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seo in dubai Nick LeRoy – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Mon, 11 May 2020 16:43:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The time for a website migration is now /the-time-for-a-website-migration-is-now-334543 Mon, 11 May 2020 16:43:08 +0000 /?p=334543 Each migration type has its level of risk but with proper planning, it is manageable and will set your site up for future growth.

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Back in March I wrote about reconsidering your decision to pull back on digital marketing budgets due to COVID-19. In a time of uncertainty, it’s natural for businesses to be questioning their spending. As revenue is declining many companies are becoming rich in people-hours and poor with cash-in-hand. This is why I emphatically suggest that NOW is the time your company doubles down on their website. Now is the time to push forward on that migration project the team has been putting off for so long.

Why migrate now?

In my 10+ years helping businesses execute migrations, I commonly hear two reasons why they’ve put them off for so long. The first is that it requires a lot of work and that too many other projects take precedence. The second reason is that they are terrified in executing the migration incorrectly and the impact it can have against meeting quarterly/annual goals.

Let’s face it. Unless you’re in the essential needs space, you’ve already started having conversations about adjusting your quarterly and or annual goals. You might have also had to have tough discussions about forced PTO, reduced hours or even furloughs for your team due to a reduction in billable work. The website migration you’ve been putting off is the perfect investment to make during times like this.

What kind of migration are talking about?

I’ll cover four different types of migrations that your company should be considering right now. These include:

  • Domain Migration
  • CMS/Back End Migration
  • Website Consolidation
  • HTTPS (SSL) Migration

Domain migration

Has your company been sitting on the .com or shortened version of your brands URL forever? Now is the time to complete a domain migration. Organic search performance may take a slight hit as search engines re-crawl and index the new domain. However, since performance is already uncharacteristically low, this is a perfect opportunity to invest in the future of your online web presence.

CMS/back end migration

Is your CMS or back end clunky and wildly inefficient? Are you unable to launch new components or expand your website without excessive workarounds or band-aid fixes? Now is the time to consider a CMS/back-end migration.

Most CMS and back-end migrations require updated site architecture and URL changes. Similar to domain migrations, now is the time to go through the updates and allow search engines to crawl/index your new site. CMS/back-end updates can have a positive impact on SEO but if it allows your team to be more efficient in the near future then the ROI, in my opinion, is justified from that alone. Why wait?

Website consolidation migration

Does your company manage two, three or even more websites? You’ve likely heard from an SEO consultant about all the value in consolidating into a single domain. Assuming no (valid) business reason exists to justify the multiple websites, now is the time to consolidate into one large and more authoritative website.

Website consolidation migrations are not only a positive move for SEO but it often helps increase efficiency as the team no longer has to maintain several websites. Not sure what content from each site should be migrated? I wrote an article last year on how you can do a content migration audit.

HTTPS/SSL migrations

When you type in your website’s URL does it include HTTPS in the very beginning? Back in 2014, Google started pushing for the internet to become more secure. HTTPS is even now considered a ranking factor. More importantly, SSL or making your website HTTPS is about security. It allows for a secure experience for your users and further keeps your website at bay against online threats.

Now is the time to invest in your company’s website

The migrations listed above are the ones that I most commonly see sidelined. With so much up in the air with COVID-19 and resources being underutilized, now is the time to act on these types of internal projects. Yes, each migration type has its level of risk but with proper planning, it is very manageable and will set your site up for future growth. No more excuses now is the time to prioritize your migration.

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Reducing digital marketing due to COVID-19? Read this first /reducing-digital-marketing-due-to-covid-19-read-this-first-331310 Tue, 24 Mar 2020 12:00:00 +0000 /?p=331310 Here's some advice about being hands-on with paid search accounts and mindful of your content during this time of uncertainty.

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Last week, I shared real performance data for 10 different websites in 10 different industries that are seeing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. While some businesses servicing “essential needs” are flourishing, most are seeing performance drops of -20% or worse from just two weeks ago.

With a sudden and unexpected loss in revenue, many businesses are being forced into conversations on how they can trim budgets and maximize efficiency.

But what does this mean for various digital marketing investments? I reached out to multiple industry professionals to get their advice on how to maximize results in this time of uncertainty.

Beware, your analytics data is likely skewed

Before we jump into individual channel recommendations, let’s discuss your means to measure them. Brett Patterson, Digital Analytics lead at Siteimprove has this very important tip regarding analytics data.

“Internal traffic is not internal! With so many employees working remotely right now, this may influence your digital analytics data! Your typical filter won’t catch workers working remotely, unless they are possibly using a VPN or other remote network connection. This means your employees might be counted in your analytics metrics, even though you had previously created a filter for this.”

– Brett Patterson

Brett further recommends placing an annotation in your analytics account as it’s very unlikely a solution exists to true up your analytics account. It’s also very important to keep this in consideration when measuring and reporting out on your digital marketing efforts.

