Launching a new site can position your business for major growth and better customer service. When you invest the resources to design and build a website that showcases your products or services and drives visitors to buy, you can expect great results, but only if you remember one important element: search engine optimization.
All of that time and effort could be for naught unless you optimize your site. Whether your previous website performed well in organic search or not, Google and other search engines will crawl your new site and what they find will determine how readily customers discover you.
Avoid these five common SEO mistakes that businesses make when launching a new website.
Mistake #1: Not Tracking the Right Keywords
To measure SEO correctly, you first need to know what to measure. Monitor your website’s performance for a wide range of keywords. You might rank well for branded keywords, meaning users are easily finding what they’re looking for if they know you by name. Meanwhile, you could miss out on a wealth of other potential customers who are searching for your products using non-branded search terms. Organizing ideas and content on your new website for both branded and non-branded keywords can improve architecture and overall performance.
Mistake #2: Hiding From Search Engines
When a developer works in a development site, they will install a “block code” in the robots.txt file to prevent search engines from crawling the site before it’s ready. Sometimes, they neglect to remove the code when the site launches, keeping it invisible. We have had clients come to us in this situation without even realizing what has happened. This mistake is easy to fix, but the time you didn’t appear on search engines will have a negative impact on your SEO. It takes time for Google to crawl your website and make up lost ground.
Mistake #3: Failing to Redirect Pages
When businesses launch new websites, many of them fail to pass existing page equity to their new URLs using 301 redirects. These redirects often make or break a site’s SEO. That’s because search engines already have an understanding of where content lives on the existing site. When you fail to redirect that information, it essentially erases all of that historical understanding.
In addition, we advise reaching out to your best existing backlink sources with updated URLs. Work with them to update inbound links on their site to prevent them from passing through a 301 as well.
Mistake #4: Not Tracking Site Metrics Properly
Before you launch a new website, make sure to transfer your tracking codes so you can retain historical data and monitor performance after the re-launch. You may also take time to learn which pages of your old website performed well and which ones did not. Then, as you transition to the new site, you can keep what works and repurpose or lose what doesn’t. Without that knowledge, however, you stand to lose lots of historic seasonal data crucial to understanding site performance, user engagement, and user journeys. As a result, you may have a shiny new website, but one that’s not built for future success.
Mistake #5: A “Set it and Forget it” Mentality
Once your new site launches, it’s tempting to take a breather. Not so fast. No matter how prepared you are, there will always be important tasks following launch. You’ll need to clean up links and monitor data sources like Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Fluctuation is inevitable, and depending on the scope of the rebuild, your website has probably changed substantially. Give search engines time to crawl your new site and understand what the redirects are telling it. To speed up that process, submit a new XML sitemap.
One of the best ways to continue monitoring your site post-launch is investing in a web maintenance plan. Work with a trusted SEO partner to determine a set number of hours and tasks per month dedicated to technical monitoring, user-experience issues, and general on-page optimizations.
Why Bayshore Solutions is Your Right SEO Partner
Designing, building, and launching a website is no easy feat; it takes a lot of time, patience, and expertise to get it right. At Bayshore Solutions, our talented team of designers and SEO specialists has vast knowledge and experience building and maintaining websites to set you up for success.
We’ll work with you to build a customized solution for you and your business and remain a trusted, integrated partner to help you grow. Ready to work with us? Tell us how we can help.