results:

Traffic and Engagement:

  • 18% increase in desktop session
  • 51% increase in mobile sessions
  • 18% decrease in mobile bounce rate
  • Overall site bounce rate has decreased by 15% – from 44% to 29%
    • Engagement was positive with significant improvements in bounce rates site wide and across key digital sales path pages.
  • Direct traffic has increased by 10%

Direct SERP metrics:

  • 13% increase in the number of prime keywords (ranking 1 to 5 in Google)
  • 21% increase search volume (ranking of 1 to 5 in Google)
  • 15% CTR increase

 


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