When the time came to update our company website we knew that we wanted to ensure that everything was right from an SEO point of view. This spurred us on to create a definitive SEO checklist of things that needed to be done prior to our new site launch and in this blog article, we’ll take a look at how we used this checklist to make sure our new site was set up for success.
The first thing that we looked at from an SEO point of view was the new website content in comparison to the existing content. One of the goals of the new website was to cut down on the amount of text while still conveying the right message and giving enough information. In order to accomplish this, we looked at a number of things and did a full content audit on both the new and old sites.
Some of the things we looked at included:
- Creating a keyword map of old vs new URLs
- Use of natural language and keyword synonyms on page
- Title tag audit
- Meta description audit
Once we had completed our keyword audit we were able to spot gaps where previous content was no longer included on the new website. This process also showed areas where we had written new content to target keywords that we’d not previously identified. By auditing the content we made sure that the new website would be targeting the right keywords and that these were all properly optimised.
This was critical in ensuring that the new site would perform equally as strongly in the SERPs as the previous version of the website and by targeting additional keywords we were pretty confident that we would also see an overall increase in website traffic.
Next on the agenda was taking a look at the structure of the old website and the new site. We conducted another audit on this looking at all elements of URLs as well as internal links. Using tools such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider we were able to carry out a full link analysis on both our old website as well as our new website located on our development server.
This audit helped us to highlight:
- Broken links
- Link text
- Complete list of website URLs
Following this link audit, we conducted a number of checks on the new website looking at the coding structure to ensure these were using best practices. We made sure that we were using absolute URLs and that all the URLs on the new website were search engine friendly.
Following these checks and also using our content audit from earlier we created a list of old URL paths and new URLs paths and put these redirects in place on the development server. These were then tested to make sure they were working correctly ready for the next stage of the process.
Once we were happy that we had the right content in place, that we were targeting the correct keywords and that we had our URL mapping in place the next step was to look at the accessibility. The new website was developed from the ground up with a responsive framework in place so we knew that it would be mobile-friendly and would look great on every device. The code was optimised to load quickly and page speed was tested.
Finally, it was time to push the big red button and put the new website live. There were a couple more steps for us to complete and these could only be done once the new site was live.
Some of these final steps included:
- Uploaded an updated XML sitemap to Google Search Console
- Updated our robots.txt file and tested this with Google
- Double checked the accessibility of our new web pages
- Checked the setup of Google Analytics
Following the launch of the website, we continued to monitor the performance of the new site to check for errors and any issues. Using Screaming Frog, Google Search Console and a number of other tools we checked everything from keyword rankings and broken links to website traffic and engagement. The new website has proven to be a hit and since the update, we’ve seen a 52% growth in users and 25% increase in pageviews.
If you’re thinking of updating your website then we’ve put together a simple on-site SEO checklist for you to use so download your copy today.