from .co.uk to .com
after an initial downturn
A successful domain migration from .co.uk to .com.
+28,500 monthly organic sessions post-migration.
+252 top 3 rankings post-migration.
+1,820 top 10 rankings post-migration.
Learn how we successfully recovered (and grew) the organic traffic for Outdoor Toys, one of the UK’s largest stockists of children’s toys and play equipment, following a .co.uk to .com domain migration that resulted in an initial downturn in visibility.
In this domain migration case study, we’ll talk you through the steps we took after the switch to the brand’s new .com domain resulted in an unexpected drop in organic rankings, what our priorities were to see recovery and more.
You’ll gain an insight into the importance of SEOs being involved extensively during the planning phase of a migration, the most important steps to take and how to recover rankings, traffic and revenue if things don’t initially go to plan.
This case study looks at a snapshot of the agency’s ongoing project, covering the period between June and November 2023.
Outdoor Toys has established itself as one of the UK’s leading retailers of children’s play equipment; from trampolines and swings to playhouses, climbing frames and ride-on-toys.
The agency’s ongoing measure of success is organic traffic and revenue growth, as well as increasing the brand’s market share.
To set the brand up for international expansion, Outdoor Toys made the decision to migrate from their long-established .co.uk domain to the .com version… at the same time as re-platforming to Shopify.
Any migration brings about some level of risk to fluctuations in organic rankings (and, therefore, traffic and revenue), but this can often be minimised by pre-migration planning and preparation involving an SEO team.
However, a domain and platform migration at the same time significantly increases the risk involved, and for that reason, we typically advise that these changes happen in isolation. Replatform, then change the domain. Or change the domain, then re-platform.
On this project, there was a requirement for these to be completed at the same time, adding complexities to the migration.
Outdoor Toys migrated to the .com domain and re-platformed to Shopify in July 2023, and Digitaloft was engaged to recover lost ground and drive growth on the new .com domain.
When working on a domain migration and/or re-platforming, there are a number of key areas that can impact visibility. These include:
In this scenario, we broke our recovery roadmap into 3 main parts:
Redirects are perhaps the most important thing to get right during a migration, especially when re-platforming and changing domains at the same time.
In this instance, we had:
A thorough analysis and mapping ensured URLs were redirecting to the correct targets, not via redirect chains.
Auditing the content live on the new .com domain against what was previously in place on the .co.uk (we used a backup version, but the same could be done using Archive.org) helped us to identify pages where the content was missing and reinstate this.
Ultimately, a successful migration rests on making as few changes as possible, at least at the same time. And ensuring that content matches on corresponding URLs, ideally pre-migration, limit these.
Within carried-over content, it’s key to make sure that internal links point to the new domain, not via redirects, too.
We were also looking to identify duplicate content across the site, alongside our tech and on-page audit.
No two eCommerce platforms are the same, and they each come with their own set of technical SEO limitations and common issues.
Shopify, for one, has a number of known SEO challenges that need to be addressed.
Again, it comes back to lots of moving pieces in a migration.
Our technical SEO team undertook a comprehensive audit, looking at:
Our goal with any technical SEO audit is to identify things that are holding back the site from achieving it’s full potential, and in this case, we were specifically looking for areas to focus on following the migration.
Our team uncovered a wealth of technical areas, working through a prioritised roadmap to resolve issues and set the site up for success.
Before the domain migration and re-platforming (June 2023), the .co.uk website ranked in top three positions on Google.co.uk for 662 keywords and had a total of 2,660 ranking on page one. A further 1,701 keywords ranked on page two of Google (we consider these striking distance keywords, as they’re a key focus to push onto and up page 1).
Four months after the migration, by November 2023, we saw the site’s visibility surpass what had held immediately before the changes. Outdoor Toys’ .com domain ranks in top three positions for 914 keywords, with a total of 4,480 on page one of Google. Additionally, a total of 6,042 keywords now rank on page two of Google, significantly increasing our group of striking distance queries to focus our efforts on.
Organic traffic has now surpassed the pre-migration period and continues to grow month-on-month, putting the site in a strong position to enter 2024 with a mission to accelerate the brand’s visibility and overall market share.
If we compare the performance of the .co.uk and the .com side-by-side, we can see significant growth against our baseline in just four months.
Despite an initial downturn in visibility, a solid strategy to recover lost ground and put the new domain on a path to a new all-time high.
Migrations can be complex projects, especially when there is more than one variable in place. But this goes to show that even if challenges are faced during the process, the right strategy can put things back on the right track.
As SEOs, we’re not always in control of every part of the migration process, however much we’d like to be. And it’s our job to offer advice around the risks, what can be done to minimise these and to put together action plans if things don’t go to plan.
In this instance, our involvement in the project came at the point of migration, rather than during the planning phase. That said, our recovery strategy has been a success and put the site back on a strong trajectory the growth following a complex change.
From here, it’s up…
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