What are the key SEO elements of planning for a Website Relaunch?

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What are the key SEO elements of planning for a Website Relaunch?

From time to time websites get to change or revamp brand colours, product structuring, or even the functionality of the website. The normal aim is to design a website that’s a little more mobile-friendly, more functionality, more products and services offered or even all those features combined.  

Businesses tend to adapt due to changes from internal factors (current site performance) and external factors (competitors), therefore having to create a new website and going through the planning of a website relaunch.

Here are some of the most important elements you need to consider as a digital marketer when performing a website relaunch.

Here are the 5 key SEO elements of planning a website relaunch:

Site Crawl & URL Mapping: 

A pre-launch site web crawl and a post-launch crawl are the first and most important SEO elements to consider when planning a site relaunch.

You need to have the old site crawled (using Screaming Frog or similar) and the site backed up so that you are able to implement redirects once the new site gets launched. Failure to have an old site crawl can lead to losing out on-page and domain authority transferring from the old site to the new site. A post-launch crawl becomes more useful for two reasons, one being able to match redirects from the old site to the new site. Secondly, it can be used to create a sitemap.xml which is submitted to Google for indexing purposes.

Conduct an Audit:

Content is one of the main reasons why websites get to be rebuilt and relaunched. Depending on how the site is designed, content can be a blocker or success factor for the site’s future digital performance. It could be that the current website doesn’t allow you to add more on-page copy, or the content doesn’t sync well with site functionality (being mobile friendly), which can lead to bad user experience and not being able to deliver the quality of content intended.

Therefore, this is a key SEO element you need to plan for. You need a plan for this by conducting a content audit which entails a SWOT analysis of the current content and how to strategise on improving this. This can include a simple transition from a pure HTML site (www.example.co.za/index.html) to WordPress CMS based site that can be easier for marketers and developers to configure and add content without limitations.

Tracking & Performance Audit: 

Make sure tracking is in place both before and after the site launch. Tracking digital performance is vital to the site’s success and optimisation.

Conduct a tracking audit, to make sure that the site is tracking the correct Calls To Action, Google Search verification and Google Analytics (and Google Tag Manager code) need to be transferred from the old site to the new site.

Without before and after data you can’t analyse your success or setbacks, therefore you might not know what works or doesn’t for you and your business.

Mobile Testing: Remember, Google prefers Mobile Indexing First: 

Never forget this one; Google loves mobile pages and therefore indexes them first before desktop pages. If your current site is mobile-friendly, make sure you keep it that way, and if not make sure you design a responsive site that compliments both desktop and mobile devices.

During the development phase of a website, you need to be involved in this process to advise developers on how to build a site that will have an SEO foundation from the development phase. Mobile friendly tests can be done using Google’s mobile-friendly test or by physically testing the site from different mobile devices.  

Alert Google & Users:

Lastly, once the site gets launched you need to make sure you alert Google and your users of the site launch. This can be done by simply submitting your new website sitemap.xml file and robots.txt file in Google Search Console.

It’s important Google crawls the new site URLs/pages and adds them to their index, and is able to rank them in SERPs for your users to find you. Also, use social media platforms to alert your customers and users of the news that your website has re-launched and ask for feedback.

In Conclusion

A website relaunch can be like any other operation. It can be a smooth success or be a total failure. To help you and your teams repeating the process multiple times or delaying the website relaunch, rather focus on the key SEO elements for planning a site relaunch. Most importantly, make sure the developers have a strong communicative relationship where input is taken into consideration from an SEO perspective.

If you are planning a website re-launch and are unsure as to what needs to be considered from a Search Engine Optimisation perspective, contact a member of the Algorithm team, they will be happy to advise and assist you.

Author: Solomon Tshielo

Categories SEO