Posted by ErikaOnLogic
In October 2019, our 16-year-old firm rebranded from Logic Provide to OnLogic. The restoration from a site visitors standpoint has been fairly clean (and far quicker than we anticipated), and our prospects have embraced our new identify and look. We wish to share our story, the steps we took to arrange for this main change, and a few issues we realized alongside the way in which about what it takes to execute a profitable area transition (with minimal influence on natural outcomes) in an effort to assist these going through the identical problem.
Take a deep breath, it will be okay.
First, a little historical past and background. Logic Provide was based in 2003 as an e-commerce web site that offered elements and elements for small kind issue computer systems. Over time, the corporate has constructed up engineering and manufacturing capabilities that at this time permit us to supply full industrial and ruggedized computers and know-how options for a wide selection of industries. We have recognized for nearly 10 years that our ambitions would sometime outgrow our identify, and in 2015 we settled on a new one and started laying the groundwork for the transition.
As soon as we might gotten previous all of the analysis and authorized efforts associated to the brand new identify itself, we started formulating the web site transition plans in 2018. This sort of mission requires a lengthy listing of particular person and group supporters, from the Design and Communications group who helped conceptualize and select the identify OnLogic, to the IT group who can be liable for ensuring the digital transition was executed successfully.
This piece is coming from the angle of Erika Austin, who has labored in digital advertising for Logic Provide since 2009, with particular credit score to Tim van der Horst in our Netherlands workplace who led the roll-out of the brand new area and the ensuing search engine optimization restoration efforts. Tim utilized construction to all the information I had gathered in my head over the previous 10 years of decision-making in search engine optimization.
Unstructured Knowledge / Structured Knowledge = Erika / Tim
As I take you thru the method and cite our plan, together with what we did and didn’t do, in addition to the selections made alongside the way in which, you can download a copy of our Go-Live Checklist for your own reference.
Section one: scoping and planning
I had full confidence that our group may lead a profitable transition. The one factor was, I had by no means executed this earlier than. Few have, aside from our new IT director who had undergone a few model and area migrations in her profession.
I had been engaged on constructing Logic Provide’s area authority for 10 years, so the concept of shifting to a new area introduced up a lot of questions. To assist us alongside the way in which, I sought out an knowledgeable who may validate our work and reply questions if something got here up. Whereas most of the suggestions on-line had been people who had cited, or written for, authoritative websites akin to Moz, I made a decision to ask Rand Fishkin, the search engine optimization Rockstar himself, who he would advocate as a Jungle Information for a mission like this. He was type sufficient to attach us with KickPoint.
Dana DiTomaso at KickPoint was in a position to shortly perceive the place we had been within the course of, and what we would have liked. Dana proved to be instrumental in validating our efforts alongside the way in which, however we had been very inspired by her evaluation that our current plan was thorough and lined the mandatory steps. Admittedly, we might have been disenchanted in any other case — it was a actually detailed plan.
Tim outlined a six-phase mission with specs and definitions of our search engine optimization technique in a web site migration doc with an accompanying spreadsheet, full with an RACI (accountable, accountable, seek the advice of, and inform) matrix and timeline. Tim’s plan was extraordinarily clear, with optimistic consequence eventualities together with attainable development as a results of the migration.
I’ll credit score Tim once more — my head was spinning with solely the potential pitfalls (detailed under) of such a large change. What about E-A-T? This new area had no experience, authority, or belief to it, and development in site visitors wasn’t one thing I had even thought of. Our IT Director agreed that she had by no means seen that occur in her profession, so we set expectations to have about a ten p.c decline over six weeks earlier than a full restoration. I squirmed a bit, however okay.
Together with site visitors loss, it was essential for us to put out all of the attainable dangers related to this execution.
Most of the dangers we confronted revolved round implementation uncertainty and useful resource allocation on the IT facet. Of the dangers that had been launched, the one which I had essentially the most reservations about was migrating our weblog to a new URL path. This was determined to be an excessive amount of of a danger, and we eliminated it from the preliminary plan.
*Credit score to Modestos Siotos: The Website Migration Guide: SEO Strategy, Process, & Checklist
Redirect technique for the principle model area
To assist mitigate among the dangers, we mentioned choices for an overlay notifying prospects of the change. However as a lot as we wished to get prospects enthusiastic about our new identify and look, we didn’t need it to be too disruptive or be penalized for a disruptive interstitial.
The extra we spoke to prospects main as much as the massive changeover, the extra we realized that — whereas this was a large deal to us — it finally did not influence them, so long as they may nonetheless anticipate the prime quality merchandise and help they’d come to know us for. We ended up implementing a persistent banner on each web page of the positioning that pointed to a page about the brand evolution, however we didn’t select to pressure customers into interacting with that modal.
