The time to use our platforms and privilege to speak out against the deep racism that plagues our society was years ago. I regret staying silent in those moments. The next best time is now. Silence is harmful because it prioritizes the comfort of those of us who benefit from racist policies at the expense of those exploited and victimized by them.
It’s not enough to simply “do no harm” or “not be racist.” That well-trodden path has produced the same brutal results again and again. At Moz, we’re moving to a higher standard. The creation of a more just world requires us to be loudly, unceasingly anti-racist.
We must acknowledge that human rights exist beyond politics.
We must hear and validate the lived experiences of people of color and amplify their voices.
We must show up.
We must reinforce, loudly and often, that Black lives matter.
This is an uncomfortable conversation for most of us. We’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, offending people, losing relationships, jobs, customers, and in some cases physical safety. By design, white supremacy has made it uncomfortable to speak out against white supremacy. Fearing angry backlash for speaking out against the risks and injustices people of color face every single day only serves a system designed to keep us silent — a system that has been shaped over centuries to oppress and exploit people who are not white. At Moz, we will practice the courage to speak out and show up for love and justice. Maya Angelou said wisely, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
Today, we express solidarity with Black people grieving the losses of David McAtee, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many, many others. We share and honor the outrage rippling through our country. We stand with you and we stand for justice and love.
We want to amplify the signal of inspiring people doing powerful work. Activists like Rachel Cargleand her work on The Great Unlearn project. Resources like the Intentionalist, an online directory that allows you to discover and patronize diverse local businesses in your community. Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race illuminates the harsh reality of police brutality, inequitable mass incarceration, and other lived experiences of Black people in the United States and gives us tools to talk about race and racism. EmbraceRaceis an organization focused on helping parents, teachers, and community leaders raise children to think and act critically against racial injustice. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist asks us to think about what an anti-racist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. Ross Gay’s poem, A Small Needful Fact, is a powerful memorial that says so much in a few beautiful words. I invite everyone to re-read or listen toMartin Luther King Jr.’s full Letter From a Birmingham Jail. His statements and questions are heartbreakingly relevant today. May you be moved beyond thought to action, as we are.
Be well and love each other.
Editor’s note:We’re disallowing comments on this post to make sure the focus remains on the problem at hand: the indiscriminate mistreatment and murder of Black people in the United States. In addition, we will be forgoing our typical publishing schedule to make space for the more critical conversations that need to be held.
Due to the coronavirus, they decided to give us all a heads up on the future algorithm update and what it entails… that way you can adjust your website so your traffic doesn’t tank.
So, what’s the Page Experience update and how can you prepare for it?
In Google’s own words, here is what it means…
The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.
In other words, they are looking for how usable your website is.
Here’s an example of what they don’t want…
As you can see from the graphic above, the user was trying to click on “No, go back”, but because an install bar popup up at the top, it pushed the whole page down and caused the user to accidentally click on “Yes, place my order.”
The purpose of this update is to make sure that sites that rank at the top aren’t creating experiences that users hate.
The simplest way to think about this update is that user-friendly sites will rank higher than sites that aren’t user friendly.
But this change is the start of a big shift in SEO.
Why is this update so important?
What sites do you think that Google wants to rank at the top?
Take a guess…
Maybe sites with the best backlinks?
Or sites with the buttoned up on page code?
It’s actually none of those.
Google wants to rank the sites at the top that users love the most.
Here’s what I mean…
When you want to buy athletic shoes, what brand comes to mind?
If I had to guess, I bet you’ll say Nike.
And if you were to get a credit card… I bet Visa, American Express, or Mastercard will come to mind.
This is why brand queries (the number of users who search for your brand name on Google and click on your website) impact rankings, which I’ve broken down as one of the most important SEO lessons I learned.
Just look at how the Neil Patel brand has grown over time… the graph below shows the number of people searching for my name over time:
And here is my SEO traffic over time:
As your brand grows so will your SEO traffic.
But that is old news, that’s been part of Google’s algorithm for years now.
Here is the thing though, most sites don’t have large brands and Google knows that. So, if you don’t have one, you can still rank.
At my ad agency, when we look at our clients and their growth over time, only 4% have large well-known brands. The other 96% are still seeing traffic growth.
What Google is doing is adapting its algorithm to more closely align with the mission of showing the sites first that users love the most.
And yes, brand queries are one of the ways they can do this, but user experience is another metric.
Over the next few years, I bet you will see many algorithm updates focusing on user experience.
It doesn’t mean that your whole website shouldn’t have a good user experience, but instead, I bet they are going to focus on their algorithm from a page-level basis.
