Knowledge Base Migration: Preparing your content for a move

Are you looking ahead to the new year and your plans for a new knowledge base to house your content? Have you also thought about how to move your content into the new knowledge base?

Whether moving furniture from one house to another or content from one knowledge base to another, moves are easier when a clear plan is established. Let’s discuss how you can get started planning your content migration.

Step 1: Decide what will be the scope of your migration.

Depending on your industry, you may need to bring all of your content over to the new knowledge base, due to regulatory requirements, or you may be able to leave some behind. If the scope of the migration is large, especially if you’re bringing everything, it’s a best practice to rank each area of content, with the highest priority items moving to the new knowledge base first.Moving content into new knowledge base

If you’re only moving some of your content, you need to do an analysis on your legacy content to establish which content moves and which content can be archived elsewhere. We suggest you use the 80-20 rule: roughly 20% of your content is used most often by your end users. This is the content that you’ll move. For the other 80%, you can always come back later and identify additional content to migrate.

Step 2: Decide whether to clean up your content now or later.

No doubt some of your content is older that the rest. Maybe some content doesn’t follow your newest guidelines. Maybe content is out of date and needs updated. While you may be tempted chuck all of the content for migration into the new tool and clean it up later, a better practice is to clean up the content as you migrate it.

If you decide to clean the content as it’s migrated, here are additional things to consider:

Taxonomy: How will you structure content in the new tool? Use the same old structure, or establish a new structure? The latter may be helpful for buy-in for the new tool if your content managers or customer service agents have suggested changes to the taxonomy to resolve issues they’ve encountered.

Look and feel: How will your content look in the new tool? If the old style guidelines worked well, you may decide to replicate those styles in the new tool, but if there are tweaks you’ve been waiting for the right time make them, now is the time to implement changes.

Accuracy and consistency: Finally, it’s a good idea to establish parameters for tidying up any inconsistencies in knowledge presentation and accuracy, as well as flagging out of date content.

Step 3: Plan for a pilot program

Once you’ve planned how the content will be migrated, the last step is to consider parameters for a pilot program. You should identify the stakeholders in the migration, a block of content to be migrated as a test, the individuals who’ll do the work, and anyone who will need to review the migrated content. The migration team should include at least one subject matter expert on the content, especially if the migration team consists of outside contractors without prior knowledge of your content. The team of reviewers should also include at least one SME, as well as any applicable stakeholders.

Step 4:  Pitch your plan to others and gain sign-off for your plan

Behind every customer experience transformation initiative, there are business challenges that are on the minds of executive leaders. Make it a priority to gather specifics on budget allocations for this initiative. It is absolutely critical that you understand expectations around budgeting before moving forward. When you make your pitch, establish specific goals/objectives to measure impact. Put numbers to the business impacts that are measured.

Once you’ve established your migration plan and gained sign-off on your initiative, you’re set to build out your teams and plan the execution phase.


Implementing KCS is like eating an elephant. Small bites are much easier to digest!

Getting started with a KCS implementation doesn’t have to feel like you are getting ready to eat an elephant.  To help get you off on the right foot, here are some helpful hints to review as you start on this incredible journey.

The 8 practices of KCS

The 8 practices of KCS.

Hint #1: Identify KCS impacts

Take a moment to sit back and reflect on why your business needs KCS and why it needs it right now. KCS implementers gain tremendous confidence when they truly understand how KCS practices impact the critical business operations. You might find it helpful to:

– Review your operational measures to see precisely where there are opportunities and help others connect the KCS implementation to these improvements.

– Survey the target audience to baseline their experiences with knowledge today so you can see impacts of the KCS implementation for them.

Hint #2: Focus on the priorities

Carefully reflect on the KCS practices and let them lead you and your team to a personalized implementation roadmap for KCS. Keeping in mind that KCS is a journey, select the highest priorities to focus on first. These initial focus areas will appear within the short-term component of the roadmap.

– The short-term component of your roadmap will be very detailed and help your team visualize the deliverables with precision. It will also have a very specific timeline illustrating when key deliverables are expected.

– Keep the initial phases of the implementation small and short. It is probable that your initial drafts of the roadmap will be too aggressive. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant. Instead, sanity-check the deliverables and timelines in your roadmap to confirm with certainty that you will be able to deliver on it. Don’t hesitate to scale back initial deliverables to avoid being too aggressive and missing deadlines.

– Engage the help of a small group of supportive stakeholders and team members when crafting the roadmap. Allow enough time to get input from them before communicating it outside the planning team. Rushing through the roadmap preparations means you risk missing opportunities or communicating aggressive timelines that cannot be met.

– Fail fast! As soon as possible, identify a couple representative teams willing to test (pilot) your KCS implementation. Specifically, they should help you test the communication messages, training sessions and KCS processes before rolling it out to a larger audience. Take some time to identify these special team(s) looking for those who can cope with ambiguity the best and are representative of your target audience.

Hint #3: Personalize your communication plan

It has been said a thousand different ways; don’t underestimate the importance of communication to a successful KSC implementation.

– Take extra care to develop comprehensive communication and training plans personalized to your organization.

