- The first and most important step of building a new website is to analyze all existing pages of your website to understand:o What entry pages receive the most organic traffic?o What pages have the strongest backlink profiles?
- Once you answer those questions, you need to:o Maintain exact URL structures for your most important organic landing pages.— If you are unable to do this, you will need to implement a 301 redirect from your old URL to your new URL, and understand that you will lose some percentage of your pages’ link value, which will cause ranking changes for keywords that drive organic traffic to the specific URL in question.o Maintain exact textual content (title tag, meta description, headlines and body copy) for your most important organic landing pages.— If you are unable to do this, keyword rankings will fluctuate for all keywords that drive organic traffic to each specific page. — Note that you can always test textual content edits post-launch for a specific page to see how your edits affect rankings for your target keywords, organic traffic and conversions.
- For pages not identified above, work to maintain URL structures from your old site to your new site as much as possible. When this isn’t possible, implement a 301 redirect from the old page to the most relevant new page.
- Confirm that you preserve the old site’s primary hostname version (www or non-www) to the new site and still have a 301 redirect to your primary hostname version from your non-primary hostname version.
- If you are planning to move from HTTP to HTTPS with your new site:o Make sure your HTTP to HTTPS 301 redirects are properly set up and will not introduce any multiple hops from your old URLs to your new URLs. You want to see only a single hop as opposed to something like this:http://domain.com redirects to http://www.domain.com redirects to https://www.domain.com Set up your new HTTPS domain in Google Search Console, and resubmit your new HTTPS XML sitemap URL.
- Make sure Google Analytics is properly implemented on all pages of your new website. Note that if you are moving from HTTP to HTTPS, you will need to update your Google Analytics settings.
If you’ve waited to think about SEO until you are ready to launch your new website, you’ve made a huge mistake.