Website relaunch: How to prevent ranking loss

08.09.2022
by Meike Müller
E-Commerce
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When relaunching your website or online store, there are many changes to your website that can also influence the ranking in the Google search engine. With these tips we would like to show how you can approach your SEO relaunch without losing already existing rankings.

Reading time 6 min

What to expect
  1. First of all, we would like to explain how your relaunch of the homepage or website can influence your ranking in Google.
  2. After that we will help you with the best preparation of your relaunch.
  3. Now we'll continue with the different tips for your perfect SEO relaunch: Eight of them are waiting for you!
    1. Prohibition of indexing
    2. Avoid missing and wrong redirects
    3. Provide a valid SSL certificate
    4. Avoid placeholder texts
    5. Complete meta snippets
    6. Checking the functionality of your page
    7. Adjust internal linking
    8. No links from the test environment
  4. After the relaunch of the website more tasks are waiting for you
  5. Indexing of all pages
  6. Announcement of the relaunch
  7. Registration in the Google Search Console
  8. Our conclusion

How does the SEO relaunch affect your rankings in Google?

Depending on how you change your website during a relaunch, it may be that already existing rankings simply disappear. That's why it's important to make sure you take the following tips into account. How your rankings can be influenced can be seen well in a short example: Imagine you restructure your website and create, for example, some categories and subcategories that did not exist in the structure of your site before. In order for the new structure to be adhered to and also be accessible, the URL of the individual pages also changes. For example, a URL that was previously accessible at www.onlineshop.com/hosen becomes the URL www.onlineshop.com/herren/bekleidung/hosen. The already ranking old page now has no content and is no longer reachable from Google under this tag. From now on, your page will throw a 404 error, which Google will also notice. After a short time, your old page, which still exists in terms of content under a new URL, will be thrown out of the rankings. You have to earn the old ranking again for the same content. And that's how quickly your website relaunch can affect your existing rankings. However, with our tips you can prevent the ranking loss!

SEO relaunch preparations you should make

So that you know with which prerequisites you start, you should save the current data about your website. For example, you can use Google Analytics and get the statistics for your individual subpages. This way you can find out which of your pages already have good rankings for keywords that you definitely want to keep. For these pages you have to prevent that a 404 error occurs and that

Google punishes this by a ranking loss. So, in the first step, take care of a detailed SEO analysis to determine what is already going well SEO-wise. You should take these points and save them so that they remain for your new website. Look at which pages generate the most traffic, how many keywords the pages rank for and how well they rank.

Our tips for your relaunch and avoiding SEO mistakes

Now it's down to the nitty-gritty: the actual relaunch of your website. To make sure the relaunch goes well and you keep your rankings, it's worth considering the following tips during the transition.

1. forbid indexing

For the rebuild, you should first make sure that the new website is directly re-indexed. You can actively forbid this. For this case there are maintenance plugins that help you. If you do not disable indexing, Google will assume that the content exists twice when you create the new website under a different domain. So-called duplicate content is punished by the Google search engine.

2. avoid missing and wrong redirects

Redirects are an important issue if you want to pull content from your old website to the new website. This is essential to keep rankings. The so-called redirects are used whenever you delete pages, move to a new domain, change the structure of your website and so on. So for your website relaunch they are also relevant.

A redirect is either a server-side or a client-side redirection that automatically leads from one URL to another URL. If you change your URL structure in the course of the SEO relaunch, then you must include redirects for all content pages. This way, users can still reach your content even though it is now under a different URL. To do this, you must also ensure that your redirects have the HTTP status code 301. Only 301 redirects are permanent redirects. Don't forget to set up redirects for PDFs and images as well.

If you have set up redirects, it can still happen that you set them up incorrectly. Possible errors are:

  • The creation of a forwarding chain
  • Using the wrong status code (302 instead of 301)
  • An inappropriate link destination

3. providing a SSL certificate

Another point for a good SEO relaunch without Google penalties is the provision of a valid SSL certificate. This is incredibly important, because otherwise you may get error messages in the browser. This not only disturbs the users, as they could judge your site as unserious, but also Google. Finally, this could also cause your site to suffer in terms of visibility. So check if your certificate works or if you have to release it again for the new website.

4. don't use placeholder texts when launching your site

You probably know the standard "Lorem ipsum" texts that are often used when the new content is not yet up. However, you should replace these standard texts with real, SEO-optimized texts when you launch your site. As long as you don't index it yet, everything is fine. But before proper indexing and actually going live, your content should be.

5. insert meta snippets

It's also important that you take your meta snippets for all the web pages. Especially for the pages that rank well, you should definitely take over the old snippets. The included keywords are important for your ranking of the respective subpages in Google. Check if your pages have all meta data consisting of unique meta descriptions and meta titles and contain the appropriate keywords.

6. full functionality of your website

Before your website or online store goes live, be sure to test the functionality and go through every single aspect. In order not to forget anything, it is advisable to list all the functions when converting and programming your website. Once your project is almost ready, you can go through the list step by step and test the functionality. The list should include every button, the display on each device, the navigation and more.

7. check and adjust internal linking

Even on your own website, there are still links that don't fit with your new structure. Although your users will find the new URL under the old one, since you have set up redirects, this is not ideal for the loading times of your website. You should replace them in any case, so as not to be noticed negatively by Google. In many content management systems you can adjust your links in no time. For this purpose, the "Search & Replace" function is suitable.

8. prevent wrong links from the test environment

If you are redesigning and programming your website in a test environment, you may have links specifically for the pages in the test environment. Of course, these must be replaced with the correct links if you want your site to go live. Otherwise, an indexing of a wrong page will take place afterwards, should these links and pages of the test environment still be reachable.

Your tasks after the SEO relaunch

Even after the SEO relaunch of your website, there are still more tasks that you have to work off in order not to lose any rankings in the end.

Get all pages indexed

Since you have previously excluded your new page from indexing, you must also lift this ban again so that your website can rank. If you don't lift it and set a 301 redirect to the new pages, the old pages will disappear from the indexation and you will also lose the good rankings that you have been able to achieve so far. Therefore it is urgent to check if all subpages can be indexed decently.

Make the relaunch known

Your new website is online? Then let your customers and/or users know. For example, you can publish a social media post, send out a newsletter email or, of course, deliver the news personally, if this is possible and reasonable.

Register the relaunch also in the Google Search Console

In order for Google Search Console to know that you now have a new website that is a continuation of your old website and not an additional one, you have to enter your new URL in the address change of Google Search Console. After a few checks, your new website will be recognized.

Our conclusion

A relaunch requires a good preparation as well as many aspects that have to be considered during the relaunch. In short: A relaunch is very time-consuming and should not be taken lightly. If you want to learn more about the details of a website relaunch, we have the right article for you. There you will get all the tips on what you can improve on your website during a relaunch. If you need help with the conversion of your website to maintain your ranking, then we are happy to help you with words and deeds. Because web development and web design is our passion.

Meike
Meike
from 08.09.2022

Hello, my name is Meike. I take care of the EXWE back office and am responsible for our social media channels. All of our articles are meant to make your life easier and help you make decisions. Nevertheless, it can happen that something remains unclear, so: If you have questions about this article you can easily reach me at +49 231 93149827.

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