How you can full an internet site shutdown with a cut up migration

Not too long ago, I’ve been requested by a significant world model to assist an internet site shutdown mission. The corporate wasn’t making sufficient to maintain itself and make a revenue. The identical world model additionally owns a number of different related firms within the area of interest.

Shutting down an internet site is straightforward, however when you need to try this together with redirects, what and the way do you do it?

One of many necessities was to make the shutdown clean and redirect half of the site visitors to 1 web site, and the opposite half to a different. The figuring out issue was the kind of product.

Why is it known as a ‘cut up migration’?

A website migration is an in depth, procedural course of that always entails altering the area and URLs, redesigning or replatforming. Whereas tedious even on a small web site, the problems that you would be able to run into will solely amplify with every extra web page of a web site. 

Now, think about a web site with 1000’s of pages or merchandise that you’ll want to embody within the migration. Add within the complexity of getting emigrate parts of a single web site between two different websites.

How do you deal with 1000’s of pages and merchandise when you need to transfer them to 2 totally different and current web sites?

Earlier than this level, I by no means did a cut up migration, however I had a normal thought of the place to begin and how one can start the method.

Sadly, migrations are greater than a easy redirect. Each migration comes with its difficulties, however this explicit one was slightly simpler as a result of it included solely URL redirects from the supply to the vacation spot web page(s).

Nonetheless, the method can be extra painstaking for a traditional migration or replatform that features:

  • Metadata
  • Content material
  • Headings
  • 404 errors
  • Current redirects
  • Pictures
  • And so on.

When it comes to high quality assurance (QA), a primary URL redirect is less complicated to check and confirm that every part is working correctly. Nonetheless, we nonetheless went by a number of phases to make the method go alongside easily, beginning with “discovery.”

Discovery part

I knew that my greatest problem was to determine the present pages on all three web sites. For privateness, mental property and different authorized causes let’s name them Supply, Destination1 and Destination2.

I began off with a Screaming Frog crawl that might go over the supply web site, figuring out all indexable pages. And for a better decision-making course of, I needed to pull Google Analytics and Google Search Console knowledge utilizing the APIs.

Be sure to save your configuration file in order that your outcomes match up if you do the ultimate test upon going reside.

However I used to be nonetheless lacking one other piece of knowledge. I didn’t have Semrush API entry so needed to pull the backlinks knowledge individually. Upon getting the record of URLs you’ll want to work with, make certain to tug backlink knowledge as nicely.

You’ll be able to change this to Ahrefs or one other supply you favor. The purpose right here is to know the way essential a URL is when it comes to backlinks.

Get the every day publication search entrepreneurs depend on.

Set-up part

Now that I collected all my URLs from the supply web site I needed to work with, I wanted just a few issues to make the method smoother:

  • Clear up the record to exclude URL parameters or different duplicates.
  • Determine the homeowners of the web page (to which web site ought to it go – Destination1 or Destination2).
  • What’s the precedence of the web page? (Does it have direct site visitors? Is it rating in Google? Does it have backlinks?) 
  • What’s the standing code of the web page? (Is it a 200 or a 301 or a 404?)

I put my ScreamingFrog knowledge and Semrush knowledge into separate sheets and created a Google Sheets file:

Initially, I shared the file with all concerned events and homeowners, this allowed them to pick the URLs that belong to the particular vacation spot. Do not forget that every URL might have its proprietor counterpart on every of these web sites.

For instance, a particular product existed on Supply and Vacation spot web site, so the ultimate redirect must be to the Vacation spot URL and the identical web page.

You might also select to cross parameters. So make certain the Vacation spot is correctly stuffed in.

In my process, I used to be working with 18,000 URLs, and after some filtering and eradicating people who weren’t essential I ended up with 11,000.


Typically, you’d have to check this on a short lived server. This will or might not have a setup of your precise Supply URLs, for instance, it might be as an alternative of

You’ll be able to simply exchange your supply URLs briefly, or use a reproduction of the file.

When testing, ensure you use the identical configuration you used throughout discovery.

Updating the ScreamingFrog export in SF-Inner ALL sheet will mechanically alter the info within the URLs sheet and present you those which have a failed vacation spot URL.

However what went mistaken?

Each migration is a studying expertise. If you happen to’ve ever carried out a migration, {that a} single mistake can result in 404 errors, photographs not loading or different points. Fortunately, the largest situation we had was with a worldwide server-side cache impacting the testing course of.

This migration QA was based mostly on two issues:

  • Focusing on.
  • Checking 301 redirects.

We spent extra time on the invention part than the migration itself.

One factor we take away from this explicit migration is that you actually need to study the ins and outs of a web site. It takes quite a lot of time to work with giant groups and study who the proprietor of every web page is and how one can handle them (pages or web page homeowners).

Nothing notably regarding impeded the migration, however we attribute this to the immense period of time spent within the discovery part. If we didn’t dedicate quite a lot of time to this part, it may have ended badly.

Discovery allowed us to be prepared if there have been points throughout migration in order that we may name in the appropriate folks and have the error fastened on the spot.

Utilizing the template helped us rather a lot. 


This split migration template can be up to date as new and related tasks come my means. Please make your individual copy slightly than requesting entry. Additionally, enhance or recommend enhancements as you’re employed on it. 


Our migration was a hit, it took us 5 minutes to go reside (together with clearing all world cache) and simply quarter-hour to run an inventory crawl to determine all of the redirects have been functioning correctly.

Defining “success” is one thing that each migration wants. In most migrations, there all the time appears to be one thing that goes mistaken. Even if you spend further time within the setup part, there’s all the time a small element that’s neglected.

This migration’s success was admittedly simpler than others carried out prior to now as a result of the one actual QA required was guaranteeing the redirects labored. Automation helped right here to confirm that each one redirects have been profitable.

Nonetheless, that’s solely a part of the story. We additionally waited for the next earlier than deeming the mission a win:

  • Supply web site pages began to slowly be de-indexed.
  • Vacation spot web page rankings started to extend.

We did run into an issue with a server-side cache that impacted the verification course of and wanted to be cleared just a few instances. International caches all the time appear to pose points throughout migrations, so that is positively one thing to think about when engaged on an everyday or cut up migration sooner or later.

Inside in the future we began seeing updates in Google’s search outcomes and lots of the vacation spot pages spiked due to focused redirects.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor creator and never essentially Search Engine Land. Workers authors are listed here.

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About The Creator

Ludwig Makhyan is a contributor for Search Engine Land, overlaying natural and technical web optimization. His background is in internet growth and digital advertising and marketing. Ludwig has over 20 years of expertise in web site design, coding and promotion. He’s the co-founder at MAZELESS, an enterprise web optimization company.

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