Relaunching your website? Don’t forget an SEO audit!

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So you’re going to redesign and relaunch your website. Congratulations! That’s positively a vital undertaking. But before your relaunch is live, we competence wish to perform an SEO audit, usually to be safe. A correct SEO review identifies intensity SEO pitfalls before to launch, giving we time to get issues bound before we reinstate your stream website.

Unlike a ubiquitous SEO review on your website, an review for a relaunching site is a bit of a opposite animal since you’re looking during and comparing dual opposite sites: a aged site contra a newly designed site. Relaunch audits also come with their possess set of challenges.

Many of a collection used to perform an review need a website to be permitted on a web to indicate a site, though when you’re doing a redesign, a new website competence be dark behind password-protected gates or competence be on an inner server, untouched to these tools.

When behaving a relaunch audit, we mangle it down into dual categorical pieces: pre-launch and post-launch.

Pre-launch audit

While we can positively wait until after a relaunch to perform an SEO audit, wouldn’t it be improved to locate many of a SEO mistakes before your new site goes live?

While we don’t redesign websites myself, I’ve worked with many clients who rivet with web pattern firms. If a web pattern organisation isn’t on servant and we don’t locate SEO issues before to a relaunch, we could be faced with additional costs after a relaunch goes live to repair any newfound SEO issues.

So, tackle many of this (if we can) in a pre-launch review while your web pattern organisation is underneath agreement and a calm government complement (CMS), files, images and some-more are already being edited. It’s usually a some-more fit and spare approach.

Your pre-launch review should, during minimum, cover:

  1. Analytics review
  2. Technical review
  3. Content review
  4. Link review
  5. Benchmarking

Some audits competence go deeper than these 5 points, though these are a good place to start.

1. Analytics review

As we relaunch a website, you’ll wish to be certain that your web analytics continue to seamlessly lane from a aged website chronicle to a new version. It would be terrible if we were pulling year-over-year data, usually to find out after that your tracking wasn’t consistent! Make certain your analytics tracking formula is on any page of a new site and that it’s automatic correctly.

Are we regulating Google Tag Manager (GTM)? If not, now is a good time to confederate it — while you’re already knee-deep in code. we tend to suggest GTM to my clients since it creates adding additional selling tags to your site so most easier and doesn’t need your web engineer or developer to support any time we need a tracking pixel combined to a site.

If we do supplement GTM for a initial time, remember to mislay any Google Analytics formula from a site and supplement it instead around GTM. The same is loyal for other acclimatisation tracking pixels and scripts — be certain to pierce them to GTM and not transcribe them on pages.

Finally, when we do take a new site live, if you’re regulating Google Analytics, be certain to supplement an assessment so that we can simply brand a relaunch date when looking during a graphs.

2. Technical review

Technical issues can truly disease SEO. You competence know how your existent site works with SEO, though do we know how your new design, layout, images and formula will work? It mostly won’t be an apples-to-apples comparison.

One of a some-more common technical SEO pitfalls I’ve witnessed with relaunches is not accounting for new page bucket times. Just how impactful can page speed be? This association done no other changes to their site for calm or design. They simply changed all over to a new CMS. Almost immediately, they lost nearly 15 percent of their Google organic traffic:

Pagespeed Traffic Loss

In a box of this company, a new CMS increasing page bucket times adequate that it forsaken about 20 highly-trafficked, non-brand keyword rankings to page dual of Google hunt results. That’s a impact that page speed can make on your rankings!

If your exam site is permitted on a web, even for a brief time, we rarely inspire we to exam it regulating a Google PageSpeed Insights tool to weigh your page bucket times before to launch. Not usually will we learn a page bucket score, though Google provides minute suggestions for improving a page speed on both desktop and mobile versions of a website.

Are we changing servers with this relaunch? Not all servers and web hosts are combined equal, and some usually aren’t as quick to start loading your pages. Test out your time to initial byte regulating ByteCheck. Compare your stream server with your new one. Is a new one during slightest as quick to initial byte as a aged one?

I’ve mostly seen a exam site have a robots.txt record that disallows Googlebot and other hunt bots from indexing that site since it’s a exam site rather than a elite live version. That’s a stream approach, though usually be certain to exam your relaunched site immediately after relaunch to safeguard that a exam robots record is not changed to a live site. If it is, afterwards your live site will stop display in hunt engine formula flattering quickly.

