How to Handle a Website Relaunch for SEO
You’re starting from scratch, and you want your website relaunch to go as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, though, you have no experience with relaunching websites. As a result, you have no idea how to proceed.
You do know, however, that you want a responsive site that will help improve your search engine optimisation strategy. As fortune would have it, there are a few tried and true steps that you can take in order to put you on the right track. Not only are these steps tested, but they’re also doable for even beginners.
From preparation to beyond your website relaunch, here is a handful of tips that will get you through the relaunch with your nerves intact.
Setting the Stage
As you probably know, search engine optimisation begins long before you launch your site. People who are serious about their websites’ performance meticulously plan for months before they actually launch their sites. Believe it or not, relaunching a site requires much of the same, if not more, planning.
Content staging will be your friend. This allows you to create and edit content in a private space before publishing it. You can use an external application or something like a WordPress plugin to go about staging your content.
Your first order of business should be to plot out your relaunched site’s SEO strategy on the level of the site’s metadata. This metadata includes details such as meta descriptions and page URLs. The tags you append to the images on your site are also included here.
You’ll also need to put some time and thought into your keyword planning. While this step might sound easy, relying on the keywords you used for your old site won’t cut it. Simply put, this website relaunch is an ideal time for reevaluating your use of keywords.
You should also consider what your content plan for your new site will be and how your keywords will fit into that plan in the future. We happen to have an informative post about marketing strategies and content plans if you’re interested in finding out more about the two.
You can now move on to what we are referring to as “Act I,” an act that is hardly an act at all since there are only two steps involved. The first step requires that you comb through your old website while the second one actually involves launching your new site. That said, we’re going to break down both of these steps for you in this section.
As we mentioned above, you’ll be combing through your site prior to your website relaunch. We’d like to tell you what exactly you’ll be looking for, but, in all honesty, what you search for depends entirely on you.
Generally speaking, though, you should be looking for content that is indisposable for one reason or another.
For instance, your old site’s landing or home page likely gets a lot of traffic. Once you relaunch your site, however, the URLs of those pages might change. In order to address this problem, you should redirect visitors to whatever pages on your new site correspond to those pages.
Content that drove significant traffic to your old site should receive the same treatment. If you want to find out which content falls into this category, you can use Google Search Console to access important data about search results as they correspond to your old site.
After you’ve decided on which pages you’d like to redirect to your new site, you can take the leap and finally relaunch your site. Your work, however, won’t be done just yet; you’ll need to get your XML sitemap together and submit it to Google.
If you’re lucky, the platform you’re using to host your site will already have submitted a sitemap for you. WordPress, for example, goes this extra mile for you. If you aren’t so lucky, you might end up building the sitemap yourself.
If you’re confused about sitemaps and how to build them, have a look at Google’s advice on how to build, submit, and manage a sitemap. We think you’ll find it extremely useful.
After the Website Relaunch: The Final Act
Now that your new site is up and running, you probably think that you can go on holiday and not worry about a website relaunch until the next time you decide to completely overhaul your site.
If you’re seriously thinking like that now, we’ve got one word for you, and that word is “no.”
Now more than ever, you’ll have to be vigilant. Translation: Regularly check every aspect of your site’s functionality for a while, and after you think you’re done inspecting your new site, check everything again.
Although you should definitely be monitoring every single aspect of your new site’s functionality, there are a couple of things that you should be especially careful to monitor if you want to reap the benefits of whatever new SEO strategy you’re relying on for this iteration of your site.
The first of these things is the pages on your new site which you redirected those pages on your old site too. Take a look at the traffic which these news pages are getting and make sure that visitors are actually being redirected to these pages.
Not only should you monitor the traffic for those pages, but you should also monitor the traffic for your site in general. If your new site is enjoying much less traffic than you expected it to, you might want to check out what’s going on behind the scenes in order to make sure that things aren’t wonky.
Last but not least, visit some of your site’s pages and make sure that the content is displayed correctly. You can hardly miss content that presents itself strangely, but you’ll only catch it if you actually take some time to look around your new site. After all, you’d rather find those mistakes sooner than later.
Let the End Credits Roll
We’re happy to report that you’re finally all set. Your website relaunch is all done, and everything looks good.