At Semetrical we have undertaken a number of website migration projects, specifically mergers and consolidations over the years. When undertaking a website merger or consolidation project, one of the main tasks undertaken is identifying which URLs on the website being merged can be redirected to URLs on the parent domain (the domain which is being kept). At Semetrical, we take different approaches when trying to map URLs from one site structure to another, as some projects can be straightforward where the URLs are very similar, but more often than not the URLs structures and on-page content can differ. In the pre migration phase of a website merger we would usually adopt multiple different approaches to make sure we can uncover as many 1 to 1 redirects automatically before having to manually review URLs. This would be done by:
Once you have completed the process of mapping URLs from one site to another, there is a process that is regularly missed: that being, the process of identifying keyword gaps between the URL being merged and the master URL being kept. When you redirect and map URLs from site A to the equivalent URL on site B, each URL could be ranking for slightly different keywords as the page could be optimised differently. For example, on a website merger project for a publisher we mapped a locational news page on site A to the equivalent page on site B but the URL on site A ranked for more keywords then the URL on site B (the parent domain).
The above image shows that the URL which is being merged into URL B ranks for three more keywords because of how the page has been optimised. If we just simply redirected URL A into URL B we could lose organic traffic, as URL B does not currently rank for “Local news Leeds”, “Latest news Leeds” and “Breaking news Leeds”.
In this situation we decided to optimise URL B further before the migration went live to prevent a loss in organic traffic. We would not recommend undertaking this analysis for all of your 1 to 1 mappings, but we would definitely recommend doing this for priority URLs. To undertake keyword gap analysis on mass for your priority URL mappings you will need to get all of the required data out of Search Console.
Ideally you need to download a report which includes both search query and URLs as you will need to lookup on URLs at a later date to find out which keywords different URLs rank for.
Unfortunately, simply logging into Search Console and downloading a report will not work in this situation as you only get a search query or a URL report, not a combined report. We would recommend using the ‘Search analytics for sheets’ add-on for Google docs to do this analysis. Otherwise, you can use relevant Python scripts that enable you to download out reports from Search Console that provide both URL and search query in one combined report.
Repeat steps 2 to 8 again for the other site and once completed you should have tables of data across two sheets. The tables will include clicks, URL and search queries.
Once you have all of the required data, you then need to cross reference the data from Search Console to your priority URL mapping document to bring in the search queries each URL is generating traffic from. Once you have brought in the search query data, the next step is to find the keywords the merged websites URL is ranking for that the URL on the parent domain is missing. This will then form your keyword optimisation strategy which can be briefed to the content team prior to the migration. This will help to ensure that page has been optimised with the missing keywords.
If you are in the process of planning a website migration project or are planning on undertaking a migration in the future and need support, please visit our website migration services page for more information on how Semetrical can help.