Because if you have a few pages on your websites that have a poor experience, but the rest are good, it wouldn’t make sense for Google to reduce the rankings of your whole site, especially if many of your pages provide a much better experience than your competition.
Here’s how you optimize your user experience:
Step #1: Optimize your speed and reduce 400 errors
The faster your website loads, the better experience you’ll have.
I want you to go into the navigation and click on “Top Pages.”
You should see a report like this:
The Top Pages report shows the most popular pages on your competition’s site from an SEO perspective. The pages at the top are the ones with the most SEO traffic, which means they are doing something right.
I want you to go through their top 50 pages. Seriously, their top 50 pages, and look at the user experience of each of those pages.
What is it that they are doing? How does their content quality compare to yours? What are the differences between their website compared to yours?
For each page that ranks, I also want you to click on “View All” under the “Est. Visits” heading. This will show you all of the keywords each page ranks for.
When evaluating your competition’s user experience, keep in mind how they are delighting people who search for any of those keywords. This will give you an idea of what you need to do as well.
But your goal shouldn’t be to match your competition, it should be to beat your competition.
Step #3: Analyze your design
Remember the graphic I showed above of what Google doesn’t want? Where the user tried to click on “No, go back” instead of “Yes, place my order” due to design issues.
In most cases you won’t have that issue, but you will have other usability issues.
The way you find usability issues is through heatmaps. Just like this one:
What you can do to find usability issues is run a Crazy Egg test on your site.
Once you log into Crazy Egg, you’ll see a dashboard that looks like this:
On the top right, I want you to click on “Create New” and select “Snapshot.”
Then select “Multiple Snapshots.”
From there, you’ll want to add at least 3 popular URLs on your site. Over time you’ll want to do this with all of your popular pages.
Then you’ll see settings like the image below, you don’t need to do anything here. Just click “Next.”
You’ll then be able to review everything. If it looks good, you can click the “Create Snapshots” button in the bottom right.
Last but not least, you’ll have to install your tracking script.
So, click on “Install Tracking Script.”
Select the option that works for you and then you are off and to the races. For example, for NeilPatel.com I use WordPress so I would select the WordPress option.
Once you are setup, it will take at least a day to see results, if not a bit longer. It depends on your traffic.
If you get thousands of visitors to your site each day you’ll see results within a few hours.
After you set up your test and it has been a few days, log back into Crazy Egg and click on Snapshots in the sidebar.
Once you are there you will see a list of snapshots you have created.
Click on any of your snapshots and you’ll see a heatmap of how people are engaging with your web page.
What’s cool about snapshots is they show you every single click, or even scroll that people take. Just look at this example from the NeilPatel.com site.
As you can see, people are clicking on those images above the text. But there is an issue… can you guess what it is?
If you click those images, nothing happens. But for all of those people to click on those images, it means that they believe they are clickable and that something should happen when they click on them.
An easy fix for me is to make them clickable and when a user clicks maybe I would take them to a page that goes into detail on each of those features. Or maybe I could expand upon each feature right there on that page.
Once you make the fixes to your page, you will want to re-run a new Crazy Egg snapshot on the same page to see if the changes helped improve the user experience.
When you do a Google search, you’ll see data on each ranking URL.
When you are naturally using Google throughout your day and searching for keywords related to your industry, I want you to look at 2 main metrics in Ubersuggest:
Domain score – the higher the number, the more authority a website has.
Links – the more links a website has, usually the higher it will rank.
So, when you are doing searches, look for sites that have a lower domain score and fewer backlinks than the competition, but yet still rank high.
Chances are, they rank high because of things like user experience. Maybe their text is more appealing than the competition, maybe their bounce rate is lower… it could be a wide variety of reasons, but these are the sites you want to look at and analyze.
In the image above, you see that the result from the AMA ranks higher than Hubspot yet they have fewer links and a lower domain score. So, if you were trying to rank for that keyword, you would want to spend more time analyzing AMA because they are doing something right.
User experience is going to be more and more important over time.
If you love a site and everyone else loves that site, Google will eventually want to make sure that the site ranks high.
On the flip side, if everyone feels a website has a terrible user experience, then Google won’t rank that website as high in the long run.
Just like any algorithm update Google does, expect to see multiple revisions over time. As they learn, they adapt to make their algorithms more effective over time.
But what is unique about this update is you have advanced notice, which is nice. So, take the opportunity and fix any usability issues you may have.
What other ways can you make your website more usable?
Businesses all over the globe are struggling with new challenges as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers turning to the internet for the majority of their needs, it’s never been more vital to ensure your online presence is easily found and your business updates clearly communicated.
