E-Commerce Platform Migration with SEO

E-Commerce Platform Migration with SEO

A very large and established retailer (200+ stores) had an e-commerce site with over 10,000 product SKUs.

The Problem

The site was a homegrown solution built on Cold Fusion and WebSphere that had become outdated. Pages loaded slowly at peak traffic hours, and the mobile experience was an afterthought. The marketing technology team was ready to create a new site that would take their e-commerce offering to the next level. The plan was to deploy a framework running on Gatsby and React that would be fast, mobile first, and scale easily.

However, there were over 10,000 pages indexed in Google. Legacy URLs were a mess and created massive amounts of duplicate content and 404 errors for crawlers. Non-branded rankings were non-existent as SEO had never been a part of prior site architecture.

How could they migrate to their new platform in a manner that would not only account for SEO best practices but also drive organic growth? One of their target KPIs was increased organic traffic within 30 days of launch.

The Solution

Using our website audit process, our team created a roadmap for the pre-launch to post-launch timeframe. It had to account for multiple moving parts during the development process such as internal stress testing and technology stack shuffling.

Here is a list of the higher-level deliverables that our audit/roadmap produced:

  • Keyword universe discovery and bucketing
  • Suggested information architecture for PLPs (category pages) guided by keyword discovery
  • Global canonical tag implementation
  • PDP layout
    • Schema markup
    • Meta tag format automation
    • Product description & image optimization
  • PLP layout
    • Amount of products per page
    • Account for custom metadata per page (to be added by our SEO team)
    • Insertion of custom supporting copy for each page
    • Optimal product filter display
    • Subcategory interlinking
  • Global breadcrumb linking
  • New robots.txt protocols to match updated pages (blocking shopping cart, checkout, etc.)
  • Strategy for product filter page deployment that was Google-friendly (designed to target long-tail keywords)
  • Redirection mapping
    • Compared and remediated crawls of old and new sites
  • Google Analytics audit which, among other things, served to identify top performing pages

A second component of this launch was remediation of JavaScript caching and pre-loading as Gatsby is a progressive web app (PWA) that loads sections of the page at different intervals depending on configuration. We found that Google would often discover a page but not fully render it until a second or third visit. So we had to work with the web dev team to tweak static rendering settings for the optimal crawler experience (simultaneous meta tag, image, and content discovery).

Post launch, the SEO team oversaw a Botify implementation that helped to mine logfiles for crawler issues. A system for bulk 301 redirect mapping was created to direct robots from legacy URLS to new target pages. Over 15,000 redirects had to be implemented.

The Results

By communicating clearly and frequently with the dev team, we experienced a smooth and error-free launch. Organic traffic blossomed after ensuring that Google was able to ingest and account for all of the domain factors.