Website relaunch: How to prevent ranking loss

by Meike Müller

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 and your previous search engine optimization. With these tips we would like to show you how you can approach your SEO relaunch without losing already existing rankings. Because the relaunch is not always a complete restart and should get subpages if they are well received by your target audience and can already be found in the first search results.

Reading time 6 min

What to expect
  1. First of all, we would like to explain to you 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 various tips for your perfect SEO relaunch: a total of eight 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. This way you may even improve your rankings
  5. After the relaunch of the website, there are more tasks waiting for you
  6. Indexing of all pages
  7. Announcement of the relaunch
  8. Registration in the Google Search Console
  9. Our conclusion
  10. FAQ
    1. How to apply search engine optimization for online stores?
    2. How do I build a good link structure on my website?
    3. What is a test environment and why is it important?
    4. What are important ranking factors for Google?
    5. How can I perform a competitive analysis to rank better with my main keyword?
    6. What is a "hreflang"?
    7. When should I do a website relaunch?
    8. How much budget do I need to allocate to relaunch my website?

How does the SEO relaunch affect your rankings in Google?

Depending on how you change your web presence during a relaunch, it may be that already existing rankings simply disappear. Therefore, it is important to consider the following tips. How your rankings can be influenced can be easily seen in a short example: Imagine you change the page structure of your website and create, for example, some categories and subcategories that did not exist in the content structure of your page 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 becomes the URL 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

In order to know with which prerequisites you start, you should save the current data about your website and make an inventory. 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 avoid a 404 error and Google penalizing you with a ranking loss after the new website goes live. So, as a 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 are search engine optimized and thus 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 an 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 keywords they contain are important, a crucial ranking factor for 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, display on each device, 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, you can use the "Search & Replace" function.

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, indexing of a wrong page will take place afterwards, should these links and pages of the test environment still be reachable.

You may even improve your rankings this way

Ideally, you would like to improve your rankings after the relaunch and increase the number of visitors. For this purpose, for example, a competition analysis is helpful. You can google for relevant keywords and check how your competitors on the first places in Google present their website and content. Aesthetics, for example, play a role in keeping the bounce rate as low as possible. For example, if users don't get along with the design of your website and the navigation structure, they will quickly leave your site. Google recognizes this and will also take it into account for the ranking. Your competitors on the first Google places seem to do it well. Maybe you can get some inspiration for your redesign here, without copying.

While you're on design, be sure to check if your site is optimized for mobile devices. Because when your site is crawled, indexed, and subsequently ranked by Google, Google takes its cues from mobile optimizations. So it's actually even more important that your website works well on mobile than it is to work well on a desktop. With responsive design, you can properly display your site for all devices.

Another point for the search engine optimization of your website is the loading speed, which you should optimize in the course of the relaunch. You can check the page speed with some tools. In Google's Core Web Vitals, which can have an influence on the ranking, you can get more details about individual subpages of your website. Here you can find out if, for example, images take too long to load.


Here you will also find a few tips on how to successfully relaunch your website without wasting your SEO efforts:

YouTube Video von Website-Relaunch

Your tasks after the SEO relaunch

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

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, we are happy to help you with words and deeds. Because as an e-commerce and web agency, web development and web design is our passion.


FAQ about your website, your online store and search engine optimization

Finally, we would like to answer a few more questions that might be important in the course of the relaunch or for the optimization of your website or webshop. If you have any further questions, this is of course no problem. Our team is always ready to help you. Just call us and we will be happy to answer your questions.

  • How to use search engine optimization for online stores?

    Search engine optimization for online stores is an important step to increase the visibility of the store in search engine results and attract potential customers. Here are some tips that can help optimize an online store or your website, among others:

    • User experience: user experience is an important factor for search engine optimization. A positive user experience can make customers stay longer on the site and buy more products. Therefore, the online store should be designed in a user-friendly way with easy navigation and an appealing design.
    • Error pages: Error pages can lead to poor user experience. It is important that the store runs error-free and that error pages are fixed immediately.
    • Loading speed: The loading speed of the website is an important factor for the user experience. A slow page can lead to customers getting impatient and leaving the store. Therefore, the page should load quickly to improve the user experience.
    • Navigation structure: the navigation structure of the online store should be clear and intuitive. Simple navigation makes it easier for customers to find products and increases the likelihood that they will stay on the page longer and buy more items.
  • How do I build a good link structure on my website?

    A good link structure on a website is crucial for successful search engine optimization. Ideally, the link structure should be built in such a way that all pages of the website are linked together and navigation is easy and intuitive for the user. An important component of the link structure is internal linking, i.e. linking different pages of the website to each other. Internal linking can help improve the content structure of the website and optimize the user experience. Meaningful linking makes it easier for users to access relevant content and stay on the site longer. In order to build a good link structure, it is important that all pages of the website are linked to each other and that a clear hierarchy is recognizable. Important pages such as the home page or the category overview page should be at the top of the hierarchy and easily accessible from other pages. Another important aspect is the use of meaningful anchor texts, i.e. texts that are linked to a link. These should describe as precisely as possible which page the link leads to, in order to create a clear connection between the pages and provide a better user experience.

  • What is a test environment and why is it important?