In this special edition of Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller outlines a checklist that businesses can use to meet the changing needs of consumers and improve visibility for local searches.
Bonus — We’ve adapted these tips into a free checklist you can download and share:
Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!
Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going over crisis adaptation, and I first have to give a huge shout-out to Miriam Ellis, who really helped me package all of this up to deliver to you today.
If you’re not already following Miriam on Twitter, I highly suggest you do. She is a local SEO genius. So let’s dive right in.
Meet your customers where they are
You often hear this phrase in marketing and in SEO about meeting your customers where they are. This might be important now more than ever because the current landscape, it’s changed so much.
Listen to your customers & understand how their needs have shifted
In order to better meet your customers where they are, you really first have to listen and understand how their needs have shifted, how have their concerns shifted. What are they searching for now? Just really paying attention and listening online to your current target market.
One of the things I also like to suggest is listen to competitive reviews. Keep an eye on competitive reviews being posted on Google and other spaces to get a gauge of how desires and concerns have shifted.
Know where your audience is
This could have also shifted a bit. Whiteboard Friday’s OG, Rand Fishkin, launched SparkToro that does exactly that. So you can really deep dive into real-time data around what your audience is listening to, who they follow, all sorts of great stuff for you to leverage in today’s climate.
Connect with potential customers in meaningful ways
Now is a great time to reach out and engage with not only potential customers but current customer base and remind people that you are still here and serving them in various ways. This is key.
Partner with relevant businesses
I’ve seen this do really well in some great examples of pivoting, where a fruit delivery company partnered with a bakery to include these free cakes within orders. What a great way to get some visibility for that bakery, and vice versa. I think it’s a great time to leverage industry relationships and help one another out. I absolutely love that tip.
Communicate all changes and updates
Now the other big, big priority right now is all around communicating changes and updates to your website visitors. So what do you need to cover?
Changes to hours is so important right now. It’s essential that you have that information readily visible to anyone visiting your website, if this applies to you. All forms of availability, video, curbside, no touch delivery, have that information available.
Any expected delays and product availability challenges.
Sanitation and any adopted safety precautions.
Payment methods accepted.
Any philanthropic efforts that you’re doing to help support people in need.
I’m seeing a lot of these show up in banners and readily available information for people visiting websites. I think it’s great to consider making sure that this information is easy for people to access.
Immediately communicate this information:
Set up online orders and catalog inventory/services
In addition to these things, set up online orders. At the very least, catalog your online inventory or services for people to let people know what you’re currently offering.
If you’re a struggling business and you don’t want to go into a huge website build, you can absolutely check out and explore things like Squarespace or Shopify.
I would have never thought I would be suggesting these platforms a year ago (just because they’re not usually great for SEO reasons). But they can do a beautiful job of solving this problem so quickly, and then you can roll out V2 and V3 down the road when you’re ready to make those improvements. But I think just getting businesses off the ground is so important right now.
Add products for free on Google Shopping
This was such a neat thing that Google offered several weeks ago, and it’s doing great. It allows you to list products for free on Google Shopping, giving you that extra visibility right now. So if you’re an e-commerce brand, definitely check that out.
Create maps showing delivery radiuses
Miriam had this great idea to create maps showing delivery radiuses, if that applies to you, so really giving someone visiting your site quick information about the areas that you serve. Sometimes when you see the ZIP codes, it’s a little overwhelming.
Then this was mentioned in a recent GatherUp webinar by Darren Shaw — Routific. So if you are doing local deliveries and they’re getting a little out of hand, Routific is a company that creates delivery routes to make them most efficient for you, which I thought was so cool.
I didn’t even know that existed.
Double down on SEO and content marketing
I absolutely loved Mike King’s correction: Nathan Turner’s post on this — I think it was a couple weeks ago — where he explains why economic downturns favor the bold. It’s brilliant. There are incredible use cases around this, and we’ll link to that down below.
Someone who has impressed the heck out of me the last couple of weeks is Kristin Tynski — I hope I’m saying that right — over at Fractl. She is going above and beyond to create content pieces that are not only genius but are link building opportunities, apply to various clients, and use traditional journalism tactics to gather offline, unique data to present online. I highly suggest you pay attention to what Kristin is up to. She is a genius. Kristin, we have to meet sometime. I’m a huge fan of you. Keep up the great work.
Local & Google My Business
Now let’s dive into some GMB stuff. While this might not apply to you if you’re not a local business, I think there are still things to take away for larger companies that also either have a local listing or just to be aware of.
So here’s an example of Uptown China Restaurant, a local Chinese restaurant.