Section two: pre-launch preparation
Technical search engine optimization specification
At this level within the mission, we realized we had an XML sitemap that may change, however that we wished the outdated sitemaps round to assist reinforce the transition in Google Search Console. We additionally decided that an HTML sitemap would assist in laying out our construction. We had been six months out from our model transition, so any adjustments we wished to make to our web site needed to be made ASAP.
So, we cleaned up our URL construction, eradicating most of the current server redirects that weren’t getting used or adopted a lot anymore by solely maintaining hyperlinks from our referral site visitors.
We additionally created extra logical URL paths to indicate relationships, for instance:
/merchandise/industrial-computers/ >> /computer systems/industrial/
/merchandise/rugged-computers/ >> /computer systems/rugged/
And up to date the redirects to level to the fitting finish path with out following redirect chains:
Technical CMS specification
When doing a migration to a new area, the depth and complexity of the technical CMS specification actually is dependent upon in case you are migrating your current platform or switching to a new one. The CMS of selection in our case didn’t change from the earlier, which made our lives a little simpler. We had been porting our current web site over to the brand new area as-is. It might largely come all the way down to content material at this stage within the plan.
Content material updates
One of the vital essential issues at this step was to verify our content material was displaying our new model correctly. Primarily, we deliberate for a “easy” discover/substitute:
Discover: *Logic Provide*
We took stock of each attribute and area on our web site that mentions the corporate, and utilized the change throughout the board: descriptions, brief descriptions, meta titles, meta descriptions, producer, and so forth.
At one level we requested ourselves, “What will we do with press releases or previous content material that claims ‘Logic Provide’? Ought to that get replaced with ‘OnLogic’?” In the long run, we determined to exclude sure elements of the web site from the script (articles, occasions, information from our previous), however made certain that each one the hyperlinks had been up to date. We didn’t must bury Logic Provide as a model identify, as there can be a bonus in having references to this identify throughout the interval of transition to remind prospects we’re nonetheless the identical firm.
Throughout this section, we ready what wanted to be modified in Google Adverts, akin to headlines, descriptions, URLs, sitelinks, and movies. We ramped up our paid search funds for each phrases “Logic Provide” and “OnLogic”, and prioritized pages and key phrases to raise in Google Adverts in case the area change did have an effect on our core key phrase rankings.
Precedence web page identification
For the reason that intent of our migration was to port our current platform over to a new area and make only a few adjustments within the course of, we did not must listing pages we must prioritize over others. What we did do was take into consideration exterior elements that may influence our search engine optimization, and the way to restrict this influence for our greatest referral site visitors sources and prime rating pages.
We compiled a spreadsheet to assist us handle, and ideally replace, backlinks to our former area. The classes and information sources are value noting:
Backlinks: We downloaded all of our backlinks information compiled from SEMRush and Google Search.
Referral site visitors and prime natural touchdown pages: This listing was pulled from Google Analytics to find out high-traffic, precedence pages we’d want to watch carefully after the transition. It additionally helped to prioritize hyperlinks that had been actively getting used.
Companions: We wrote to every of our companions and suppliers concerning the adjustments upfront, and requested them to make updates to the hyperlinks on their web sites by sure deadlines. I used to be delighted to see how shortly this was applied — a testomony to our wonderful companions.
Publishers: Wherever we had a point out in a information story or web site that we thought could possibly be up to date, we reached out through e-mail at go-live. We did resolve in some unspecified time in the future we couldn’t erase our historical past as www.logicsupply.com, however we may not less than let these contacts know we had modified. There have been a few direct placement ads we additionally needed to replace.
Directories: We used numerous web sources, and a nice deal of Googling, to determine enterprise, product, or trade directories that pointed to our outdated area and/or used our outdated identify. I hate that directories nonetheless have a place in search engine optimization lately, since they date again to the early ages of the web, however we wished to cowl our bases.
Whenever you’re performing a area migration, probably the most essential issues for sustaining natural site visitors is to assist Google — and any search engine — perceive that a web page has moved to a new location. A technique to do that is with a everlasting (301) redirect.
So started our redirect mapping. Our migration state of affairs was lucky within the sense that all the things remained the identical so far as URL construction goes. The one factor that modified was the area identify.
The ultimate redirect map (sure, it’s the world’s most complex one, ever) was:
logicsupply.com/* -> onlogic.com/*
Inside hyperlink redirects
As IT had their redirection mapping server-side ready, we would have liked to verify our inner hyperlinks weren’t pointing to a 301 redirect, as this is able to harm our search engine optimization. Customers needed to be despatched straight to the right web page on the brand new area.
Goal: replace all hyperlinks on the positioning’s content material to level to the brand new area. Beneath is the “discover/substitute” desk that our IT group used to assist us replace all of the content material for the transition to onlogic.com:
We additionally launched an HTML sitemap as quickly as attainable below logicsupply.com after our URL restructure, six months previous to launch.
