A health insurance company planned to migrate their website from a standalone domain to a subdomain in early 2019, in compliance with the recommended domain consolidation strategy proposed by Wheelhouse DMG and their parent company. They also took this opportunity to move to a new CMS, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM). AEM is a better, more optimized CMS, and is the preferred platform for all of the parent company’s subsidiaries going forward.
Preparing to Migrate
Prior to the migration, the health insurance company utilized available AEM templates and page layouts to create the new subdomain site in a style similar to the primary parent company domain. They also migrated all content from the old domain to the new subdomain and updated all internal links to point to new website pages. Additionally, they mapped redirects from individual pages on the old site to new pages on the new subdomain. They also stripped out ineffective pages from the website.
Wheelhouse DMG assisted in pre-migration support by:
- Reviewing and providing guidance to the redirect map
- Checking the created XML sitemap and robots.txt file format
- Reviewing content placement and internal link updates
- Developing a reporting scorecard to monitor performance pre- and post-migration
- Offering general consulting on migration and redirect best practices for the team
At the end of January 2019, the new subdomain went live. Unfortunately, redirects from the old domain were not published at that time, due to limiting factors between the company, their parent company, and another subsidiary of the parent company who managed the hosting of all the medical insurance company’s domains.
The new website did begin to receive a small amount of traffic, but because it wasn’t publicly promoted, nor were redirects in place, most pages weren’t indexed by Google search, which meant the site did not experience any issues with duplicate content and duplicate domains in the search engines.
By March 2019, redirects from the old site to the new one were published. Immediately upon publication, Google Analytics began reporting traffic to the new site, showing that tagging and analytics support was executed well. At the same time, Wheelhouse DMG submitted the new subdomain’s XML sitemap to Google Search Console for full indexation, crawled the site to identify any internal crawl errors, and reviewed the redirects to ensure they were executed correctly.
Wheelhouse Migration Dashboard Reporting
Additionally, Wheelhouse identified the inclusion of an additional redirect hop in the redirect path from the old domain to the new subdomain. It remains to be seen if this will cause long-term SEO challenges. From an organic search perspective, page indexation and traffic can take a little longer, as Google (and other search engines) recognize the new site and update their indexes to reflect the change in domain.
One Month Post-Migration – What Did We Achieve?
Within a week of the migration, Google had indexed dozens more pages from the new domain and had updated its index to report that the new homepage was ranking in position #2 for their branded title phrase.
Within one month, the client’s new domain was reporting a 23% increase in organic search sessions compared to the month before migration, and a 36% increase in YoY organic search sessions compared to the same timeframe last year.
As more time passes after the migration, and the Google search index is updated to include only the new domain in its search results, the new health insurance company subdomain will earn better organic search rankings, which will result in more organic search traffic coming to the site.