There are several phases involved in launching a new website. Messaging, persona research and design are just a few steps in the process. Trust me, there are many many more steps to check off during a website redesign. This article dives into an area that can be overlooked that impacts post launch results, search engine optimization. How do you launch a new website without losing your established search engines rankings?
You’ve worked hard to earn authority in Google’s eyes. I’d hate for you to lose it!
Keep this blog in mind when you’re planning your new website. Bookmark it if you have to. It’s much easier to tackle your new site’s SEO as it’s being worked on than doing it retroactively.
New Website SEO To-Do List
Seeing changes in Google search results takes time. Be patient while you’re going through this process.
Audit Your Current Website
“You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.”
Launching a new site is a great opportunity to take a close look at your existing website pages. You need to study your current site’s structure and content. Take note of URLs and meta descriptions. You need to be familiar with how every page is built. You also need to maintain the structure of the pages that are performing well.
This process will also uncover the pages that are not performing and give you a chance to improve SEO on your new website.
Skipping ahead a bit… You should do a similar audit on your test site to check links, H1 and H2 coding and keywords.
Compare the test site with the current site to confirm nothing was missed.
Don’t Index Your Test Site
“No man can serve two masters.”
In this context, the man is Google and the masters are your website pages. Indexing your test or staged site means Google will crawl your test site and it will register as duplicate content. Google punishes web pages with duplicate content. Your hard work will get no SEO value.
This is an easy mistake to make. Fortunately, it’s even easier to prevent. Your content management system (CMS) should have a box to check to make sure Google doesn’t index that page. Don't overlook this step.
You can submit your sitemap to Google if you’d like to expedite the indexing process.
“Out with the old, in with the new.”
Ideally, your new website pages should have the same URL as your old website pages. This maintains that page’s authority with Google and keeps any links to the page alive. Don’t be surprised if your new pages aren’t ranking right away. Make sure you’ve set titles, meta descriptions and used keywords in your new URLs. Also, you need to link to that new page internally from other parts of your site (the more relevant links, the better).
You might encounter instances where pages aren’t worth migrating to the new site. These pages might have exceptionally low traffic or obsolete content. Keep track of those pages. You’ll have to redirect them to relevant site pages. Always consider the user experience!
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
I want to leave you with a quote from Leonardo da Vinci. It’s how all businesses should approach their website. Your website is never done. It consistently needs to be optimized and analyzed. You need to be in tune with or ahead of buyer behavior.
Search engine optimization is just a fraction of what needs to be done in order to have a competitive website. Getting organic traffic is incredibly important, but so is capturing leads and delivering helpful content.
A website can be your company’s best sales tool. Treat it as such and you’ll be thrilled with the results.