So, you’ve been thinking about that site revamp and relaunch for months and years. And now that you have finally set aside the budget, you don’t want to repeat the same mistakes that you made on your previous site. Even more crucially, you don’t want to make new mistakes. After all, it’s not uncommon for websites to disappear from Google’s listings after a relaunch. That can hurt.
Any idiot can tell you that you need to optimize your site for SEO right from the start. Yet very few people follow this advice. If you’re like most small business owners, you’ll trust your SEO to the web design company you hire. But they seldom do a good job, for the simple reason that they are designers and not SEOs. As a result, you are left with a well designed but poorly optimized website, and have to spend more time and money to “fix the bugs”.
15 Things Your SEO Will Do (that Your Designer will Not)
“Getting the right person in the right job is more important than developing a strategy,” says Jack Welch. In the site-relaunch scenario, an SEO is the right person to optimize the new website for organic searches. Here are 15 things that your SEO will do during a relaunch to make sure that you get no unpleasant surprises after the site goes live. Your developer will probably do none of these.
#1. Check the tracking codes across the old and new versions: You don’t want your Analytics to go off track when you transition from the old website to the new. Your SEO will ensure that the tracking code on all of your pages is consistent and running properly.
#2. Install Google Tag Manager: GTM makes it simple to add all sorts of marketing tags and pixels to your website for tracking the results of your marketing efforts. While you’re doing a site revamp, you might as well go all the way and plan for the future. Your SEO will install GTM and show you how to use it.
#3. Mark the relaunch date in your GA: It’s not a biggie, but adding a small annotation to your Google Analytics will help you identify the relaunch date when you’re looking at your Analytics data later on.
#4. Anticipate and fix page speed: Most of the times, the enthusiasm of adding better quality images, videos and heavy scripts to the revamped site slows down the page loading speeds. As page speed is a major SEO factor, the heavier pages can slide down in Google SERPs and you can lose a part of your traffic. The SEO will anticipate the impact of the design changes on the page speeds and take the remedial actions.
#5. Check your hosting company’s performance: A bad hosting can not only kill page speed, but also cause the site to be unavailable at times. Your SEO, being a professional, knows about the best hosting available in your area and can point you in the right direction. She will also monitor your hosting during the relaunch to uncover any outages or speed issues.
#6. Get rid of robots.txt: Developers can go as far as launching your website without removing the robots.txt file. In case you’re wondering, this document is used during the development to prevent Google’s spiders from crawling your pages. Making your site live with robot.text file still active means that search engines will not index your pages.
#7. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly: Mobile adaptability is sometimes the major reason behind a site redesign. What a shame it would be if the new site does not display properly on popular mobile devices! Your SEO will prevent that by testing and retesting the pages on multiple screen sizes and devices. She will run your site through Google’s Mobile Friendly Test and brief your designers to make the necessary changes.
#8. Update Schema markup: The odds are that the schema code on your old website is either outdated or non-existent. Google now displays featured snippets on top of the SERPs in addition to the rich snippets shown with the regular search results. Unless you want to launch the site without markup or you are a coding specialist with a lot of spare time, you’ll need an SEO to update schema codes.
#9. Standardize image size: Uploading images larger than the display size wastes space and degrades loading times. You need to use a size limit plugin if you are using WordPress. An SEO can help.
#10. Redo keyword research: Did you know that a significant number of Google searches are initiated by voice queries these days? Natural language queries contain “long-tail keywords” that you may not have used in your content before. Your SEO will look at your Keyword Planner and uncover new keyword opportunities. She will revamp your keyword structure, suggest new pages where required, and optimize your content in line with the latest Google policies.
#11. Optimize title tags and meta descriptions: Many WordPress SEOs and developers use Yoast SEO Plugin to optimize titles and descriptions. I use CrazyFrog to find out which titles or meta descriptions need to be redone, then log in to WordPress and make them awesome.
#12. Set up 301 redirects: Are your URLs going to change after the relaunch? If so, you must set up 301 redirects to point search engines to the new page. If you don’t do it, you may get a shock to see your traffic plummeting. A look at your URL Errors tab in your Google Search Consol will reveal that there has been a sudden increase in pages “Not found.” Your SEO will prevent such a situation.
#13. Optimize internal linking: You can see your existing internal links under Search Traffic > Internal Links in your Google Search Consol. Your SEO will make sure that those links are carried to the new pages and suggest additional links where required.
#14. Test your website prelaunch: You need to find out if you keep an eye on the traffic from different search engines and keywords are driving immediately after the site goes live. But you need data from the old website to make the comparison. That’s why I benchmark my SEO metrics just before the new site goes live. These benchmarks help me determine if there has been a dip (or rise) in traffic and rankings, and why.
#15. It isn’t done until it’s done: Even when everything looks good immediately after launch, you need to monitor the site closely for at least a couple of weeks to see any new trends with traffic and rankings. Have some of your pages stopped receiving hits? Have you lost your ranking for certain keywords?
As you can see, hiring an SEO for your site relaunch really brings a lot of value to your business. If you still need more reasons, do not hesitate to drop us a line!