SEO collapse resulting from a platform migration


(James Higginson) #1

I’m no expert, as I understand it, keeping our url structure identical will maintain the current SEO position as it will only be seen as a theme change. Am I being naive? Is there more to it than that?!


So, what are you working on?
(Bas van Leeuwen) #2

If you can keep the URLs the same, that would do wonders yes.
Another possibility is to keep the old URLs, but try to map them to new ones with 301 redirects. That should not have a significant impact as well, with the added benefit that you might be able to get a more modern URL structure in place.


(James Higginson) #3

That’s good to know, thanks!


(Bas van Leeuwen) #4

For a longer (LONG!) read: https://moz.com/blog/web-site-migration-guide-tips-for-seos


(Sarah Hawk) #5

That should be absolutely fine. We were forced to do redirects because we changed platforms.

[quote=“Bas_van_Leeuwen, post:214, topic:1328”]
Another possibility is to keep the old URLs, but try to map them to new ones with 301 redirects. That should not have a significant impact as well, with the added benefit that you might be able to get a more modern URL structure in place.
[/quote] That’s what we did. It didn’t work out so well. We’re still not completely sure why not. The Pageviews graph below starts the month before we migrated and goes through to today.


(Bas van Leeuwen) #6

Interesting stats @hawk
Two things to keep in mind (scratch that, more than two, got sidetracked)

  • pageviews isn’t all. Discourse has a better navigation structure, you don’t need to visit subforums to view posts for example. A better metric would be (unique) visits
  • I seem to recall that there were quite some issues with the launch and the redirect not working; this might have heavily influenced the rankings.
  • CGeek was mostly closed, so how much did google index?
  • You moved the forums to a new domain, probably also did some temporary damage
  • There are still results for CommunityGeek in Google:
  • That one result in google redirects to the Feverbee homepage, not the-original-content-on-the-new-location, which means that Google doesn’t carry the pagerank over

(Sarah Hawk) #7

Damn it. I should have mentioned that this is just to our main site and doesn’t include Discourse.
I did this because the ‘before’ stats didn’t include the community site (which, as you mention, was mostly closed). Annoyingly that makes pretty much all your points moot. Apologies.

[quote=“Bas_van_Leeuwen, post:219, topic:1328”]
I seem to recall that there were quite some issues with the launch and the redirect not working
[/quote] Hmmmm, not that I remember. It was pretty smooth. There were a couple of things related to strangely titled articles (for instance, those that had a number in them) but that would account for a minuscule % of overall posts.

TL;DR
The graph above is for www.feverbee.com only and doesn’t include Discourse. We did direct redirects from every old article to its new counterpart, which is why I’m stumped by this.


(Joe Velez) #8

There’s a lot more to SEO than URL structure.

A platform migration can collapse SEO…

If you are moving from a platform or design that offers a lot of internal links to one that doesn’t (show less) it will hurt SEO.

If you are moving from a platform or design that doesn’t improve behavior/activity it will hurt SEO efforts.

Page ranking may drop if you change URL structure. With a redirect you never get 100% back. You will see that many pages improve while others do not. For some sites, a URL structure change may be a good thing.

Number of Indexed pages may drop (but that is not a bad thing) but it will decrease organic traffic.

Bounce rate is important. If Google sends traffic to a page and notices that people are bouncing as soon as they land they will stop sending traffic to that page. eg. instead of position 5 in SERP you may end up in page 3 or get dropped altogether