We took 15 weeks to arrange, check, and get comfy with the migration. As soon as dwell, there isn’t a going again. Executing completely and precisely on the plan and checking each field is the one strategy. So in brief: there was no contingency plan. No matter occurred, as soon as we switched domains, that was it.
Section two ended once we began to maneuver away from the specs and into precisely what wanted to occur, and when. We used our Go-Live Checklist to ensure that we had each field checked for artistic wants, third occasion integrations, and to configure file overview. Making the guidelines extremely detailed and correct was the one approach to verify we succeeded.
Section three: pre-launch testing
To kick off section three, we needed to get a baseline of the place we had been at. We had a few errors to right that had been excellent in Google Search Console, like submitting noindex hyperlinks by our XML sitemap. This mission additionally alerted us to the truth that, if all the things went effectively, web site pace can be our subsequent mission to deal with.
Content material overview
As content material wouldn’t change aside from “Logic Provide” turning into “OnLogic”, we didn’t actually must do a lot of reviewing right here. We did extensively check the discover/substitute performance within the go-live scripts to verify all the things appeared because it was imagined to, and that the sections we selected to exclude had been actually left untouched. Up to date designs had been additionally a part of this overview.
The technical overview concerned checking all the things we had deliberate out within the second section, so ensuring redirects, sitemaps, hyperlinks, and scripts had been working and crawlable. IT applied all server-side circumstances, and arrange the brand new area to work internally for all testing duties that wanted to be executed. Once more, the guidelines was main on this endeavor.
Utilizing ScreamingFrog, we crawled each the sitemaps in addition to the staging web site we had internally launched for testing functions — hidden away from the skin world. Any redirect errors that appeared had been resolved on the spot.
Website launch danger evaluation
Threat evaluation was a steady exercise all through the testing. We had a go or no-go resolution previous to go-live, as we couldn’t return as soon as we flipped the swap on the area migration. Every part that popped up as an error or flag we swiftly assessed and determined whether or not to mitigate or ignore for the sake of time. Surprisingly, only a few issues got here up, so we may shortly start the benchmarking course of.
The template above was what we used to trace our web site pace earlier than and after. Our benchmarks had been constant between the web site earlier than and after our staged migration utilizing each Lighthouse and GTMetrix, that means we had been on monitor for our go-live date.
Section 4: go-live!
The least impactful day to make this alteration was over the weekend, as a result of as a B2B firm, we’ve observed that our prospects are usually on-line throughout common workplace hours.
Our group within the Netherlands, together with Tim, flew in to help, and our IT and advertising groups devoted a Saturday to the migration. It additionally occurred to be my birthday weekend, so I used to be excited to have the ability to have a good time with my colleagues whereas they had been on the town, and in flip have a good time them for all their arduous work!
So, on Saturday, October 19, 2019, round 8 a.m., IT confirmed we had been good to go and the upkeep web page was up. This was returning a “503 — service quickly unavailable” server response to verify Google wouldn’t index our web site throughout the migration.
It was at this level within the course of that our Go-Live Checklist took over. It was a lot of labor up entrance, however all of this preparation made the ultimate execution of the area transition a matter of a few clicks to maneuver and/or publish objects.
Amongst all our different duties, we up to date our web page title suffix, which was beforehand “Logic Provide”, to “Logic Provide is now OnLogic” (at this time it is “OnLogic previously Logic Provide”). This was a sign to Google that we had been the identical firm.
The toughest half was the ready.
Phases 5 and 6: post-launch and efficiency overview
I had deliberate to camp out subsequent to my pc for the following few days to observe for issues, however nothing surfaced straight away. Whereas natural site visitors did take an anticipated dip, it wasn’t almost as dramatic or extended as we might been warned it is likely to be. We’re nonetheless seeing logicsupply.com listed months later, which is irritating, however doesn’t appear to be affecting our site visitors on the brand new area.
General, we view our web site transition as a success. Our site visitors returned to the place we had been and we surpassed our mission benchmarks for each site visitors and web site efficiency.
Following the transfer, we appeared for follow-on alternatives to assist enhance our web site pace, together with figuring out inactive or out-of-date plugins from our weblog. Our weblog made up not less than 40 p.c of our natural site visitors, so this alteration made our web site quicker and helped to succeed in our natural development restoration targets in lower than six weeks.
We’re continually taking a look at and prioritizing new alternatives to enhance the web site expertise for our prospects, and make doing enterprise with OnLogic as simple as attainable. The area change mission was a large enterprise by the whole group, and required a nice deal of planning and fixed communication and collaboration to drag off. That stated, the time spent up-front was paid again twice over within the time saved recovering our natural site visitors, and making issues seamless for our web site customers to make sure everybody may keep it up with business-as-usual.
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