A checklist for relaunching your website – Use these steps to reduce your re-launch risk:
Before the re-launch
- Benchmark your current site stats
Compile a record of how your site is currently performing so you can compare (create a simple excel spreadsheet in the week prior to launch):
- Traffic – Google Analytics (Free).
- Sales or inquiries – Google Analytics (Free).
- DA (Domain Authority) – Moz toolbar (Free).
- Inbound links – Google Search Console (free) SEMrush, Seoprofiler, Advanced Link manager, Majesticseo (Paid).
- Indexed pages -Google Search Console (free).
- IF you have a number of high value pages then we would also record the domain authority and inbound links for those pages as well so when we relaunch we do not lose the page values.
- Check all versions of the domain are directed appropriately
All your domain options should be redirected to your chosen page. This will result in site-wide duplicate content, you need to select the preferred URL and redirect (301) all content and links appropriately.
- Google Analytics tracking code
CRITICAL make sure your tracking code is in place and test all your goals and / or e-commerce and other settings.
- Redo the new website in Google Search Console (previously webmaster tools)
- To increase the speed of being indexed by Google and other major search engines, you should either register the website with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. This will mean you can find and track crawl errors and optimization issues quickly.
- Redo the sitemaps.
- Check and resolve the errors.
- Is your robots.txt file blocking access from search engines?
- For WordPress specifically make sure that indexing is “enabled”.
- Moving Domain names!
If you are changing your domain then ensure you change your url addresses in Google Webmaster tools, this requires logging into your old website Google Search Console account and change the address at site level under change of address. This tells Google to “redirect” old domain indexing to new.
- Inbound links and referrals
You may have a lot of good, high quality links pointing to your website. These provide link juice and you do not want to lose these. Identify the most important ones (use domain authority), and then try and get them to point to your new domain/pages – Either contact the webmaster or make absolutely sure that the old “dead” url is redirected to the new one.
- Update the title tags and meta descriptions
We identify, pre-launch which pages will take over the old page and then ensure that the tagging is the same or very very similar, to get a checklist run a Screaming Frog SEO Spider report on the old pre-launch and new post launch and check them off.
- Page/Site-wide redirects
Redirect pages from your old site to your new site ASAP (called 301’s) – update this in your htaccess (We use the same report identified in point 5).
- Check for broken links
Run a crawl on your website and fix any broken links that are reported – Xenu is a great tool for this.
- Test your site speed
We use GTmetrix, Google’s page speed insights tool and tools.pingdom.com – Review and implement their recommendations.
- Update local citations
Check that all your citations are using the right URL – specifically if you are changing domain name.
Perhaps revisit local listing directories and get exposed there – it will help your indexing.
Check for duplicate content, especially important if you are using an ecommerce engine and redirect with canonicals.
- Alt tags
We run Screaming Frog across the site to check that all the images are tagged – this is in both the themes and the WordPress upload directories.
- 2 weeks later
Return to Google Search Console and check for “Crawl Errors” they often do not materialize instantly.
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