Correct any GMB errors
Just correct any GMB errors. Make sure that the current data shown and information is correct and up to date.
Add special business hours to remove warning
Then this is probably my favorite hack of all, from Joy Hawkins, about this warning that we see on all businesses currently, because of the pandemic, that says hours or services may differ. You can get this removed simply by adding special business hours (towards the bottom of your business info). How incredible is that?
The little section at the bottom that shows something from December 2017 is the special hours section. Click on the pencil icon beside it.
Highly suggest you add special business hours. Joy also mentioned in this webinar I keep referring to, that was so good, she suggests using the hours that you are available to take phone calls. Google has never had an issue with that, and it tends to make the most sense. So something to think about.
Respond to reviews
Now is also a great time to invest and be engaged with these reviews. I think it’s one of the most overlooked PR and marketing tactics available, where customers exploring your brand, exploring your location want to know that (a) you care and that (b) you’re going to engage with a customer and that you have a timely response.
Confirm or reject any new Google My Business prompts
We’re going to continue to see new GMB things roll out (these changes rolled out right before posting this WBF). Senior hours available were added to various businesses. No-contact delivery. These things will always be changing.
I’s important to frequently keep an eye on any new Google My Business options that you can activate or clarify (perhaps put a reminder in your calendar). Google loves that, and it also helps fill out your listing better.
Update menu and product listings
What a great time to take some good new photos.Update your menu items. I wish Uptown China Restaurant did this. They can add those things to make their GMB listing more robust and entice interested individuals.
Posts have always been really, really great for Google My Business listings because they give you a big photo. +They last for around 14 days. It’s very prevalent when you see it.
Now, Google has also been offering COVID-19 posts!
There isn’t an option to add an image with the COVID-19 posts. It’s text only, but it lasts longer and it’s more prominent than a regular post. So it will show up higher in your Google My Business listing, and we’ve also seen it pop up in the organic area of SERPs. You have control over the messaging.
People are getting really savvy with product posts, which again it would show up in your Google My Business listing with a big photo and a description. What he’s seen people do is have a photo of a car with text on it that says “No-Touch Delivery” or different service options as the product.
Google is currently letting that slide. I don’t know if that will last forever. But it’s an interesting thing to explore if you really want that visibility (if someone is struggling with their business right now), and you can kind of get that to pop up on the SERPs.
Enable text messaging
I’ve heard from so many SEOs and businesses that GMB text messaging has continued to go up and to the right during the pandemic, and it makes sense.
People want to quickly get information from businesses. You can create a welcome message. So I highly suggest exploring this if that’s available to you.
Again, I think I’ve said this like three times, but update images. It’s a great time to do that, and it can really help make your stuff pop.
Share these tips with businesses in need!
Lastly, don’t forget to share these tips with businesses.
Understand that there are a lot of people in need right now, and if there’s anything that we can do to help, by all means let’s make all of that stuff happen. The fact is that you’re not alone. So whether you’re doing this work on behalf of a client, or you yourself or family or friends are really struggling with a business right now, there are different support groups and options as far as financial support.
We’ve created a free PDF checklist of all this information that you can download and share with any marketers, clients, or businesses in need:
I know we at Moz are going to be putting everything we have into helping you and others during this time, and so I created a form at the bottom of this post where you can fill in some information and let us know if there are specific problems that we could help with. We’re in this together.
We want to help you all as much as we can. I will be taking that very seriously and spending lots of time on replying or creating material to help individuals struggling. So please fill that out. Also, feel free to leave comments and suggestions in the comments. I think some of the best, most valuable takeaways sometimes happen in the comments where you’re either clarifying something that I said or adding something really great. I would really appreciate that. Just want to get all the good information out there so that we can help everyone out. I really appreciate you taking the time to watch this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and I will see you all again soon. Thanks.
In October 2019, our 16-year-old company rebranded from Logic Supply to OnLogic. The recovery from a traffic standpoint has been pretty smooth (and much faster than we expected), and our customers have embraced our new name and look. We want to share our story, the steps we took to prepare for this major change, and some things we learned along the way about what it takes to execute a successful domain transition (with minimal impact on organic results) in an effort to help those facing the same challenge.
Take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay.
First, a little history and background. Logic Supply was founded in 2003 as an e-commerce website that sold components and parts for small form factor computers. Over the years, the company has built up engineering and manufacturing capabilities that today allow us to offer complete industrial and ruggedized computers and technology solutions for a wide range of industries. We’ve known for almost 10 years that our ambitions would someday outgrow our name, and in 2015 we settled on a new one and began laying the groundwork for the transition.