Reduce paid search and social media? Or get ready for daily management

In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, search demand is down. If your company’s product or service isn’t deemed an “essential need” than you may want to consider pulling back on your paid spend. Failure to reduce spend can make even the most profitable campaigns turn negative for return on ad spend (ROAS). Proceed with caution if you know your product/service isn’t a top priority for your consumers right now.

On the flip side, bids in many industries are lower than they’ve ever been. This is likely due to advertisers making fewer bids and cutting their budgets. But if your company is selling product/services that still have demand at this time, you should be looking to maximize your ad spend. Just make sure you keep a close eye on your ROAS.

Jeff Snyder, President of Elumynt told me:

As conversion rates, CPMs and CPCs are in flux, you will likely need to be more hands-on than usual. On the search side, if you are using Smart Bidding, consider switching to manual bidding, or at the very least reevaluate your Max CPC setting to account for changes in the landscape. On social, with more eyeballs at home, you may find you can significantly increase reach within your top-performing audiences. Be ready to shift budget, change bids, and tweak your campaigns daily.”

– Jeff Snyder

Maximize email

Email is cheap AND effective. Considering you can’t impact search demand—leading you to potentially decrease paid search/media—you may be able to claw back some scale with email campaigns. For some industries, it’s as simple as reminding customers that despite brick and motor stores being closed, they can still get all their needs met online.

Remember to be mindful of the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure your clients/customers that you are here to help. This isn’t the time to hard sell or promote special COVID-19 “deals.”

Alex McPeak, Content Strategist at Klaviyo wrote a great post about communicating with empathy during Cornavirus:

“While you may want to give customers free shipping, making your discount code ‘COVID19’ or ‘coronavirus’ is not how you want to represent your brand when it comes to conveying sensitive subject matter.”

– Alex McPeak

Email likely won’t make up for all the recent performance losses but brands that show value and instill trust from their clients/customers will pay dividends when times are more certain.

Continue the path of SEO and content marketing

Like paid search, teams everywhere are seeing performance losses in the organic channel due to a drop in overall search demand. Unlike paid search/social, I recommend continuing your execution on SEO and content marketing efforts.

In reviewing over a dozen websites whose organic performance has dropped, most have flat keyword rankings. Google Search Console also shows a considerable drop in search impressions despite rankings staying the same. This further validates that this is not an SEO/ranking issue but rather a drop in search demand due to COVID-19.

If you choose to reduce spend in your SEO and content marketing efforts, you significantly risk your organic rankings. Once search demand returns (and it will) you will still drive considerably less organic traffic than before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Right now, it’s vital to maintain – if not grow – your SEO campaign.

Nick Eubanks, CEO of From the Future mentioned in his most recent blog post.

“I personally believe that companies that continue to execute on their planned digital marketing campaigns, and more specifically, on their planned content and conversion strategies around SEO as an acquisition channel, will be poised for faster (and more effective) recovery when we come out the other side.”

– Nick Eubanks

Stay safe, be kind and market efficiently

In a time of uncertainty, businesses need to prioritize consumers and employees’ safety. Be kind and aware of the situation. The brands that do this best will undoubtedly rebound most quickly once the COVID-19 pandemic retreats. Until then, be critical of your digital marketing efforts and double down on lean effectiveness.

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How to conduct a content migration audit /how-to-conduct-a-content-migration-audit-314820 Tue, 02 Apr 2019 11:50:52 +0000 /?p=314820 Here's how to determine exactly what content needs to be migrated and what can be safely retired with little to no impact.

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Raise your hand if your company has gone through a site migration or will be soon. Most of us have been through this process more times then we care to admit. During a site migration it’s not uncommon to splurge on a fancy design and CMS. But then corners are cut anywhere else possible to save a few bucks. To save money, leadership might decide not to migrate all the site content. Unfortunately, leadership doesn’t understand the performance impact this decision might make. The good news is that leadership has you on their team and I’ll be walking you through a detailed process for determining exactly what content needs to be migrated and what can be safely retired with little to no impact.

Content analysis requirements

This analysis does not require a dozen subscriptions to costly toolsets. The following tools are required to accomplish this analysis.

  • Analytics – I use Google analytics but data from Adobe or any other analytics platform that allows page level details will suffice.
  • AHREFs – I use the standard subscription, but your needs might be dependent on the size of your site (details below).
  • Microsoft Excel – specifically pivot tables and the VLOOKUP function.

Determining when to migrate vs. retire content

Not all content is worth keeping on your website. Many are seeing performance increases with content pruning. The goal of this analysis is to understand exactly what content should be migrated “as-is,” migrated with updates or retired indefinitely. Below are a few KPIs to review the fate of each piece of content.

