KPMG drops .com and moves to home.kpmg (part 2 of 2)
By Tony Kirsch – Head of Professional Services, GoDaddy Registry
This is the second and final excerpt from of our exclusive interview with KPMG as they discuss their successful move from kpmg.com to home.kpmg as their global web presence.
A full copy of the interview is available in our April .brands Industry Report.
In this piece, we explore what work was undertaken by KPMG to ensure the success of such a high profile global transformation project with KPMG’s Senior Digital Transformation Manager, Domenic Torani who speaks with Tony Kirsch.
Tony Kirsch: Do you have an idea of the number of pages or the amount of content that you needed to move the content from kpmg.com to home.kpmg?
Domenic Torani: I can’t speak to specific numbers per se, but as I touched upon earlier, our CMS houses well over a million pages. A million pages of content, different landing pages, home pages. Again, it’s across 150 member firms and it’s their whole respective digital assets that sit on that one single domain under numerous folders.
The first step for us was a full audit of our web content because if you’re an organization the size of KPMG, you’ll uncover stuff that you never even knew and you’ll start saying “this is interesting, we didn’t know we had that’. This is a lot of work, but it’s actually given us the ability to have a clean look at what we have and its role in our future – it really allowed us to align our content and redirect approach.
So, as big as SEO was for us, I would say the second largest proponent that we had to ensure that was in place was redirect logic. This is huge, that was another part that was either gonna make or break your SEO or even your platform working the next day.
But we actually walked away from this saying we did two things in preparing for the migration really well – specifically SEO and managing the redirects.
Tony Kirsch: What can you share with us about ‘Migration Day’? What was your approach and how did it work from a technical and stakeholder feedback perspective?
Domenic Torani: There’s never a good time to do something like this. So when picking a date, you obviously do your best to pick a point in time where it have the least impact. I think different firms would see this differently depending on the locations, access to resources during holiday period, timezone requirements etc.
In our case, we had decided to upgrade our CMS to the most recent version at the same time and this lined up for us to actually fall along exactly at December 29th just going into New Year’s. From there we developed a full cut over checklist, making sure that we had the proper groups contribute and had all these proper groups on standby and available on the phone, email thread etc. available on a central hotline we created to handle any queries. I’d say we had 20 to 30 people available at any one point, ranging from our internal groups to our external vendor that controlled the most important aspects of our technology – for example, our Content Delivery Network and other different technologies.
Tony Kirsch: So, if you cast your mind back to that three-week period that you mention you know you’re holding your breath, what’s happening to the SEO? Can you sort of tell us a little more about what you’re seeing in those reports what the general trend is?
Domenic Torani: Well, with something like this you’re really holding your breath for the next several weeks after migration, despite the months of planning.
In the days following the switch, the SEO doesn’t disappear, it’s all still there. At the end of the day, the browsers are smart acknowledge what’s going on and there are some changes for sure, bu we were focused on watching our overall SEO ranking – in particular, monitoring the SEO strength of the kpmg.com domain which we knew very well, against the home.kpmg domain.
What we saw was not a fall, but rather a slow decrease naturally in one, and increase in the other. To clarify, I don’t mean it’s a 1:1 rise and fall. In our move to home.kpmg we had in many cases removed some of the historical SEO ‘best practices as we knew they were no longer relevant in today’s algorithms so the engines were analyzing the sites differently.
In the past, in terms of how SEO logic worked, you built up your SERP and your equity based on older rules. If it’s working, the browsers and the algorithms from Google or Bing are smart enough to not mess with that but this migration gave us the opportunity to apply all the latest logic.
I would say it took several months and monitoring to see the domain equity move from your old domain completely over to the new one. We can see the trend is now is going up and we keep following that week on week out. All the SEO redirects are working and the rankings just keep improving and it’s actually much better overall than what it was before.
Tony Kirsch: A year down the road, what’s the general feeling about the move? What’s what sort of feedback you received from a project perspective?
Domenic Torani: So, to speak as someone being very close to the project, we have not gotten any negative feedback internally which is a great thing. At the same time, we have receieved a little bit of insight from our member firms in terms of what’s good and they can see we’re trying to be maybe forward-thinking technologically.
What I can tell you is that the folks that see our website are seeing it and noticing it. In our blogs and our promotions we’re using .kpmg wherever possible and when our members are promoting their activities, they are promoting the new Top Level domain also which is only increasing the awareness of .kpmg on global basis day by day.
And the majority of our member firms are excited about it because they’re obviously understanding what the end goal is and what this could potentially mean for them.
The naysayers and the haters that are out there obviously all have their own different perspectives and their view that awareness of .kpmg will have to grow over time may be accurate.
But there’s more to it in our view. We see this part of our commitment to innovation and evolving into new technologies and best practices and there’s a lot of other added benefits that we can see this adding over time. Granted, we’re only using a fraction of this potential right now and we’re already happy with the outcomes it’s generated for our business which is great.
What we can still do with .kpmg is so much more, so much bigger as .kpmg evolves. I can’t say that there’s been discussion of moving back. Everyone’s happy with, it’s become second nature for us to say home.kpmg and use .kpmg in our vocabulary.