Record-setting Organic Traffic With Pink News: Site Migration Case Study

Growing leading LGBTQ+ publisher Pink News’ website’s SEO traffic from 539k to 1.2M visitors following a full domain migration.

Objective:

The primary objective of this SEO campaign was to ensure a smooth site migration from the original domain (pinknews.co.uk), to the new domain (thepinknews.com), without any significant loss in SEO rankings or traffic. 

 

Aspirations for a wider global reach were the driving force behind Pink News’s decision to migrate, which is a strategic move often considered quite risky by some due to the pitfalls that a poorly executed domain migration can yield. With extensive experience in successful migrations – without disrupting rankings – we were tasked with the project.

 

It was imperative for Pink News to maintain their search engine rankings, organic traffic levels, and overall online presence during this critical domain migration process.

Website History:

Pink News is the world’s leading online LGBTQ+ publisher.

The website serves as a vital source of news and resources for people identifying as LGBTQ+, as well as for supporters and allies of the community. This interesting and content-diverse platform allows the community to stay updated on the latest developments, engage in discussions, and access a wealth of engaging information relevant to their interests and concerns.

Originally targeting the LGBTQ+ community in the United Kingdom, Pink News aimed to provide a reliable and inclusive news source specific to that region. However, with a growing set of goals and ambitions, they aimed to expand their reach and become a globally recognised resource for LGBTQ+ news and information.

This objective played a significant role in their decision to migrate from the original domain, (pinknews.co.uk), to the more globally accessible domain (thepinknews.com). By transitioning to the .com domain, Pink News signalled their ambition to serve as a trusted and influential platform, catering to the needs of the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.

The main issues holding the site back:

As is often the case with aspirations of this nature, immediate obstacles were evident. During our critical planning phase at SUSO, in which each internal department was consulted at length, we identified key issues that needed to be addressed. These included:

 

  1. Maintaining SEO strength during the site migration.
  2. Ensuring technical robustness of the new site.
  3. Implementing a flawless migration process.
  4. Monitoring post-migration performance.
  5. Continuous improvement and optimisation.

The Site Migration Strategy

Read on to find out how we grew the site’s monthly organic traffic from 539k pre-migration, to an all-time high of 1.2M visitors post-migration.

 

Stage 1: Data Gathering

The key to a successful site migration is in the preparation. This requires a strategic approach that goes beyond simply transferring the content, to intelligently repositioning and optimising it for greater impact.

 

During this stage, we gather as much data about the website as possible in order to understand how the domain is currently performing. 

 

To achieve this, we once again adopt an ‘all hands on deck’ approach, internally. By consulting with all departments, we are able to collate as much foresight as possible based on individual experience gained in previous migrations


This includes:

  • Running a full website crawl before the migration to gather data about the site such as number of URLS, redirects, 404 pages, internal links etc.
  • Measuring and identifying any potential issues related to page performance i.e. loading speeds.
  • Benchmarking the keyword and traffic data from various sources to identify important search terms and pages that are driving the most traffic.
  • Collecting a record of the site’s backlink profile to ensure the authority of links to the old domain is transferred to the new domain.
  • Seeking opportunities to enrich the content with intelligence and metadata.

Stage 2: Design/ Wireframe Stage Review

Having built a comprehensive overview of the old domain’s SEO health, the next stage is to start to prepare for the migration by reviewing the design of the new domain’s wireframe. 

 

This includes:

  • Producing a map of all URLs on the old site along with their corresponding URLs on the new domain.
  • Conducting a content gap analysis on the most important pages by comparing Pink News’ page to the top ranking competitors for the target keyword. This is our chance to update the existing content on the site so that it has the maximum ranking potential post migration.
  • Reviewing the metadata (i.e. page titles, meta descriptions, H1 headings etc) to ensure they are optimised for the page’s primary keyword.
  • Running a full crawl on the staging site to determine any potential SEO issues that need to be addressed i.e. broken links, internal redirects etc.
  • Preparing a URL redirection matrix to ensure all pages from the old domain are redirected to the correct URL on the new domain.
  • Reviewing tracking codes (i.e. Google Analytics), canonical tags, language tags and structured data.
  • Taking sensible steps to make content assets more findable and valuable.

 

Before executing the migration, we went through both crawls of the old and staging sites and implemented the required technical fixes to ensure a smooth transition. This included implementing all necessary redirects and updating internal links so that they pointed to the new URLs.

Stage 3: Migration

Migrating a website as large as Pink News, which has 100k+ pages, requires a strategic approach that will get the new domain off to the strongest possible start. 

 

This resourceful approach helps maintain – and even improve – digital dominance.

 

To do this, we segmented the site and migrated content in smaller, more manageable batches. 

 

We also:

  • Removed all blockers from the staging site i.e. “nofollow, noindex” tags so that Googlebot could start to crawl and index the new pages.
  • Reviewed the new domain’s robots.txt file to ensure important pages weren’t blocked off.
  • Registered the domain change in Google Search Console.
  • Audited the redirects and fixed any broken links.
  • Submitted a brand new XML sitemap to Google Search Console and make it easier for Google to crawl the new site.

Stage 4: Post-Migration

 

Catching any potential issues that may have been missed is a crucial part of the post-migration process and is, regrettably, a step that is often overlooked by many (though certainly not all) SEOs. 

 

This is especially true when dealing with a site as large as Pink News.

 

During the post-migration stage we:

 

  • Carefully monitored the Page Indexing Report in Google Search Console to ensure all important pages are being crawled and indexed by Googlebot
  • Used the URL Inspection Tool to check the status of top performing pages
  • Monitored any changes in traffic and keyword rankings
  • Provided additional support following the migration by highlighting additional areas where the site’s SEO performance could be improved upon.

The Results

Prior to the migration, the pinknews.co.uk was receiving 539k visitors.

Average monthly organic traffic for pinknews.co.uk – All Time

The new site’s organic traffic has not only sustained this traffic, but has reached an all time high of 1.2M visitors.

Before the migration, pinkews.co.uk was ranking for 669k in the top 100 positions of Google.com. The new domain, thepinknews.com, is now ranking for 958k keywords – an increase of 43%.




In Conclusion

While migration is often an intimidating prospect for many webmasters – and by no means do we doubt a successful migration can often present difficult challenges – our attitude has always been to view the process as an opportunity to go beyond the migration and identify further areas to enhance, stabilise, and strengthen the existing SEO in place.

 

Given the sheer increase in traffic at Pink News post-migration, we feel confident that this particular project demonstrates that approach very well indeed. However, while the success of this project is noteworthy, it is certainly not unique within our portfolio.

A portfolio that boasts a wealth of previous successful migrations.

Need help migrating your website?

Boost your new site’s SEO success with a site migration strategy from SUSO Digital. Whether you are looking to update your existing SEO or migrate to a new domain, our team is here to help you improve and enhance your brand’s digital presence.

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