We look into how your old website worked, compared to how it works now. Is content easy or easier to find? Do the URL’s follow a good structure? Do the images work and are they optimised? Is your website mobile friendly?
One of the biggest known factors to search position is page speed. If your website is below the recommended, it can impact your website by moving from the first page for unbranded keywords, which could dramatically decrease your volume of website visitors. We highly encourage you to test the new site using the Google PageSpeed Insights.
Another factor mentioned above is mobile friendliness. In January 2017, Google switched to the mobile first index, meaning that if you have poor usability on mobile, you’re likely to be ranked down because of it. Not sure? Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Testing Tool.
Does your new site use structured markup? A relaunch holds a great opportunity to tidy up any templates or site code, so using GWT Mark Up Tool can be extremely useful!
Your website looks great, it works brilliantly and there are errors highlighted that will be fixed. But does your content deliver? Are the images appropriate for the page? Is the content interesting and useful? Is there a clear call to action?
These things could all be the most important thing to consider and audit. Without a proposed action for a user, how will they complete the expected journey? Having a lovely new website with a new CMS that enables all parts of your business to contribute, is great – but they’re unlikely to understand the importance of SEO and unlikely to keep things as optimised as possible. You need to look at images being uploaded, tables being used and the type of content being added. Relevance is key.
Internal and External Linking
SEO used to just be all about the linking structure of a website, now it’s a combination of factors such as the type of content linking to you and the type of website. Have you got other websites linking to you? Are these valuable? Are you linking to other valuable pages? Are a lot of URL’s changing in the relaunch?
If your URL’s are changing, have you mapped out your 301 redirects properly? Ensuring that 301’s are ready to go with the new site launch is fundamental. These redirects will allow Google and Bing to replace already indexed content with the correct URL without penalising you. If URL’s are left broken for a long period of time, Google will eventually un index them completely. A great way to find a list of links currently on your website is using spidering tools such as Screaming Frog. You can export an HTML list of current URL’s and match these with the new website. If any have changed, you can create a redirect.
If your domain isn’t changing, and you take care of 301 redirects to ensure an easy transition, inbound linking might not be a major issue with a relaunch. However, you certainly want to be sure that you optimise your internal links from page to page on your site. You can also address this post launch, but certainly, if you’re in the process of adding or editing content, it’s a good time to change any internal links to pages.
So you’ve done the tough bit. Finally, just before the relaunch goes live, It’s a good idea to benchmark where the old site. Taking note of what is the organic traffic to the site from various search engines currently and what are the current rankings for various high-traffic keywords. This can be used as a measure of success for the new website to see whether your SEO efforts are a return on investment or not.
Post-Launch SEO Audit
Congratulations! Your new website is live. I’m afraid the audit is quite over, though, you’ll need to continue to monitor it closely, looking for any changes in rankings and traffic. At Rooster, we recommend running checks daily for the first few weeks, and then weekly for the first few months.
If you begin to see any dips or decreases in traffic, you need to identify this quickly, is there a problem with any of these?
Are any pages still blocked? We often see that the robots.txt file hasn’t been changed with the rushing of setting a new website live, this blocks Google and Bing complete from crawling your website.
Are there any broken links that have been missed? You can look within Webmaster tools and look under Crawl Errors. Fix these with 301’s as they may have been from an old publication or old link.