– One size does not fit all when talking about communication messages. As often as necessary, develop personalized stories for each of your target audiences.

– Look forward to serving as the full-time (or more) communication lead during the KCS implementation. This function needs someone dedicated to it and the implementation lead is the one everyone will look to for this. The more preparation you do in advance, the more smoothly it will go.

– Expect bumps in the road. Be vigilant and proactively address issues as they emerge to avoid impacts to the project plan. Use the eyes and ears of your team to help you identify concerns very early so you can communicate proactively.

These three bites of the KCS implementation elephant will help get you off to the right start.  Begin with the knowledge of why KCS is right for your organization. Then build a comprehensive roadmap that allows for future requirements but is something you can complete on time. Finally, prepare to communicate with personalized messages to all your stakeholders. It will be an amazing journey and we wish you the best of luck!!

The most valuable part of a map is being on it. Why Knowledge Base SEO matters.

You’ve got your customer support site squared-away, customers can reasonably find what they’re looking for. You’re fine-tuning the search, and leveraging keywords, synonyms, and white/black lists to help your results. That’s helping, but you’re still not seeing the “adoption” you’re looking for.

But “adoption” implies they’re coming back. We typically measure this by looking at the number of unique visitors or visits to the support homepage. But what if customers are finding your support pages and getting to them directly?

Stop control freaking

There is a real reason that companies aren’t or won’t open their support sites to indexing by search crawlers, control. Once you allow customers to access information directly, you lose sight of the internal paths they’ve taken to get to the information. You lose sight of who they are, and what products they may own. Opportunities for up sell or cross sell are sometimes lost. It may interfere with the way “call deflections” are calculated and the overall success of the site is judged.

Customers won't find what search can't seeBut do you as a customer yourself care about those things? No, you just want to find your answer and move on with your life.

The measure of a support site’s success shouldn’t be how many “calls” it has “deflected” but how many “answers” it has “served”.

Put ’em where they’ll look

Consider that your customer’s first stop isn’t your support homepage. And it shouldn’t be. Their first stop should be the page that answers their question.

Think about it, when you have a problem with a product or service, you don’t necessarily go to the company’s Web site and locate the “Help, Support, or Knowledge Base,” click them and enter into the world of intuitive information delivery. You search the Web!

There is a reason Google is the most popular Web site with 1.1 Billion unique visitors each month. With Yahoo! and Bing in the top 10… When people have a question, they go there first.

So, shouldn’t your answers be the first they find?

If I’ve got a problem with the Xfinity X1 product, where the remote isn’t controlling the menu, my first stop isn’t the Xfinity customer support portal…It’s Google.

My search “Xfinity X1 remote is causing search menu to come up” offers me a broader range of results from all around the Web than a narrow support search would. Forums, blogs, news, articles, announcements, etc…

The bottom line is that I can leverage the collective wisdom of the Web in far less time than I could in accessing your support site and navigating to, or searching for the same issue.

Strut your stuff

So why not fold your answers into the mix, build your support articles to work optimally within and outside of your support site!

There are practices that, if leveraged consistently, will improve your customer’s experience within your own support site as well as make your answers easier to find online.

Here are a few ways to help search engines like Google to understand the content of your articles and improve your customer’s ability to find them online.

  • Page Titles: Make sure they accurately describe the content of the page. They should unique, brief, and descriptive. Also, they should appear in the “Title” tag of the HTML of the page.
  • Summary or Description: The article should contain a unique and accurate description within the first two sentences on the page.
  • Images: Should not be used in place of text, but should be used to supplement or clarify text. They should also include Alt text that describes the image content.
  • Writing Style: The article should not contain any spelling or grammar errors and should be free of technical jargon and terms that are not familiar to your customer.
  • Common or “Preferred” Terms: Ensure that words that you use often are used consistently throughout your page copy and across all articles on your site.
  • Hyperlinks: Links within the page should include text that accurately describes the content of the page that is being linked to in concise terms.
  • Heading Tags: Use heading tags (H1, H2, H3) consistently and sparingly. This will help convey relative importance to the terms within.
  • “Chunking”: Ensure the article is centered around a single topic.
  • Uniqueness: Ensure the article content is unique and does not contain information that is duplicated in other articles.

Lastly, ensure that your site includes a Site Map that is made available to external search engines to index. Also make sure your site provides simple URL stings that do not change very often. Both of these will likely require some assistance by your IT team and/or your Knowledge Base vendor to achieve.

Watch ’em grow

Try doing some searches for your key support articles in the various search engines and record your results. See if they appear at all, if they do, great! Use the practices above to improve their relevancy. If they don’t appear, work with your IT team and vendor to ensure the site map is published to the search engines and that the URL strings are kept simple. Give it a few weeks and try your searches again and record the results.

Once your articles are available, track the page hits or views before and after. See what kind of lift you get. Also, if your pages have a “did this resolve your issue” question at the bottom, compare the results before and after your changes.

Remember, the whole point of putting support information online is to help your customers to help themselves. So let’s make sure we’re paying attention to how, where, and when they want to get help.