So you’re ready to launch a new website. The design has been approved, the coding is done and the content has been loaded. But oftentimes when designing a new website, there are some important SEO details that get lost in the wind. Page titles are altered, meta descriptions are dropped, old-site links aren’t properly redirected to new-site pages, and the list goes on. Before you ask your web design studio to take the site live, make sure you take these important measures so you don’t lose any of your SEO when you launch your new website.
Let The Web Studio Know About Your SEO Goals
Believe it or not, there is no universal standard for launching a website (though we do think there should be!). When outlining the scope of work for your new website, make sure the studio knows your goals with SEO and desire to not see any dips with the website launch. Make sure the staging site they are working on is blocked from search engines so that it is not indexed. The last thing you need is your new work-in-progress website to show up in a search inquiry, and for it to be competing with your existing website.
Redirects Are Your New Best Friend
301 redirects are the most important thing you can do. You need to crawl the old website (we recommend the software Screaming Frog for this). Make sure each and every page of the old site is redirected to a relevant page on the new site. Your new site also needs at least the same amount and quality of copy as the old site. Even better, you can use this as a time to improve upon the quantity and quality of the copy.
Links and Backlinks
Check all links within any copy that was migrated to the new site to make sure they are correct and NOT linking back to an old site URL. Crawl the site for backlinks and reach out to referral sources to make updates (We recommend SEM Rush for this). If ilovedogs.com/images/super-funny-dog-pics is now ilovedogs.com/funny-dog-pictures make sure you that people linking to your old site are notified that the URL has changed. This seems like a minuscule task, but ultimately no one wants a broken link on their website and you don’t want to lose the link. Giving them the heads up affords them the opportunity to update.
And speaking of links, you should also check all links within any copy that was migrated to the new site to make sure they are correct and NOT linking back to an old site URL.
SSL Certificate and Domain Registration
Make sure canonicals are in place. For example, https://www.ilovedogs.com and https://ilovedogs.com need to be referenced by search engines as one page. Not two. Make sure the new site has an SSL certificate and is server on https, not http (no one wants to see a security warning blocking users from seeing their brand new website). Last but not least, register the domain change with Google Search Console.
We take pride in making sure our clients don’t lose any SEO rankings when we launch their new website. Talk to us to learn more about our process and how we get results. If you liked this article, you might also like What to Consider Before Creating a New Website, and How to Design Your Website for Accessibility.
Photo Credit: Domenico Loia