This post outlines the final steps of our step-by-step content migration guide. We’re also offering the complete walkthrough as an illustrated guide that you can download right here.If you followed last week’s post covering steps 1 through 6, you are now acquainted with best practices for the following elements:
- Content body
- Semantic markup
The guidelines below concern the finishing touches for fully optimizing your migrated content.
7. Add Topics and Tags
If you run a focused business blog, your posts probably revolve around a handful of main topics. In your CMS, you most likely have the possibility to tag your posts with categories defined by yourself. For instance, on our Siteimprove blog, we tag our posts with topics such as Web Accessibility, Web Analytics, Website Redesign, and SEO.
If you have a lot of content, you could consider tagging your posts on more levels than topic, for instance by target industry or by format of the post (‘How to-guide’, ‘Checklist’, etc.) There is virtually no limit to the amount of categorization you can apply.
8. Add Author
This might seem self-explanatory, but it is important to consider who you want listed in the byline of your content. It has to do with positioning your blog or website as a voice of authority in your industry.
As a content editor, you are probably the one uploading the content – you might also have written it. But it might make sense to list someone else in your organization as the author; you might have a colleague who is a thought leader in your industry, or your company might by collaborating with a well-regarded consultant who you could include as a guest contributor.
9. Add Publishing Date
If you’re migrating a large archive of content, consider whether you want to keep the original publishing dates on the individual pieces of content. Perhaps what you’ve written relates to a specific past event or for some other reason needs to follow a specific chronology.
Alternatively, if you want your content to stand out as more current, in search results for example, you could refresh and update your content and tag it with a more recent date when publishing.
10. Optimize for Search Engines
This step is crucial. To increase the visibility of your content you should optimize it based on topics that your content is covering.
Pick a unique keyword for each individual piece of content that is both descriptive enough to be accurate and broad enough to be a likely search term. For the present blog post, for example, the keyword could be ‘content’ – however, this would be way too broad as there are millions of web pages covering this topic and therefore competing for the same attention. ‘Content migration’ would be a more focused keyword – or even better: ‘content migration guide’.
When you’ve settled on a keyword, make sure to include that exact word in your content’s:
- meta description
These three elements cover just the very basics of SEO. To go further, you can also include your keyword in the content’s subheaders, image alt texts, and a few places in your content body – wherever it’s natural to include in the text.
11. Choose if Featured
Some Content Management Systems let you highlight or ‘feature’ selected content on your front page by giving the preview a styling different from the default. Have your designer set this up, and then use this function to let your best content stand out and drive even more traffic!
12. Review and Publish
Now that you’ve come this far, there’s not much else to do but to preview your content one last time. Ideally, have another editor proofread and review it. Especially check the following:
- Are there any misspellings?
- Are there any violations of brand guidelines and your organization’s web policies?
- Is the semantic markup correct and consistent?
- Are the visuals and CTAs correctly aligned and accompanied with alt tags?
- Are the links working correctly?
When everything’s in order, hit publish! Or alternatively, schedule for later publishing if you want all your migrated content to go live at the same time.
13. Map Redirect
One last thing: When migrating content as part of a website redesign, it’s important that you set up redirects from the old content locations to the new ones. The blog post “How to Keep Your Search Rankings During a Website Redesign” will give you more info about this.Mapping redirects can be easily done in a spreadsheet: Have all of your old URLs in one column with the corresponding new links in another column. For example:
|Old URL||New URL|
When done, you can provide the web developers with the document containing all the redirects.
And that’s it! By setting up a systematized workflow, the content migration process will suddenly seem surmountable, and you will have some degree of quality assurance in place.
Keep these steps by your side during content migration by