“Everything should be better this time: content, design and interface – a great website! It will only be a few days before Google and Co. link the homepage to page 1. Nothing can go wrong there!”
Many website operators think so and suffer SEO shipwreck. Because when relaunching a website, there are a few pitfalls to navigate. To keep everything running smoothly, this article will help you with the best tips and advice.
What is a website relaunch?
Anyone who significantly changes the content and design of a homepage carries out a website relaunch. If only the web design is adjusted, this is called a website redesign.
Here are three main areas to consider:
- design and surface
- social community
Technique and content are important points to address first. To do this, select suitable SEO measures that you carry out on-page and off-page. Does the website live from an active community? Inform them of any changes and proceed with extreme caution.
Relaunch: when is the right time?
Today hardly any company can do without an internet presence. Anyone who has been running an online shop for many years should think about modernizing it. The clock ticks faster on the internet than in real life. New functions that the competition is already using are easier to implement.
A relaunch may be necessary in these cases:
- Design appears “old-fashioned”
- Images and text are no longer up-to-date
- An expensive agency must be commissioned for small changes
- Functions such as newsletters or like buttons are missing
- SEO: Keywords not found
- User interface outdated
If some of these points apply, you should consider an optimization. A few years ago, having a presence on the internet at all was an advantage. Now you can quickly create a website with WordPress. For this reason, many entrepreneurs decide to relaunch.
Finally, the homepage is ready
It took a lot of work, but the relaunch is done. They changed the technology and provided a nice web design.
Content and usability: the optimization has only just begun!
Replacing your old website with a new one makes life difficult for the search engines. Most operators forget to test the URLs again and set up a 301 redirect. Otherwise the old links remain in the Google register and users click on “dead” search suggestions.
What if you forget about URL Optimization?
Link error (samplepage.com/product ? www.samplepage.com/article)
– Domain error (examplepage.com ? examplepage.com)
In the first case, this leads to a “404 error page”, while a domain change results in the error message “Server not found”. Both variants have a negative effect on your SEO ranking. After all, you present the visitor with a blank website and the search engine robot only sees the error message. This is a double penalty!
The common solution is to correct all old URLs or domains with a 301 redirect. This is usually done in the .htaccess file.
Test your site
Before you publish a website, you should check it carefully.
Don’t despair if you lack SEO know-how: You can solve the above problem by requesting Google to “crawl” again via the Search Console. With a click of the mouse, you send the Googlebot to index your website. Up to 10 requests per month are allowed – or 500 individual links.
Source of error: Check the internal URLs if you have linked your posts to each other. Of course, such a crawl request only makes sense when all links have been corrected.
Before the relaunch of the renewed website, SEO optimization is the top priority. To make things a little easier for you, go through this checklist:
- Is the website displayed correctly in all common browsers?
- Does it have a responsive web design? (More and more customers are using tablets and smartphones)
- Are all redirects working?
- Are there error messages from Google and Co.?
- Can the content be downloaded? (if you offer checklists as PDF files)
- Is the ordering and payment process correct?
The relaunch gave you a completely new HTML structure. Check the “Title” and the “Meta Description” of the website. What about the “ALT Attributes” of the images? Keep a blog, check out some posts. If the title is missing in the blog posts, you will probably have to re-insert it everywhere.
That is actually a lot of work – but it pays off. Modern search engines include on-page and off-page optimization in the ranking. This means that all headings and posts should display properly. It’s not just about collecting backlinks. If the URLs lead to a “dead” link, they are worth nothing.
Check tracking codes
If you use Google Analytics, you may have to re-implement the code. This applies to all other services on which you have set a cookie. Affiliates should scrutinize their affiliate links again.
How well do the keywords rank?
A relaunch is the perfect time for a keyword analysis.
Onpage or offpage – where is there a need for optimization?
Research each keyword before publishing a new home page. It’s your big chance to make everything better. A website often performs poorly because it has an old design. Many users click away and contribute to a high bounce rate.
The search engines see this and devalue your keywords. Everything can get better with a new interface when your customers even link blog posts. The only important thing is to work out the specific weak points. How is your content doing? When relaunching, you can eliminate weaknesses.
Tip: As soon as you send the Googlebot to crawl, all pages and posts will be re-indexed – which means a great opportunity for you! Old mistakes are corrected and you can rank higher with your keywords.
Google Search Console
In general, the analysis tools from Google are a hot tip: You can store additional website data there, which the search engine evaluates positively.
Pay attention to these points in the next few days:
- How fast does the website load?
- Are there errors?
- Have keyword rankings improved?
- Has the number of backlinks increased?
The world needs to know about your relaunch
Present your new website to the public. Use all social media channels that are available to you. Perhaps sweeten the relaunch with a competition. This is a good method to generate extra visitors.
Ask some partners if they can help you with this. A small link is enough to get you further attention. You should also get feedback from external people. How well is your website received by the target group? These can be customers, partners or suppliers.
As a rule, a website relaunch is recommended every 3 to 5 years. The measures aim to increase the traffic of a page and to offer visitors a pleasant interface. Remember to double-check all URLs, otherwise you could end up screwing up SEO-wise. Take the chance that comes with a new website. Your conversion rate (converting visitors into customers) will thank you!