Once we’d gotten past all the research and legal efforts related to the new name itself, we began formulating the website transition plans in 2018. This kind of project requires a long list of individual and team supporters, from the Design and Communications team who helped conceptualize and choose the name OnLogic, to the IT team who would be responsible for making sure the digital transition was executed effectively.
This piece is coming from the perspective of Erika Austin, who has worked in digital marketing for Logic Supply since 2009, with special credit to Tim van der Horst in our Netherlands office who led the roll-out of the new domain and the resulting SEO recovery efforts. Tim applied structure to all the data I had gathered in my head over the past 10 years of decision-making in SEO.
I had full confidence that our team could lead a successful transition. The only thing was, I had never done this before. Few have, with the exception of our new IT director who had undergone a few brand and domain migrations in her career.
I had been working on building Logic Supply’s domain authority for 10 years, so the idea of moving to a new domain brought up a lot of questions. To help us along the way, I sought out an expert who could validate our work and answer questions if anything came up. While many of the recommendations online were people that had cited, or written for, authoritative sites such as Moz, I decided to ask Rand Fishkin, the SEO Rockstar himself, who he would recommend as a Jungle Guide for a project like this. He was kind enough to connect us with KickPoint.
Dana DiTomaso at KickPoint was able to quickly understand where we were in the process, and what we needed. Dana proved to be instrumental in validating our efforts along the way, but we were very encouraged by her assessment that our existing plan was thorough and covered the necessary steps. Admittedly, we would have been disappointed otherwise — it was a really detailed plan.
Tim outlined a six-phase project with specifications and definitions of our SEO strategy in a website migration document with an accompanying spreadsheet, complete with an RACI (responsible, accountable, consult, and inform) matrix and timeline. Tim’s plan was extremely clear, with positive outcome scenarios including possible growth as a result of the migration.
I will credit Tim again — my head was spinning with only the potential pitfalls (detailed below) of such a huge change. What about E-A-T? This new domain had no expertise, authority, or trust to it, and growth in traffic wasn’t something I had even considered. Our IT Director agreed that she had never seen that happen in her career, so we set expectations to have about a ten percent decline over six weeks before a full recovery. I squirmed a bit, but okay.
Along with traffic loss, it was important for us to lay out all the possible risks associated with this execution.
Many of the risks we faced revolved around implementation uncertainty and resource allocation on the IT side. Of the risks that were introduced, the one that I had the most reservations about was migrating our blog to a new URL path. This was decided to be too much of a risk, and we removed it from the initial plan.
To help mitigate some of the risks, we discussed options for an overlay notifying customers of the change. But as much as we wanted to get customers excited about our new name and look, we didn’t want it to be too disruptive or be penalized for a disruptive interstitial.
The more we spoke to customers leading up to the big changeover, the more we realized that — while this was a big deal to us — it ultimately didn’t impact them, as long as they could still expect the high quality products and support they’d come to know us for. We ended up implementing a persistent banner on every page of the site that pointed to a page about the brand evolution, but we didn’t choose to force users into interacting with that modal.
Phase two: pre-launch preparation
Technical SEO specification
At this point in the project, we realized we had an XML sitemap that would change, but that we wanted the old sitemaps around to help reinforce the transition in Google Search Console. We also determined that an HTML sitemap would help in laying out our structure. We were six months out from our brand transition, so any changes we wanted to make to our website had to be made ASAP.
So, we cleaned up our URL structure, removing many of the existing server redirects that weren’t being used or followed much anymore by only keeping links from our referral traffic.
We also created more logical URL paths to show relationships, for example:
And updated the redirects to point to the right end path without following redirect chains:
Technical CMS specification
When doing a migration to a new domain, the depth and complexity of the technical CMS specification really depends on if you are migrating your existing platform or switching to a new one. The CMS of choice in our case didn’t change from the previous, which made our lives a little easier. We were porting our existing website over to the new domain as-is. It would mostly come down to content at this stage in the plan.
One of the most important things at this step was to make sure our content was displaying our new brand properly. Essentially, we planned for a “simple” find/replace:
Find: *Logic Supply*
We took inventory of every attribute and field on our website that mentions the company, and applied the change across the board: descriptions, short descriptions, meta titles, meta descriptions, manufacturer, etc.
At one point we asked ourselves, “What do we do with press releases or past content that says ‘Logic Supply’? Should that be replaced with ‘OnLogic’?” In the end, we decided to exclude certain parts of the website from the script (articles, events, news from our past), but made sure that all the links were updated. We didn’t have to bury Logic Supply as a brand name, as there would be an advantage in having references to this name during the period of transition to remind customers we’re still the same company.
