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IMPLEMENTING A SUCCESSFUL SITE MOVE

Our client, a successful, fast growing, ecommerce business decided in 2014 to migrate their ecommerce site from an outmoded ColdFusion based platform to a new, responsive Magento Enterprise site.

In addition to the challenge of migrating over 700 categories and over 12,000 products, all of which would have a completely different URL structure to what they had on the old platform, we also decided it would be good to also switch to HTTPS throughout the site, at the same time.

Complexity was added by the seasonality of the businesses trading patterns, meaning that there were only a very small number of short windows within which the site could be moved. The original plan was for the site to be migrated in early February, for which all our original planning was focused. This target was missed and the site move was put back two further times before eventually agreeing to move over the site in early May.

Based on our experience of moving a number of sites to Magento, we had written a detailed procedure covering all elements of a site migration to Magento. This covered everything from setting up the URL structures, dealing with pagination, duplicate content and faceted navigated issues, specifying the correct plugins to dealing with canonicalization and site speed.

We were able to review the design and work the developers had done and request that certain changes be made to ensure an optimum user and SEO experience.

As we had developed the site’s SEO over a number of years and the site had a large number of top rankings and a large volume of organic search traffic, it was imperative that none of these rankings slipped significantly and the site retained its search visibility.

We then set up a large number of 301 redirects, most of which had to be manually configured due to the different structures of the urls and lack of a consistent logic that would allow this to be automated.

Despite a small drop in some rankings, search visibility and traffic in May, these all soon recovered and we saw good, sustained growth through the rest of the year, culminating in a record November and December for the site, with sales significantly ahead of the previous year.

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