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SEO Tips From The Trenches: Website Relaunch

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Relaunchshutterstock_99622157
Step inside the mind of Tom Harari, SEO Manager at iAcquire, the Phoenix and New York City based digital marketing agency which relaunched their own website recently. As the company’s in-house SEO leader, Tom brings an insider’s knowledge of search optimization, content strategy, and the psychology of inbound marketing to this interview on SEO efforts undertaken during the relaunch.

Q: Your primary function during the website relaunch was to ensure that the new site’s on-page SEO migrated successfully, right?

Tom H: Yes, I was in charge of identifying all of the old content on the blog– which lived on a sub-domain — and migrating the content to a blog sub-directory. I also helped change iAcquire’s URL structure for the blog content, as well as providing comprehensive recommendations for any and all issues that might arise during a site migration.

Q: What SEO-specific considerations did you make in the entire redesign process?

Tom H: Primarily the move to convert the blog from a sub-domain to a subdirectory, improving the URLs towards a flatter structure and fixing minor things that happen sometimes using a WordPress CMS, which is what we use to power our blog.

Q: What tips for a website redesign or relaunch can you share with other search pros?

Tom H: Sure, here are three:

1. Take inventory of existing content, then map where the new content will live on the site, so all the site redirects work properly;
2. Take the opportunity to review metadata again, and add social metadata;
3. Constantly monitor things like traffic and rankings during the migration process, and keep an eye open for any red flags that may arise.

Q: What advice on on-page website redesign would you give SEO Managers?

Tom H: Focus on getting the basics right first, then make sure to include things like social metadata and schema.org (or any semantic markup). Focus on improving the user experience, not detracting from it, in the name of SEO.

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(SMS Editor: iAcquire offers more detail on tips for a successful website relaunch)

If your company is ready to relaunch a new site, your team has undoubtedly worked hours to maintain the site’s integrity, dropdown menus, links and more. Plus, you want to make sure that you stay even or above in your rankings. What course do you follow to keep things on an even keel?

In this scenario, here are a couple of key suggestions to make your site relaunch run as smoothly as possible.

  • Redirects — Make sure 301s redirects are in place, if you are updating the site architecture or eliminating pages.
  • Conversion end-points — Your redesigned website may have a different path to conversion, so make sure someone is dedicated to checking the conversion points on your redesigned sites to make sure they are working, migrated, and tracked.
  • On-page keyword analysis — Target two to three keywords per page and intertwine them organically throughout the copy and metadata. If your organization previously targeted a set of keywords, look at them again as competition and volume changes from year to year and even month to month.

Ensure that benchmarking is top of mind. Track current website analytics (visitor interaction and conversion) so you can accurately measure success after the new site launches.

Define your current and future KPIs and keep track of them. Keep in mind that these may change as your organization grows, so be inclusive and collect as much as you can. The KPIs should include:

  • Leads
  • Time on site
  • Share of voice
  • Number of links
  • Organic search rankings
  • Impressions
  • Traffic

One other great tip is to get acquainted with Google Webmaster Tools. With it, you should be able to identify any problems with site/page indexing and even clickthrough rates. If the content is being rearranged on your new site, it could be buried deeper, making it harder for search engines to crawl, which leads to a non-indexed area.

Most central of all is to ensure that you have been tracking all of the items you need to (traffic, keywords, rankings, impressions, conversions, etc.) before the relaunch and to continue to track them after the new site is up. With this in place, you will be able to see and measure the effect of your new site and identify problem areas as soon as they become apparent, thereby minimizing problems.

Image:  Relaunch via Shutterstock

About the Author

Joe is Managing Director at iAcquire, where he oversees corporate development and business strategy. Joe has over 12 years experience in the search engine marketing industry. He co-founded Submitawebsite.com in 1997, served as a Vice President, Media at iCrossing for 3-years, and sold Submitawebsite to Web.com (Nasdaq:WWWW) in April 2007.

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One Comment

  1. Great post Joe. Migrating your website is can be difficult in terms of SEO and it's important that people realise that there will be consequences with regards to ranking and traffic if it's not done effectively. Maintaining your SEO when relaunching a site is very tricky but this post should help anybody in this situation.