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Cases 15 min read February 2, 2022

The Great Project Migration: how we transferred 220 user's projects to Serpstat in a week

The Great Project Migration: how we transferred 220 user's projects to Serpstat in a week
The Great Project Migration: how we transferred 220 user's projects to Serpstat in a week

Product/Project Manager at Serpstat
Do you want to switch to another rank tracking service, but the number of projects makes you dread to think of the scope of work it's going to take? Well, that stands to reason, but we've traveled that path already and know exactly what to do!

In this use case, we're going to tell the story of how we've managed to transfer 220 user's projects from a competitor's service to Serpstat's Rank Tracker (and made everyone involved happy with the results :)).

The Hunt for the perfect Rank Tracking Service

We were approached by the customer who was no longer satisfied with his rank tracking service of choice. He contemplated moving his 220 projects and the five-person team to another service and exploring his options for a while.

First, he wanted to test things out and asked us to transfer a few projects to see how they would turn out. He expected us to set up the projects and transfer historical data about keyword positions. Not only did we manage to do that, but we also added a few competitor domains on which the customer wanted to collect statistics.

On top of that, the export file contained tags (markers for keyword groups that allow you to organize phrases by meaning and purpose and filter them) and actual links from the search results since we were also able to transfer them.
Tags for keywords
As a result, the user obtained his entirely set-up projects, with all positions and actual links from search results and an organized data collection process.

After careful consideration and a thorough comparison with other services, the customer made up his mind and chose our Rank Tracker tool. He requested to transfer all projects, with a hard deadline of one week, because his subscription to the competitor service was running out, and he didn't plan to renew it.

Since the customer selected our Enterprise plan and had no time to spare to transfer his projects, we decided to help him, so we took over all the work.

About the project: Unconventional Task Conditions of Moving to Serpstat

The client's team was leading 220 (!) projects. Each project included several regions, mostly UK cities.
Rank tracking was scheduled to 1-2 times a month, so each project was subject to collecting data for October and September.
Besides the positions, the customer also wanted to transfer the actual links from the search results.
The projects included large domains with good rankings, so there were several links on different positions in the search results for one request.
It was crucial to add competitor domains to the projects for tracking since Serpstat has no limitations on adding such domains to the Rank Tracking tool.
As a result of us getting the data for a keyword from the entire top 100 on Google, users can obtain positions and other data for the same set of keywords without spending additional credits.

In this case, the customer was able to save credits by three to four times since each project had three to four domains of tracked competitors.

Rapid Fire or How to fit months worth of work into one week

My team and I created a dedicated work chat to resolve any transferring issues quickly.
I got a support manager involved, who helped us export 400+ files, and an account manager who settled with the customer to increase the account's project limit up to 250.

We designated each file for the project's positions in a separate region since the competitor service doesn't have the option to view and export data for several regions at once. We've had it for a long time, and it makes things easier for many customers.

In the meantime, having learned the exported data format, I set the task for the developer to prepare a script for creating documents with data in our database. And I took over the task of creating projects on Serpstat and their further setup.
In the competitor's platform, I encountered the following set of difficulties that slowed down the process:

  • The list of projects only displayed a maximum of 100 projects; I had to look for the rest through the search bar.

  • The project name and domain couldn't be copied from the interface.

  • Tracked competitor domains couldn't be copied either (which eventually turned the creation and setup of projects into a living hell).

  • There was no way to access all regions at once.
List of projects
At that point, I had no idea that the list of hardships would triple by the end of this transferring challenge, but more on that later. I warned everyone I was loaded with an important task, and focused on the process all the way through.
The algorithm was quite simple, even though it included plenty of steps:

  • Type the domain into the search bar.

  • Copy.

  • Create a project and insert a domain; the project name will automatically match it.
  • Plus, I created a separate group for the customer to separate personal and client projects.
    Create a project in Serpstat Rank Tracker tool
    • After creating a project, we automatically get to the Rank Tracker settings.

    • Select the tracking type – "whole site".

    • Add competitor domains for which we want to receive additional data.

