This is the sixth of a 10-part series by Coalition Technologies focused on helping eCommerce companies assess the necessity of, plan, and execute a website replatforming exercise.
When migrating platforms, it is wise to review your existing SEO and content to ensure your search engine relevance. Replatforming is a great way to ensure future viability, but it is not an option without its challenges. When considering the replatforming plunge, you need to consider putting in work now to have less work to do later. One way to ensure less work in the future when replatforming is performing a content review and verifying you are hitting SEO benchmarks.
Establishing the effectiveness of your existing content and SEO is vital for the replatforming process. Specifically, you’ll want to figure out your baseline through a content audit. This content audit will reference your web traffic and will feature a few components.
- Establish your benchmark of top landing pages by your user sessions and pageviews. As these are your most accessed pages, these act as core pages and experiences to your website.
- As you examine your traffic, identify the landing pages with the highest amounts of search referrals. These entry points from search traffic are crucial to your site’s success. Making sure your pages are relevant to what people are searching for is a significant element of the content review process.
- Run multiple crawl tests to establish the accessibility of your site to search engines. Crawl tests will help you get the number of currently indexed pages reflecting the reach of your platform.
- Do a thorough crawl of your current site using SEO crawlers to understand what optimizations you have and need to make in the process of replatforming. Make sure you are hitting those SEO benchmarks, and remember, that doesn’t always mean slapping together a blog, necessarily.
The reason for benchmarking is that you are comparing your website against other websites in the industry you service. Knowing what you are doing well and improving on in the replatforming process is a best practice for site success. The goal here is to make yourself more viable on search engines as you replatform: the first position on Google search results offers a clickthrough rate of 28.5%. Are you aiming for that top spot?
Structuring Your Review
Essential to your content review process is making sure that you thoroughly assess the structure and taxonomy of your website. The content review requires that you:
- Outline and count pages by page type, including the category and product pages and transactional pages as they relate to your eCommerce strategy. Other page types include static pages, blogs, review pages, and search pages.
- Review on-page templates, including word counts and tag placements. You’ll want to make sure that you optimize on-page structures for SEO and UX – so consult your team accordingly.
- Review your mobile interface. Mobile devices account for over half of all web traffic in the United States, so fixing any UX issues on the mobile version of your site is a vital step. Ensure your templates are mobile-friendly.
- Note the URL structure of your various page types. URL structure is essential for your SEO team to know so your URLs can be optimized and ensure you reach key SEO benchmarks.
Understanding the structure of your website is vital to the migration progress. You want to ensure your content maintains its form – and, if possible – improve on it.
Part of your content review will revolve around answering key questions, often in coordination with your SEO and analytics team. The easiest way to handle this is through a spreadsheet program that will include an outline of every page on your website.
These questions might include:
- Does the content of the page serve a purpose? You may want to group such pages by their goals in your spreadsheet. It will make other steps in this review process more manageable. This grouping can also help answer a fundamental question: Is the content of a page similar to or duplicating any other pages?
- What sort of traffic did each page receive over time? For example, what happened to traffic at different stages such as monthly, quarterly, half and year, and yearly?
- Is this an orphaned page? Is the page still relevant? Does the page still actively play a role in your marketing? For example, is it a page generated for sales in 2017 that has gone unchanged since 2017? Such content is an example of an orphaned page.
- Is the page authoritative? Has the page earned valid external backlinks?
- How many social shares has the page earned? Does social media content bring in continuous traffic? Reports indicate that social media makes up nearly a third of all referral traffic.
- Will your URLs replatform, or will they need to be adjusted? You will need to account for your URLs on the new platform, so a comprehensive outline and redirection plan is a good idea.
Once you have engaged in all the content reviews and checked your SEO benchmarks, you will need a post-launch review. You will need to work with your SEO team. Ideally, they will report the following to you:
- Traffic by Referral
- Crawl Errors
- Top Landing Pages
- Internal Links
- 404 Errors
- Engagement Metrics
- Conversion Paths
With this data in mind, you may require further adjustments after you have moved to your new platform. Engaging in the migration pre-check can help reduce the clean-up process afterward.
Ready to Replatform?
With these things in mind, you should make the replatforming process a little easier for yourself. Replatforming is an investment for the future, and the work you do ahead of time can help future-proof your content. Working with a talented and dedicated team of SEO experts can make this process far more manageable – especially when it comes to content review and meeting each SEO benchmark.
In the next part of our replatforming series, read about how you can engage in a technology audit for your replatforming process.