    A test environment is an environment that is used to run tests and experiments without impacting the live website. It is a copy of the live website hosted on a separate server or subdomain. The test environment is used to test changes to the website before they are implemented on the live website.

    The test environment is important because it prevents changes to the live website from being implemented directly without testing. Without a testing environment, errors and issues can occur that can affect the functionality of the website and result in a poor user experience. By using a test environment, bugs and issues can be identified and fixed before the changes are implemented on the live website.

    Another important function of the test environment is also to check the indexing of the website. It is important to ensure that the test environment is not indexed by search engines, as this can lead to duplicates on the live website. If the test environment is indexed, it may cause the live website to be penalized by search engines. Therefore, the test environment should be excluded from the search engines' indexing scope.

    A test environment is also important to ensure that a website goes live without any problems. By testing the changes in a separate environment, problems and errors can be identified and fixed before the changes are implemented on the live website. This minimizes the risk of problems that may occur when the live website is restarted.

  • What are important ranking factors for Google?

    Google uses a variety of ranking factors to determine which pages appear in search results and in what order. There are many well-known ranking factors, such as content quality, user experience, loading speed, link structure, and number of backlinks. However, there are also many factors that are not 100% certain and known.

    The important ranking factors include the indexable web presence of the page, the quality of the content and the user experience. If a page is not indexable, it will not appear in the search results, resulting in a ranking loss. Moreover, the content of the page should be unique, relevant and of high quality to achieve a good position in the search results.

    Another important factor is the user experience. Pages that offer a positive user experience are preferred by Google. This includes fast loading speed, clear and intuitive navigation, and responsive display on mobile devices.

    There are also many other factors that can influence the ranking, such as the number of page visitors, the use of social media channels, the backlink structure or the use of multimedia content.

    However, it is important to note that the exact ranking factors are not 100% known by Google and that ranking algorithms change regularly. Furthermore, not all factors can be measured or clearly influenced. It is therefore important to develop a holistic and comprehensive search engine optimization strategy that focuses on all important aspects of the website and is continuously monitored and optimized.

  • How can I perform a competitive analysis to rank better with my main keyword?

    If you want to rank better with your main keyword, a competitive analysis can be a valuable strategy. Here are some steps you can follow:

    1. use an SEO tool suite like Sistrix or SEMrush to identify the main competitors for your main keyword. Analyze their keywords, rankings, backlinks and page structure.

    Analyze the site structure and aesthetics of your competitors' websites. Make sure that your own website is designed in an appealing and user-friendly way to attract and retain your target audience.

    Conduct an audience analysis to find out who your potential customers are and what they are looking for. Analyze your competitors' content and see if you have room for improvement to better address this audience.

    Compare your competitors' content and keywords with your own website. Make sure that you have the most relevant keywords and content on your website that appeal to your target audience.

    Analyze your competitors' backlinks and find out where they come from. Try to get backlinks from similar or relevant websites.

    Monitor your competition regularly and adjust your strategy to respond to changes in the industry or target audience.

    A competitive analysis can help you understand what your competitors are doing to rank well with your main keyword. By identifying areas for improvement and adjusting your own strategy, you can optimize your website and increase your chances of ranking better in search results.

  • What is a "hreflang"?

    "Hreflang" is an HTML attribute used by web developers and search engine optimization experts to signal to Google and other search engines which version of a web page is relevant for a particular language or region.

    The Hreflang attribute is usually inserted in the header of the HTML page and contains information about which language versions of the website are available and which country or region they serve. This helps search engines like Google display the correct version of the page in search results when users search for relevant content in a particular language or region.

    For example, if a website has different language versions or country versions, the hreflang tags can help ensure that the search engine displays the correct version of the page in search results. This prevents users from being directed to the wrong pages, resulting in a worse user experience.

  • When should you do a website relaunch?

    You should do a website relaunch when your website is getting old or even has problems. We show you some reasons for a website relaunch:

    Outdated design: an outdated design can negatively affect the appearance of your website and deter visitors. A modern design can boost your credibility.

    Usability: If navigation on your website is complicated and usability suffers, consider an overhaul to improve the user experience.

    Slow load times: A slow website can frustrate visitors. Fast load times are critical to user satisfaction and search engine positioning.

    Adjust content: Outdated or irrelevant content should be revised or renewed to ensure the relevance of your website.

    Security: The security of your website should always be a concern. If your website is vulnerable to security breaches, you should take steps to protect it.

    User feedback: takeuser feedback seriously. If problems are repeatedly reported, consider relaunching to fix them.

  • How much budget do I need to allocate for the relaunch of my website?

    The budget for a website relaunch depends on several factors, including the size and complexity of your website and the changes you plan to make. Here are some budget planning considerations:

    Web design and development: the cost of designing and developing your website can vary widely. Simple websites with pre-built templates can be created for as little as a few thousand dollars. However, for custom designs and complex features, the cost can increase significantly.

    Content update: If you need to update existing content or create new content, we should consider the cost of creating text, images and multimedia content.

    E-commerce integration: If you want to run or set up an online store, you need to consider the cost of e-commerce integration, including payment processing and security.

    Security: Invest in security measures to protect your website from potential threats such as hacks and data leaks.

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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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