During this phase, we prepared what needed to be changed in Google Ads, such as headlines, descriptions, URLs, sitelinks, and videos. We ramped up our paid search budget for both terms “Logic Supply” and “OnLogic”, and prioritized pages and keywords to elevate in Google Ads in case the domain change did have an impact on our core keyword rankings.
Priority page identification
Since the intent of our migration was to port our existing platform over to a new domain and make very few changes in the process, we didn’t have to list pages we would have to prioritize over others. What we did do was think about external factors that would impact our SEO, and how to limit this impact for our biggest referral traffic sources and top ranking pages.
We compiled a spreadsheet to help us address, and ideally update, backlinks to our former domain. The categories and data sources are worth noting:
Backlinks: We downloaded all of our backlinks data compiled from SEMRush and Google Search.
Referral traffic and top organic landing pages: This list was pulled from Google Analytics to determine high-traffic, priority pages we’d need to monitor closely after the transition. It also helped to prioritize links that were actively being used.
Partners: We wrote to each of our partners and suppliers about the changes in advance, and asked them to make updates to the links on their websites by certain deadlines. I was delighted to see how quickly this was implemented — a testament to our amazing partners.
Publishers: Anywhere we had a mention in a news story or website that we thought could be updated, we reached out via email at go-live. We did decide at some point we couldn’t erase our history as www.logicsupply.com, but we could at least let those contacts know we had changed. There were a few direct placement advertisements we also had to update.
Directories: We used various internet resources, and a great deal of Googling, to identify business, product, or industry directories that pointed to our old domain and/or used our old name. I hate that directories still have a place in SEO these days, since they date back to the early ages of the internet, but we wanted to cover our bases.
When you’re performing a domain migration, one of the most important things for sustaining organic traffic is to help Google — and any search engine — understand that a page has moved to a new location. One way to do this is with a permanent (301) redirect.
So began our redirect mapping. Our migration scenario was fortunate in the sense that everything remained the same as far as URL structure goes. The only thing that changed was the domain name.
The final redirect map (yes, it’s the world’s most complicated one, ever) was:
logicsupply.com/* -> onlogic.com/*
Internal link redirects
As IT had their redirection mapping server-side prepared, we needed to make sure our internal links weren’t pointing to a 301 redirect, as this would hurt our SEO. Users had to be sent straight to the correct page on the new domain.
Objective: update all links on the site’s content to point to the new domain. Below is the “find/replace” table that our IT team used to help us update all the content for the transition to onlogic.com:
We also launched an HTML sitemap as soon as possible under logicsupply.com after our URL restructure, six months prior to launch.
We took 15 weeks to prepare, test, and get comfortable with the migration. Once live, there is no going back. Executing thoroughly and exactly on the plan and checking every box is the only approach. So in short: there was no contingency plan. Whatever happened, once we switched domains, that was it.
Phase two ended when we started to move away from the specifications and into exactly what needed to happen, and when. We used our Go-Live Checklist to make sure that we had every box checked for creative needs, third party integrations, and to configure file review. Making the checklist highly detailed and accurate was the only way to make sure we succeeded.
Phase three: pre-launch testing
To kick off phase three, we had to get a baseline of where we were at. We had a few errors to correct that had been outstanding in Google Search Console, like submitting noindex links through our XML sitemap. This project also alerted us to the fact that, if everything went well, site speed would be our next project to tackle.
As content wouldn’t change except for “Logic Supply” becoming “OnLogic”, we didn’t really have to do a lot of reviewing here. We did extensively test the find/replace functionality in the go-live scripts to make sure everything looked as it was supposed to, and that the sections we chose to exclude were in fact left untouched. Updated designs were also part of this review.
The technical review involved checking everything we had planned out in the second phase, so making sure redirects, sitemaps, links, and scripts were working and crawlable. IT implemented all server-side conditions, and set up the new domain to work internally for all testing tasks that needed to be executed. Again, the checklist was leading in this endeavor.
Using ScreamingFrog, we crawled both the sitemaps as well as the staging website we had internally launched for testing purposes — hidden away from the outside world. Any redirect errors that appeared were resolved on the spot.
Site launch risk assessment
Risk assessment was a continuous activity throughout the testing. We had a go or no-go decision prior to go-live, as we couldn’t go back once we flipped the switch on the domain migration. Everything that popped up as an error or flag we swiftly assessed and decided whether to mitigate or ignore for the sake of time. Surprisingly, very few things came up, so we could quickly begin the benchmarking process.
The template above was what we used to track our site speed before and after. Our benchmarks were consistent between the website before and after our staged migration using both Lighthouse and GTMetrix, meaning we were on track for our go-live date.