  • Traffic – Total traffic is broken out by channel.
  • Keywords – How many keywords does a page have visibility for?
  • Page 1 keywords – How many keywords are likely driving organic traffic?
  • Inbound links – How many links has this content acquired?
  • Conversions – How much money, leads or actions has this content generated (by channel)?

Please note that it’s important to pull both traffic and conversions by channel. While many consider a content migration as a strong SEO play (it is), removing content that performs well in other channels is just as crucial to examine.

Export channel level sessions by landing page

I recommend pulling a full years’ worth of data by channel to account for any seasonality within your niche. I used the client’s fiscal year, but you can easily use a calendar year.

You want to create a master spreadsheet with a list of all your site’s URLs in column A. (This can be done easily with an export of your CMS or a ScreamingFrog crawl/export). We’ll rely on the VLOOKUP function to pull individual channel sessions into this list. The VLOOKUP function I used for pulling organic sessions into my master list looked like the following:


  • “A3” is the first URL in our master spreadsheet in which you want to match to our organic session export.
  • “organic-session-export” is the name of the file exported from Google Analytics.
  • “A1:B247” is the subset of data you want to look at for the “A3” value within the “organic-session-report.”
  • “2” represents the column number in which you want to look up (and pull) into the master spreadsheet. In this instance, column 2 is our sessions value.
  • “false” indicates that you only want to pull this data into the master spreadsheet if the “A3” value matches the value in the “organic-session-export” EXACTLY.

Complete the VLOOKUP function for all channel sessions. My master spreadsheet looks like this at this step:

Leveraging AHREFs for keyword visibility

The next step is pulling keyword visibility by URL. It’s important that you use a tool like AHREFs or SEMRush as we want visibility into as much keyword data as we can get and not be limited to just the keywords you actively track on your own.

As you see from the example above, this is a small (but authoritative) site with only 13,000 keywords and all the keyword data falls within the 30,000-row export limit the standard AHREFs license allows us. If you have significantly more data you will likely want to filter your keyword data by position, volume or even word count. You can also work directly with AHREFs/SEMRush to access more of your site’s data if you’re dealing with a much larger site.

Once your data is exported, you’ll be left with a big spreadsheet full of data, but we still need to distill it to a raw count of keywords per URL. We will be using PivotTables within Excel to accomplish this task.

Once your PivotTable has been created, you’ll need to choose the fields in which you want the data displayed. Add “URL” to the Rows field and “Keyword” to the values field. Make sure your keyword value is displaying “Count of Keywords.”

With this export/PivotTable you can now complete another VLOOKUP function to layer in your keyword data to your master document. It should look something like this now.


You can now use this same process but with keywords in which you have first-page visibility (filter in AHREFS or your raw export). Use the VLOOKUP function on that report and your master document now has total keyword visibility as well as traffic driving first-page keyword visibility by URL.

Leveraging AHREFs for link visibility

The process for getting inbound link counts tied to URL is the same as keyword visibility but leveraging AHREFs backlinks report. Do note that AHREFs does have a limitation to the number of backlinks you can export with your subscription. With the standard subscription, you can export one million rows.

After using the PivotTable and VLOOKUP function we’ve discussed, your master spreadsheet should now include backlink data.

Incorporate revenue, lead and conversion data

It’s time to incorporate the most important KPI to this master document. Revenue and or conversion data.  For this example, I leveraged lead counts (form fills) as the primary goal. While I was able to export goal values in Google Analytics, you will need to identify the best source for your site’s revenue/conversion data.  After layering in conversion and or revenue numbers, your master spreadsheet will look something like this.

Assign migrate/migrate + update/retire to each URL and quantify impact

Finally, after all the steps above you have a spreadsheet with all your sites content, its sessions, keyword visibility, inbound link count and conversion values. It’s finally time to review the data and establish thresholds for what’s worth keeping, updating or simply removing. Each project will have different thresholds, but a few rules I considered in this analysis were:

  • KPIs prioritized in the following order, conversions, inbound links, organic sessions, paid sessions, etc.
    • Pages with total conversions > X are automatically qualified for migration.
    • Pages with < X total sessions (and no links/conversions) qualify for retirement.
    • Pages with > X total sessions (and no links/conversions) qualify for migration + future update.
    • Pages with < X total sessions but contain first-page visibility of Y keywords qualify for migration.

Quantify your findings into a simple headline

This content migration analysis will contain a lot of data. Leadership doesn’t want to look at your page by page analysis. They want (and need) to see your recommendation in addition to any performance impact they should be aware of. Don’t overthink this. Create a tab at the very beginning of the document often serves this purpose.

In our original scenario, we discussed how leadership often wants to cut corners to save money in migration costs. However, after reviewing your analysis, they realize that the performance and financial hit would far too detrimental to the business than investing in resources to migrate the value-adding content.

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