Complex migration seamlessly combines 102 country sites for security powerhouse

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The world’s leading integrated security company, G4S, employs more than 540,000 people globally, making it one of the worlds largest private employers

Customers in over 90 countries depend on G4S to provide them with a safe and secure way to deliver their services.

The challenge

G4S approached us to support a colossal project; the migration of 102 country sites onto a centralised domain. The project also involved an array of platform level improvements as well as moving to https. With a huge amount of organic traffic at stake and a number of international stakeholders involved, we knew this would need careful planning to deliver a smooth and stress-free transition.

The solution

SEO input during a site migration is often viewed as a preventative measure, but it can also present a fantastic opportunity for growth and this was certainly our focus here.

We got started with a technical scoping project, fully planning out the optimal site structure for the 121 markets and languages involved, including detailed recommendations for the ideal hreflang setup. This project also provided the G4S development team with a prioritised list of additional recommendations for SEO and user experience improvements, particularly across site speed and schema.

Crawling all of the international sites and backlink profile data, we provided mapping across 51,000 URLs to their location on the new domain, taking the opportunity to modify historic redirects and tidy up URLs with unsafe characters along the way. Incorporating over one hundred sites into one place opened up a lot of potential duplicate content issues so we also undertook a consolidation project to define which pages across the portfolio should be kept, combined or deleted.

Bringing together so many individual properties also required a careful approach to tracking and analytics in order to create a centralised structure capable of powering the reports required across such a vast organisation.

Builtvisible rebuilt the G4S analytics setup from the ground up, moving from 86 Google Analytics (GA) properties and 62 GA accounts to a single unified analytics framework with a consistent and scalable structure. We migrated G4S from multiple legacy syntaxes and inconsistent tracking approaches over to a modern Tag Manager-based implementation; this relieved pressure on the development team by enabling the deprecation of all existing on-page tracking in favour of a single GTM snippet.

The new future-proof data layer structure will underpin all future tracking requirements, developing with G4S as the organisation’s data requirements evolve.

Working closely with G4S’s development agency through a centralised change request log, we were able to guarantee the correct implementation of all of our recommendations ahead of the migration. Following thorough testing of the new site in its staging environment we could then provide the green light from a digital marketing perspective that the new centralised site was safe to go live.

During the launch our team were on hand to troubleshoot any last-minute issues and make search engines aware of the changes that had taken place.

The results

Within the UK, the improved setup has already resulted in a 105% average monthly increase in organic traffic, since the migration took place in February. Traffic in Belgium is up 49%, Netherlands has grown by 35% and the US has seen a 23% increase too.

Our impact didn’t stop there; our improvements drove a 101% increase in the number of ranking organic keywords in the US and 65% in UK, opening up a world of new organic opportunities for the brand. Last but certainly not least, the recommended site speed improvements created a fantastic 359% improvement on desktop devices to the benefit of users across all markets.

This migration was a huge project for G4S with so many moving parts and a lot at risk. Builtvisible put me at ease with their methodical approach and I knew the project was in safe hands from start to finish.

They built a great relationship with our development agency and really focused on driving as much improvement as they could at every point of the project. Our analytics system has been overhauled, bringing together our global network and offering insight we’d never had access to before. We’re delighted with the outcomes of this work and couldn’t recommend a better partner for this sort of project.

~Charlotte Borthwick, Digital Communications Manager, G4S

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