Nowadays, the shift to a responsive, UX-centric website experience has been the norm as websites continuously change to meet the demands of the consumers.
Relaunching your website does not solely involve the design team, but you should be mindful of your site’s architecture as well.
As you go through the relaunch, remember that there are many aspects of your website that has to be covered — else, you risk losing all the efforts you’ve already invested on the site prior the redesign.
As the largest search engine in the world, Google continuously updates its algorithms to narrow down search results to deliver only the best to its users.
Gone were the old days where manipulation can indeed get your website ranking; nowadays, Google has set a stringent list of ranking factors that you have to comply with to rank your website among the millions of other sites vying for the top page spot.
In this article, we will guide you on how to have a successful relaunching of your website without messing up your current rankings.
The least that we want to happen is that your website isn’t showing for organic searches, or losing all the authority you’ve gained in the past.
Here are the steps that you need to take to ensure a bump-free relaunching for your website without harming your website’s SEO:
Perform a Site Audit and Plan your 301 Redirects
It is advisable to perform a site audit before you redirect one page to another. It shouldn’t be rushed, and it should be planned thoroughly.
- Understand your priorities and perform a site audit on what is the most applicable technique for that page. Sometimes a canonical will suffice instead of using 301s.
- Auditing your website is an opportunity to check every nook and cranny of your website, making sure that you don’t miss any page that pulls in traffic or link authority for your website. We don’t want to create reoccurrences that will mess up the architecture of the site.
- With an audit, you can rectify previous mistakes, add content to pages with thin content to avoid other penalties, and even decrease the workload of going through the site again and again.
- Make sure to get a reliable tool for crawling the website to be able to cover all pages, and even arrange the site architecture into a more logical hierarchy.
- Look out for pages with many backlinks — you will want to preserve the backlink equity by correctly pinpointing the redirect to the appropriate page.
- For your primary landing pages, you should make sure that those pages have new pages of their own, and are appropriately redirected.
- On managing your redirects, we advise preparing a spreadsheet stating which URL redirects to another.
Avoid Penalties with Meta Robots
A new website may be prone for duplicate content. If you’re doing a major redesign, you don’t want to get your content tagged as duplicate with your content.
What are the things that you can do to avoid being penalized? Take note of these steps:
- Use noindex tag on the development website to avoid being tagged as a duplicate. The meta tag noindex will tell the search engine robots that these pages aren’t for crawling and shouldn’t be indexed by the search engines. This will make sure that your content won’t be tagged as a duplicate.
- On the other hand, for WordPress users, you can go to the admin panel and just declare the whole dev site as “noindex.”
Do it in Parts — Work on Each Subpage
Doing a relaunch, primarily if you’re working on an extensive website with more content or e-commerce site, it’ll be a considerable task to handle.
The tendency is that you might miss some parts of the website, so we recommend setting up a spreadsheet, dividing the site by subdomain or by page categories.
That way, there won’t be any conflict when it comes to redirecting URLs from the old ones to the new. Once you’re done setting up redirects, let Google crawl your website first before you proceed with another batch.
Now that you’re done with setting the redirects perform another website crawl and check if the results are the same with your execution plan.
Don’t forget to Update your Sitemap
Now that you’ve correctly executed your redirects don’t forget to update your sitemap. We advise you to create a sitemap for different kinds of content types on your website. With this, it will keep your website adequately structured.
After adding the new URLs and removing the old URLs in the sitemap, make sure that you’ve properly set up your sitemap via your robots.txt, Google Search Console or other webmaster tools you use to manage your site.
Don’t forget to remove the old sitemap that you have, whether in the Search Console or your backend.
Just removing a sitemap from the Search Console does not make it “uncrawlable” for Google — you should edit your robots.txt and include the updated version of your sitemap as well.
Make Use of Email Subscription
On the other hand, before taking down your website for an Under-Construction sign, you should have taken the opportunity to collect emails to reach your prospective clients even though you’ve shut down your site.
Once you’ve launched your website, it’s time to blast an email to your existing subscribers and your new subscribers to inform them about your website’s relaunch.
E-commerce can benefit from email outreach as this can renew buyer interest on their part. If you have any perks to offer such as a welcome back discount coupon, this is the time to make the most out of it.
On the other hand, it’s better to create a new offer where people can benefit from. Consider sending an exclusive access or privilege to some of your premium content to attract your target market.
Content pieces like whitepapers, brochures, cheat sheets, and videos can lure in both old and new customers to your website.
Connect your Social Media Accounts
Once you relaunched your website, use every social media channel that you have to announce your relaunching. Moreover, take the opportunity to update your website’s address if necessary.
Go back to your posts and check which are the posts that engage the most. Make sure that those posts will be edited and put in the new link to avoid 404s. This is your chance to leverage your new website through social media.
Not only does it help improve traffic to your site, but it also establishes your brand online.
Relaunching a website helps in improving your user experience. Thus brand awareness and retention can be expected.
However, relaunching your website shouldn’t be treated as a reset of your efforts, instead it should be treated as a continuation and a big stepping stone towards increased interest from your chosen audience.
Ensure that all your marketing efforts — whether SEO or social — wouldn’t be put to waste because of a failed and unmanaged launch.