Make sure You Have 301 Redirects In Place.
Let’s assume for 1 minute that you are really concerned about your search engine rankings. Launching a new website is therefore an important decision and if you are wanting to keep and grow your organic rankings then you need to pass the authority from your old website to the new one. This requires your developer to implement what is called 301 redirects. What this means is that when someone clicks on your old web page ( that has previously been indexed and ranked by Google), they will be immediately redirected to the new webs page.
Make sure that your inner deeper web pages within your site redirect to the same pages within the new site, so that relevant SEO authority can be passed. This will also help your customers find what they are looking for. Let me elaborate on this as this point can be a bit tricky. Let’s assume you are a lawyer and you offer a range of services. What a 301 redirect means is that the service page for say divorce law on the old site will redirect to the divorce law web page on the new site. This ensures that anyone who is looking for a divorce lawyer online and they come across your old web page, they will immediately be redirected to the new more relevant page.
301’s are a critical component of the new website launch and it MUST be handled by people who know what they are doing. If you stuff this part up, expect to loose serious Google rankings. This is 100% guaranteed.
Make Sure the New Titles and Descriptions are the Same
Without going into too much detail, your web titles and descriptions are what is displayed on Google on the search results. Your title is what Google reads and the description is there for your customers. If you are really happy with they way they are then make sure your new website has had these copied over. Alternatively, now would be the best time to revise these for a better customer experience and SEO ranking. A good tip here is too see what your competition has and learn from what the industry leader and top ranking sites are writing.
Is Your Hosting the Same?
Some web agencies will insist that you use their hosting servers. This is fine but make sure that you have the appropriate bandwidth to hand web traffic. In the case of some eCommerce sites, new hosting platforms may not be able to cope with the amount of traffic and this in turn will result in your site going down. In critical busy periods this is NOT on as it can result in lost revenues. PLUS excessive down times can result in ranking fluctuations which is not ideal for your business. So the rule of thumb here is to make sure your new website has a robust hosting platform, preferably in Australia that is going to be able to handle your traffic, and if there are any issues they are able to fix problems quickly.
What Size Images are there and how’s the overall Website Speed.
New websites equal new images and it’s important that all the images are optimised for site speed. There are a multitude of sites out there that can help you with this but we use the Google free site speed checker. Before your site goes live run this exercise and try to clean up any mess that Google picks up here. Remember slow websites with large images are really bad for SEO and will kill the customer experience. Personally, I hate it when sites takes forever to load so please what ever you do, don’t ignore this point.
Take off the ‘No Follow’ once site goes live.
I am still amazed by developers ( not ours thankfully) that leave the ‘no follow’ code on the new website. This code tells Google not to index your website. Can you imagine how you are going to feel after a few weeks when your new website is no being indexed by Google and you have lost all your rankings. It’s a bloody nightmare and all it takes is one simple slip up by your developers. Make sure this does not happen!
Where are your links going??
This will take time but you have to be certain that all the internal links within your site have been transferred over to the new site. If you are a keen blogger this may take a while so plan ahead and make sure that all links are active and don’t point to inactive URL’s.
Does Your New Website have a SiteMap?
No brainer and not much explanation needed here, except to say that a site map of your website should be in the footer. This will make it easier for Google to trawl, index and rank web pages, which is important for your marketing.
Have your Revised your Web Content?
Your website copy needs to be changed frequently. Appearing fresh and current with brand new copy is going to make a huge difference to the way your customers perceive you and the whole shopping or inquiry experience. Out dated copy in these competitive online times is JUST NOT ON, so put the effort in, get it written professionally. Think of it as an investment in your marketing. Web content that is conversion focused can mean the difference between making that sale or not.
Make sure all your Social Media Buttons are Clear and Visible.
Hidden social media icons buried somewhere on your new site is not a good way to promote your business. Your social media buttons need to be easily accessed for the consumer – don’t forget about this when launching your new website. Another component of your website that needs to be highlighted are you main calls to action or selling points. These include:
- blog btton
- easy to read phone number right at the top of the page
- do you deliver Australia wide – then tell people about this!
- Make an inquiry form visible and easy to use.
- Any unique selling point you have high up above the fold on the home page