Every few years, a website needs a general overhaul, either because the design is no longer up to date, the goals have changed, or you want to go a new way. So that the website relaunch does not end, as so often, is an absolute catastrophe, with a total loss of visibility, here are my instructions for a successful relaunch from an SEO point of view.
A website relaunch checklist is mandatory if you want to succeed!
A website relaunch is always a significant risk from the perspective of search engine optimization. Many things can go wrong, and you pay for it in the form of lower visitor numbers and therefore, lower sales over the internet.
You’re probably thinking, “But that’s what my web designer’s thinking.” My experience: No, he most likely does not, because he is not familiar with SEO (even if he likes to claim it).
Some of these points may seem strange, but out there in practice, and there is nothing that does not exist. And nothing is taken for granted!
The SEO project plan for the website relaunch Checklist
I am not crashing completely on Google in 9 steps.
If you look at most website relaunches, they are rarely really crowned with success. There is a reason for this because the story is not that simple.
Would you move without a mail forwarding order? Would you change your phone number without telling your contacts?
Keep URL structure the same or set up 301 redirections.
The URL is your address, and they don’t change it for you or me. For this reason, the URL structure should not be changed during a relaunch, if possible. Of course, this is not always possible…
But if you decide to change the URL structure for whatever reason, there are some essential things to consider.
You need to set up 301 redirects from the old web addresses to the new ones so that search engines and visitors are not sent anywhere.
These 301-forwardings should make sense thematically. For example, if you create a new version of an old landing page, it makes sense to create a redirect. However, it is not an advantage to redirect to a thematically unsuitable page. On the one hand, visitors may wonder, on the other hand, search engines may not pass on the relevance, authority, and “link juice” in this case.
Furthermore, it is essential to mention here that every 301 forwarding has a damping factor and so some of the “power” is lost. The value may be low, but still. Many businesses don’t do their website relaunch checklist, therefore, they FAIL!
Define the most relevant landing pages & continue after the website relaunch.
Before even starting the new website, the most relevant landing pages of the old project should be defined because these “pages” must exist in a similar form again unless you want to lose a lot of visibility.
The importance depends on different criteria:
- Number of visitors (check using Google Analytics → Acquisition → All-access → Channels → Organic)
- Google Rankings (check with ProRankTracker)
- Sales/inquiries/bookings (check through Google Analytics → Conversions)
- Incoming links (check by Majestic SEO or Ahrefs)
We are talking about SEO here, and that is why we are only interested in organic visitors for the time being.
By the way, this point is not without reason already mentioned second. If mistakes are made here, not only search engines (first and foremost Google, of course) but also visitors will be offended. No, Go!
Conclusion: Your most important landing pages deserve the highest respect.
Check incoming links & have them adjusted.
I already mentioned the topic of links above. If something has changed in the URL structure and has been “regulated” with 301-forwardings, the existing incoming links should still be adapted to the new address.
You can find the existing incoming links for free via SEOKicks (free account very limited) and the Google Search Console. Only paid tools like Majestic SEO and Ahrefs give an almost complete overview (no existing tool can do 100%).
After that, the only thing left to do is to ask the respective webmasters by e-mail to adjust the links. As I said, this is only to be done for the most valuable backlinks.
Conclusion: More “Juice” through direct links without redirection.
Do not forget the tracking code!
It happens again and again: The new site is finally online, nobody looks at the analytics for 14 days, and suddenly someone notices that you forgot to include the tracking code. This is especially stupid because the data is especially impressive at the beginning after the changeover.
Conclusion: Data is worth its weight in gold and should be treated accordingly…
Don’t you go tinkering “live” with that website. It is a pleasure to tinker with the existing site or switch on the maintenance mode. But why? Nowadays, it is no art to set up a “test environment.”
There you can do what you want without having to think about the consequences. Visitors and search engines will thank you for it.
Conclusion: Basic, yes. Of course, unfortunately, no.
Customize Google AdWords landing pages.
If the URL structure has changed, the Google AdWords ads’ target pages must be corrected immediately during the website relaunch. Otherwise, you will pay for clicks that will send visitors to nowhere.
Conclusion: Don’t forget!
Expand texts rather than shorten them.
Even today, search engines still need content in text form to recognize relevance. There is already a lot going on about links and mentions, but texts are not to be sneezed at. Therefore the most critical landing pages should preferably be extended with a version than shortened.
Of course, there is no utterly correct answer here: If a landing page has 1000 words at first, but does not convert them and has a bad user behavior, it can be quite useful to reduce the amount of text 😉
Conclusion: Correct, but not always. Common sense shows the way!
A succeful website relaunch checklist for your benefit!
Keep internal linking structure – Important for the Website Relaunch Checklist
Internal links also pass on relevance, authority, and power. Changes to this “flow” therefore have noticeable consequences. The most important landing pages should always be linked more, of course, always with the appropriate anchor texts and from the right environment (preferably continuous writing).
If a meaningful landing page receives fewer internal links after the relaunch, then there is a high probability that it will also lose rankings on Google to a certain extent.
Conclusion: The most valuable subpages need the most and best internal links.
You can see an example in our posts, for example: Buy Backlinks For Your Website
Before the launch: Set up a clever & appealing 404 page.
If the entered URL address does not exist (typically after a website relaunch), visitors end up on a 404 page. That should be designed so that visitors don’t lose hope and jump off, but stay on your site.
Conclusion: Help the user to find what he or she is looking for.
After the website relaunch Checklist: Keep an eye on Google Search Console & Server Logs
Even if your new website is finally online and the world doesn’t collapse immediately, your sleepless nights are not over. In the next few weeks, your eagle eyes must be focused on the Google Search Console, more specifically on crawling errors and the server logs.
If you discover problems like 404s, you need to set up a matching 301 redirect as soon as possible to avoid possible ranking crashes.
A successful website relaunch can be that easy from Google optimization. With this guide, you save a lot of money, time, and nerves. Remember: Unsuccessful redesigns can put the entire SEO campaign at risk. Except for expenses, nothing has been. Expert Tip: Take your time with the website relaunch, strict deadlines are only for fools in this case.
Anyway, i hope you enjoyed the guide about the website relaunch checklist – >> Keep in mind ->> Focus ->> Succeed!
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