    • Set the time zone according to the customer's UTC (by default, the time zone is based on the creator's account settings)

    • Turn off the automatic positions tracking since the client is yet to decide what schedule would work best for each project.
    Serpstat Rank Tracker tool settings
    • Go to the Search regions tab and add them to the project by selecting the search engine, SERP and device type, country, region, city, and language.
    Serpstat Rank Tracker tool search region settings
    • In the last Keywords tab, import keywords directly from the file into the project.
    Serpstat Rank Tracker tool keyword settings
    • Start over with the algorithm.
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    Layout Table: File-Project-Region

    When the developer finished the script, we had to figure out how to determine what file belonged to which project and region. Keep in mind that each region could only be exported separately.

    We agreed to quickly sketch out a table that clarifies what file is supposed to be transferred to which project and region.
    Layout table with the file name, project ID and search region

    Sticking Points or Why everything goes smoothly only in the razors ads

    I had to go into each project by hand and google the domain to copy it. Mind you, the domains are far from simple (just look at these names :))

    Besides, I needed to make sure there were no spelling mistakes or typos.
    Complicated domain names list

    Mistakes Before the Transfer

    Domain not responding;
    Mirrors (When the project was created on one domain, but the website has already moved to another one, with a redirect in place; it means that we needed to create a project for a new domain or add it to the old one as a mirror. There is such an option in Serpstat's Rank Tracker);
    Wrong regions (Perhaps, the customer wanted to add the UK as a country but chose the US by mistake. Since an entirely different country was being tracked, ten projects were left without any data about positions);
    Project duplicates (several projects turned out to be identical, and some projects had the same set of keywords but different monitored domains. Therefore, the user ended up wasting credits. Since we track positions in search results for all domains at once, there's an option to put together a joint set of keywords and add as many domains for rank tracking as needed; and later down the line, when analyzing positions or links, switch to the domain of interest in the report).

    Issues During the Transfer

    The project transferring process itself didn't go without a hitch, either.

    Here are the tasks we had to complete:

    • Mark out file matching (I took it upon myself)

    • In the export file, there were positions with a + and without it, both meaning a positive dynamic (there were documents in which the position data wasn't in the same format, which made us run the files through the script one by one, to make sure the transferred data was correct, and only then take 10 pieces at a time)
    Export file with wrong formatting
    • The competitive platform did not have the option of displaying positions in a way Serpstat's Position History does, which we were used to, as in a clear date - position, date - position bond.
    Serpstat Rank Tracker tool: Positions History, overview
    Instead, only the data on the end position and its change over the last tracking period was available.

    So, we had to calculate the initial position for each keyword ourselves, and even though the script helped us simplify this task to as much as possible, it took a while to write it.
    Table with keywords, links and posisions

    Results. Valuable insights. Plans for the future

    Eventually, we completed the task on time, and the customer confirmed all transferred data to be correct.

    As a result, we have:

    created and set up 220 projects;
    exported and processed 420 files;
    imported positions from 383 files;
    600+ of tracked domains.
    When all the work was done, we transferred projects from my account to the customer's and, at his request, turned on an automatic schedule for positions tracking on the 15th day of each month.

    Valuable insights:

    Check all the features by working on more than 10 projects (what works perfectly with one project, when there are plenty of them, might quickly become a hassle and make you wish for some automatization)
    The domain, URL, or keyword should be allowed to get copied from the interface (this took the most time since I had to type the text manually into the search bar)
    It is necessary to audit the domain for availability and validity (it allows for timely detection of a reason why positions in search results disappeared).
    Add a mirror to the project if the website has moved (not to have to create new projects for new domains, that way, historical data will be saved, and you will not have to spend time on data transfer).


    To make a transferring process from any other service faster, smoother, and more stable in the future, we have set the following goals and tasks:
    Work with multiple projects: deleting, enabling and disabling automatic positions tracking, changing the tracking schedule.
    Transfer of projects between accounts: to make teamwork more convenient on Standard plans and higher.
    Creating and setting up projects in the Rank Tracker API (currently, there are methods for obtaining data from finished projects available. But the API could help get rid of a lot of repetitive manual work and spare the time that's usually spent on waiting for the interface to load and unnecessary switching between tabs)


    We're already at the point where we can promptly transfer all historical data when clients move to the Serpstat platform. While doing so, we deliver upon customers' main expectation: ensure a smooth transition without visible changes for the end client (which is especially relevant for agencies or anyone working in digital marketing).

    So there's no need to worry. The reports on positions dynamic will be ready right on time :)
    On top of that, we will also select competitors by target keywords and track their positions for you. All of that is included in the basic functionality of any Serpstat plan.
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