Phase four: go-live!
The least impactful day to make this change was over the weekend, because as a B2B company, we’ve noticed that our customers tend to be online during regular office hours.
Our team in the Netherlands, including Tim, flew in to support, and our IT and marketing teams dedicated a Saturday to the migration. It also happened to be my birthday weekend, so I was excited to be able to celebrate with my colleagues while they were in town, and in turn celebrate them for all their hard work!
So, on Saturday, October 19, 2019, around 8 a.m., IT confirmed we were good to go and the maintenance page was up. This was returning a “503 — service temporarily unavailable” server response to make sure Google wouldn’t index our site during the migration.
It was at this point in the process that our Go-Live Checklist took over. It was a lot of work up front, but all of this preparation made the final execution of the domain transition a matter of a few clicks to move and/or publish items.
Among all our other tasks, we updated our page title suffix, which was previously “Logic Supply”, to “Logic Supply is now OnLogic” (today it’s “OnLogic formerly Logic Supply”). This was an indication to Google that we were the same company.
The hardest part was the waiting.
Phases five and six: post-launch and performance review
I had planned to camp out next to my computer for the next few days to watch for problems, but nothing surfaced right away. While organic traffic did take an expected dip, it wasn’t nearly as dramatic or prolonged as we’d been warned it might be. We are still seeing logicsupply.com indexed months later, which is frustrating, but doesn’t seem to be affecting our traffic on the new domain.
Overall, we view our website transition as a success. Our traffic returned to where we were and we surpassed our project benchmarks for both traffic and site performance.
Following the move, we looked for follow-on opportunities to help improve our site speed, including identifying inactive or out-of-date plugins from our blog. Our blog made up at least 40 percent of our organic traffic, so this change made our site faster and helped to reach our organic growth recovery goals in less than six weeks.
We are constantly looking at and prioritizing new opportunities to improve the website experience for our customers, and make doing business with OnLogic as easy as possible. The domain change project was a huge undertaking by the entire organization, and required a great deal of planning and constant communication and collaboration to pull off. That said, the time spent up-front was paid back twice over in the time saved recovering our organic traffic, and making things seamless for our website users to ensure everyone could carry on with business-as-usual.
From being in the SEO industry for over 21 years now, I know that it would be more convenient to do your SEO research while you are browsing the web or searching Google than constantly having to come back to Ubersuggest.
When you are searching Google, you’ll see an overview within the search bar.
You’ll see the monthly search volume and the cost per click for that keyword.
When you click the “view all” link, you’ll see a detailed overview for that keyword.
The graph breaks down the total monthly search volume. What’s cool about the chart is that it shows you both the monthly mobile searches and desktop searches.
And above the graph, you’ll get metrics on how hard that keyword is to rank for (SEO Difficulty) and how competitive that keyword is from a paid advertising (Paid Difficulty) standpoint.
Under the graph, you’ll also see 2 bar graphs. The first one breaks down whether or not people are clicking on the SEO results, paid results, or not clicking anywhere at all.
The second one shows data on the age range of all of the searchers.
Above the organic results, you’ll see a speech bubble that breaks the average authority of the sites that are ranking (domain score) and the average number of referring domains the top 10 results have (backlinks).
If you want a more detailed overview, you’ll see a graph in the sidebar that breaks down how many referring links each of the top 10 listings have.
Keep in mind the link metrics are based on referring domains. So, if a website has 100 links from the same domain name, it will only count as 1. Because what really matters when it comes to SEO is how many unique, relevant sites you can get to link to you as opposed to having the same site linking to you over and over again.
Even more keyword data
In the sidebar, you’ll also find even more keyword data.
You’ll see a list of other popular keywords that are similar. You’ll also get metrics on each keyword… from how often it is searched (volume), to what it would cost to bid on that keyword (CPC), to how difficult the keyword is from an SEO standpoint (SD).
And if you scroll to the very bottom of the screen, you’ll see a list of related keywords that Google provides.
Again, you’ll be provided with data like search volume, cost per click, and SEO difficulty data.
Whenever you perform a search on Google, you, of course, see a list of websites that rank for that keyword.
As you can see, under URL you see the authority of the website (domain score), how many Pinterest and Facebook shares the URL has, and how many unique domains are linking to that result.
What’s cool is you can click on the “down arrow” next to the link count and see the exact list of sites linking as well as their domain score and anchor text they used for the link.
Pick your country and language
The last feature in the extension is that you can change your location and language.
All you have to do is click the “Settings” link in the sidebar.
You’ll see a long list of languages and countries that you can choose from.