Is a site manageable for mobile? It’s so most easier to supplement that now than after a relaunch, when you’ll have to re-engage with web designers. Check out a site on Google’s Mobile Friendly Testing Tool. Most of a mobile-friendly mandate from both Google and Bing are centered around pattern issues, so it’s useful to find those issues before to launch and redress them before we go live.

Does a new site use structured markup? As with GTM, a relaunch represents a good time to refurbish templates and site code. Even if there are not abounding snippets for a sold schema category, symbol adult your formula anyway! Structured markup is used in a series of ways by hunt engines.

3. Content review

One of a common issues I’ve found on websites is picture size. Many times when a CMS (content government system) is being used, a people updating website calm aren’t web designers themselves. That’s a beauty of a CMS — it helps everybody in an classification minister to a website though requiring most (if any) technical knowledge. But this can lead to vast problems down a highway for page speed since of picture uploads. Here’s an instance of how this happens.

Barbecue

The picture on a tip is a distance that a picture is displayed in a blog post where it appears. The picture on a bottom is a tangible distance of a picture that was uploaded. Uploading a vast print for a smaller space is a rubbish of record distance and page bucket time. It takes your page longer to bucket a incomparable record than a smaller one.

Thankfully, many CMSs have plugins now to residence this issue. we privately use a WP Image Size Limit plugin for WordPress to shorten how vast a distance of a picture upload can be.

If you’re rewriting site content, have we reviewed your keywords? Are there keywords that we wish to optimize for, though there’s no suitable page on a stream site for them? Consider formulating a new page where indispensable on a new site.

Are we means to revise a pretension tab and meta outline tab on any page? If you’re regulating a CMS, we competence also need a plugin to concede we to revise these fields. For WordPress, we use a Yoast SEO plugin to revise pretension tags and meta descriptions.

If we have a CMS, will it be formulating and boldly updating your XML Sitemap? Here again, we find that many CMSs need a plugin to do this. The Yoast SEO plugin will also perform this task.

If your URLs will be changing, that can be common with a new CMS, have we mapped out and automatic your 301 redirects? Programming 301 redirects is essential if you’re relaunching to safeguard that when those URLs do change, Google and a other engines can find a calm in a new location. Here’s an instance of a website that relaunched regulating a new CMS with new URLs and did not module 301 redirects:

301s

This shade shot is from a customer that came to me after a relaunch when they were saying thespian drops in trade to a site. As we can see here from Google Search Console, all was purring along simply until a relaunch, when a series of URLs not found by Googlebot shot adult to over 15,000! They didn’t do a 301 redirects. If you’re regulating a Linux server (PHP and WordPress), afterwards we can simply module these redirects regulating a .htaccess file.

4. Link review

If your domain isn’t changing, and we take caring of those 301 redirects, inbound joining competence not be a vital emanate with a relaunch. However, we positively wish to be certain that we optimize your inner links from page to page on your site. You can also residence this post launch, though positively if you’re in a routine of adding or modifying content, it’s a good time to supplement these inner links to pages.

Google Search Console shows we a stream inner links it sees on your site underneath Search Traffic Internal Links. As you’re updating content, are there places we could supplement additional, suitable inner links?

5. Benchmarking

Finally, usually before a relaunch goes live, we like to benchmark my SEO metrics. What is a organic trade to a site from several hunt engines? What are a stream rankings for several jammed keywords? You’ll use this benchmark information after a relaunch goes live to guard and safeguard that your SEO is staying a course.

Post-launch audit

After a new website is live, you’ll need to guard it closely to see if there are any changes in organic trade and rankings. we like to run checks internally any day for about dual weeks to safeguard all stays on track, comparing daily information to my benchmark and looking for signs of dips in organic traffic.

If we start to see dips or losses, diagnose a problem quickly. Have certain pages stopped receiving any organic traffic? Check your 301 route for that page. Have certain pages forsaken in organic trade or ranking compared to a benchmark? Determine what changes occurred on that page — could it be page bucket speed or picture size?

Even if we have to check a relaunch schedule, it’s distant improved to safeguard that your redesigned site will launch as SEO-friendly as it can be to assistance safeguard that we keep a rankings and trade we competence have with a aged site and hopefully, grow it with a new site launch. If you’d like to learn more, also check out my post from SMX West 2016, which has a good list of collection to use for SEO audits.


Some opinions voiced in this essay competence be those of a guest author and not indispensably Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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