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Core: Secondary Domain Name


This document explains the process for changing the secondary domain name on a Core website.


Customer Care vs Pro Services

If core info was entered incorrectly by G5, or if there is some kind of legal/exceptional reason, Customer Care will handle this project. Otherwise, regardless of whether G5 will charge for the project (CPM may decide to waive the fee), the project needs to go through Pro Services for the following reasons:

  1. The project requires a Project Manager to coordinate resources across different teams, and to ensure accuracy and timeliness

  2. The project constitutes a major change to the configuration of a location's SEO strategy, PPC campaigns and website configuration


CPM Responsibilities

  1. Make sure request to change info is valid and understand the impact:

    1. SEO: The new domain will have to gain trust with search engines and most likely will negatively impact organic rankings

    2. PPC: changing the domain in the paid ads could temporarily impact their quality score

  2. Discuss the alternative of entering a domain forward to their current domain, as this is the least disruptive option

  3. Advise the client that if they have email associated with either of the domains, it will be up to them to manage the transition, as G5 does not provide email services

  4. If the client understands the negative impact of changing their domain but still wants to proceed, submit a Pro Services project (or Customer Care ticket if it is a G5 mistake) to complete the domain change


Client Responsibilities

  1. Secure the domain name and provide G5 access to Registrar/DNS records for both old and new domains or set up communications between G5 and tech person

  2. If they want their lead notification email addresses associated with their new domain, they need to provide the new e-mail addresses and corresponding locations.

  3. If they are changing their own email addresses, let Customer Care know and update their CC/SC logins

  4. If the client is using Rep Manager, client should update their Domain Name in their reviews sites: Yelp, Apartment Ratings, Caring.com, SeniorAdviser.com, Yahoo, Bing, and forward the revised URL's to the PM.


Project Manager Responsibilities

  1. Determine if the current domain is in the G5 GoDaddy domain account (see Domains tab). If so, submit ticket to IT (it.support@getg5.com) requesting the current domain auto-renew be turned off.

  2. Obtain the domain registrar credentials from the Client. Login to the registrar account and update the domain to point to G5's IP address:

    1. Note: propagation can take between 2-48 hours)

  3. Once the domain is pointing to G5’s IP, edit the secondary domain record in the Client Center Domains tab (Note: permissions to edit this field are restricted)

  4. Click the Rebuild Bundles link for the applicable client in the Client Center

    1. Note: this step is done to ensure the Template and the CSS is applied to the new domain (can take up to 10 minutes to fully execute)

  5. If the client is using Rep Manager, ensure the client updates their Domain Name in their reviews sites: Yelp, Apartment Ratings, Caring.com, SeniorAdviser.com, Yahoo, Bing (Tyler Herrick advised 3/1/13 that SEO updates domain name on the Google+ page, but not the other Reviews sources). Then, get the revised URL's for the reviews sites from the client.

  6. Submit Customer Care Ticket to update Rep Manager, SEO & Paid. CC the SEO & Paid Analysts. Enter Subject: Pro Services Secondary Domain Change for XXX (insert client name). For Rep Manager purposes, list the revised review site URL's in the ticket, and request Customer Care update the review site URL's in Rep Manager.

    1. Customer Care - Change the Domain Name in Rep Manager (if client is using Rep Manager)

      1. Access Rep Manager, select applicable client in the Organization drop-down at top right of screen, click applicable location within My Locations listing, click Edit in the Navigation sidebar at left, add/edit updated domain name in URL field, click Save Location Details button at bottom of screen. Then, update the review site URL's with the URL's provided by the PM.

    2. SEO Analyst - make any necessary changes (add domain to Google Webmaster Tools & update Domains tab with the new Verification ID, update Google Places, etc.)

    3. Paid Analyst - make any necessary changes

  7. Submit Pivotal Tracker story to Web Builders to setup Google Analytics tracking code for the new domain

  8. Submit ticket to Engineer requesting an nginx reboot.

    1. Note: per John Lucia, additional steps may be required:

      1. Deploy the site. This can take over 30 minutes for some template paths, so use Resque to monitor the progress.

      2. After the Deploy has finished, check the new domain. If things look good, you're probably done. If not, you'll need a Dev for the last step.

      3. Rebuild vhost_map and reload nginx

  9. Access domain registrar site and submit a domain forward from the OLD domain to the NEW domain (can take up to 12 hours)

  10. If the site uses the menu tree for navigation, the menu tree should be deleted and rebuilt. Though the redirects should handle this, it's a good practice to ensure the menu links are accurate.

  11. Edit all interior links that are not dynamically created and QA the site.


Engineering Responsibilities

  1. Reboot nginx before the IP address is pointed at the platform

    1. Note: the site will go down from the point where nginx reboots until the new DNS setting propagate (15 min. to 48 hrs)

  2. Map all of the old pages to the new pages with cross-domain redirects as well - just as if this were an old site (.map file entries)


Paid Responsibilities

  1. Commonly, a client will have a primary domain for their parent site with unique secondary domains for each location (secondary domains in no way reflect the primary domain). If a client requests to change secondary domains, the following process must be repeated for each location requesting a secondary domain change:

    1. Update all ads (or creatives) and keyword destination URLs pointing to the old secondary domain across all paid advertising channels (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Superpages, etc.). Only the campaigns with ads with the old secondary domain should be edited to reflect the new secondary domain. Any other campaign directing to another secondary domain or the primary domain should not be changed. The new secondary domain must be reflected in each ad's display URL (shortened URL used in the ad) and destination URL.

    2. In order for Yahoo Web Analytics to track and display details about our client's keywords and costs, a paid analyst must also tag each keyword with a unique tracking code. In order to set up the tags, a paid analyst will auto tag the new secondary URL. This process consists of adding and configuring which ad channels we are running campaigns for under the new secondary domain. Once this is done, a help desk ticket must be submitted to Yahoo Web Analytics Support to have YWA support turn on keyword level tagging for the new domain for Google and MSN. Once the paid analyst receives confirmation this has occurred, the paid analyst will then turn on ad group auto-setup to for every campaign listed.**

  2. As mentioned above, the process of adding a new secondary URL to a client's account necessitates a paid analyst to update all creatives to reflect this change. Performance metrics for creatives featuring your old secondary domain are no longer relevant, so all performance metrics for your creatives featuring your new secondary domain will drop to 0. Since your performance metrics are used to calculate your cost-per-click and determine your ad position, your paid ads may show in a lower position and cost more per click until more data can be accumulated for the "new" ads.

  3. Depending on the client's service offerings, the client's vertical, and the number of paid advertising channels the paid analyst is running ads on, this process can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes per each secondary domain that needs to be changed.


SEO Responsibilities

  1. Making sure to redirect is important to retain the links the original domain had. If it's a new domain, there may be a 'sandbox' period where Google will not display the site in search results, even for branded name searches.

  2. Changing a domain both results in us having to treat the affected locations as if they were completely new. This will require approximately 10 minutes per location. Changing a domain name will require us to update Google Places, Yelp, & Superpages by hand.

  3. The new data will be automatically pushed by our third party data partner, but those updates will take a fairly long time to 'take root' across the internet. Typically, a client can expect a dip in rankings for a few months as a result.

  4. SEO Analyst should also add the new domain to Google Webmaster Tools and enter the new verification ID to the Client Center domains tab