No matter what version of Google you are using, such as Google.com.br or even Google.co.in, you’ll see SEO data whenever you perform a search.
I have some more big changes coming to the extension in the near future but I would love to hear what you think about it so far.
And if you have any feature requests, just leave a comment below. That way we can prioritize what we add to the extension next.
That’s why the mantra “link building is relationship building” exists. Often, before you build a link, you have to build a relationship with the site owner first. This means anything from following them on Twitter, commenting mindfully on their posts, writing emails to them to discuss their content without pitching links, etc. It’s a productive strategy, but also a time-intensive one.
However, there’s another — relatively quick — link building strategy.
Is your ear itching? If you’re the superstitious type, this means that someone is talking about you.
Sometimes a webmaster will publish your brand name, products, or target keywords on their site without actually linking to your site. In SEO, these are known as “fresh mention” opportunities. These are typically some of the easiest link building opportunities available, since you don’t really have to explain yourself to the site owner. Mostly, you just have to ask them to put an <a href> tag in the code.
But how do you find these fresh mentions? There are multiple methods and tools, but today I’m going to highlight the one I use most often: Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is beneficial in a myriad of ways beyond the world of link building and SEO, but there’s no doubt that it’s the best way to stay on top of your fresh mention opportunities. Allow me to explain how you can use it!
Setting up Google Alerts
First off, the obvious: you need the correct link. To start using Google Alerts, head over to Google Alerts. You can technically set up alerts without a Gmail account, but I would recommend having one. If you don’t have one, click here to find out how to set one up.
When you have an account set up and land on Google Alerts, you will see a page that looks like this:
No, there’s not much to see. Not yet anyway.
Let’s take a basic example. Say you want to create an alert for mentions of link building. Simply type the phrase into the bar at the top.
You will see something similar to the image above, even before you click on anything else. The first box asks for which email address you want to receive the alerts (I’ve erased mine for the purpose of this article, but trust me, it’s there). Below that will be examples of recent alerts for your query.
Click the “Create Alert” button, and alerts will be sent to your selected inbox going forward. However, you can customize a few settings before you do so. Click the “Show options” dropdown next to the button to see a list of settings you can adjust:
Each item is auto-filled with the default setting. You can adjust the settings so that you only get alerts from specific regions, for certain types of content, and more. In general, I have found the default settings to suffice, but there are valid reasons you might want to change them (if you’re only interested in video content, for example).
When you’re done with the settings, you can create the alert!
Google Alert tips
From that point on, assuming you stuck with the default option of once-a-day emails, you’ll get an email every 24 hours that looks like this:
Notice the returns in this example include pages that talk about each individual word from your query (in this example the word “link” and the word “building”). Obviously, this isn’t helpful, and it’s a waste of time to sift through these results.
So, how can you make sure that you only get results for an exact phrase? Quotation marks!
I (intentionally) made this mistake when setting up this alert. Notice in the image from the first section that “link building” didn’t include quotation marks around it. Without them, Google Alerts will return results like the ones in the image above.
The quotation marks indicate that you’re looking for an exact match of that phrase, so when you set up an alert using them you will get something that looks like this:
Much better, right?
Note that you can combine terms with and without quotation marks in one alert. Say for example I was looking for content related to link building around images. Instead of “link building images,” a phrase not likely to occur too often, I could use:
This will return results that include both the exact phrase “link building” AND the term “images”.
Set up multiple alerts
If you’re using Google Alerts for link building, I recommend setting up more than one alert. Consider some of the following:
Your brand name
Your products or services
Your focus keywords
Personalities associated with your brand
If you’re concerned about all the emails flooding your inbox, adjust the settings to decrease the frequency or stagger delivery days. You can also set up a separate Gmail account that only serves to receive these emails. I personally find the former to be the better option, but I know people who do the latter.
Consider setting up alerts for your competitors as well. Doing so may give you a window into their link building and publicity strategies that you can learn from. Along with that, you might find new potential target sites that aren’t mentioning you. If they mention your competitor, it’s likely they are relevant to your niche.
Also include common misspellings of any of the list items above. While Google’s algorithm is typically smart enough to correct such misspellings in its search, a few valuable results may seep through even still.
Google Alerts can be helpful for other purposes other than link building. Certainly, if you’re engaged in an online reputation management campaign, they’re a necessity. Some use Alerts to track the kind of publicity their competitors are getting as well.
There are other excellent link building tools out there that can complement your “fresh mention” strategy if you are a link builder, but Google Alerts is an essential. I hope you find Google Alerts as helpful for link building as I have. If you have other tools or suggestions, please mention them in the comments below.