So you’re about to launch your new website, congrats! But you’re afraid the traffic won’t roll in like it has on your current site. Below are five common SEO mistakes that are easy to make when launching a new website. Check them out to help ensure you’re set up for success with your new site.
1. Forgetting to Redirect
One of the first things on your to-do list is redirection! Once you’ve set up your new domain, work to ensure your old pages redirect to the new like pages/URLs. Be sure the redirects are permanent (also known as 301, which is a type of redirect). If you’re not sure how to do this, ask your SEO agency or web developer to help out. If you fail to do this, you will essentially flush at least some of your website’s accumulated SEO value down the drain.
2. Changing Your Code
Avoid removing or changing any major coded SEO elements. Doing so will also increase the chances of losing rankings. For example, leave elements like title tags and meta descriptions as is from day one.
3. Altering Your Content
In the same way that you don’t want to change your code, avoid changing your content too much as well. Altering important on-page content elements like headlines and header tags (H1, H2, etc.) will reduce that SEO ranking value. Leaving content as unchanged as possible will help you maintain your hard-earned rankings, versus having rankings potentially drop when your new site goes up.
4. Downsizing Your Content
Reducing the amount (i.e., length) of content on the site can be detrimental to your SEO efforts as well. Oftentimes there are legitimate reasons to want to shorten or eliminate pages for the sake of user experience. If you need on-page content to look shorter and cleaner for this purpose, then keep in mind there are creative ways to layout the page differently while still keeping content length intact. You can break it up throughout the page or even put the information on different tabs. Design is important, but choose to work around it instead of eliminating ranked content.
5. Not Knowing Your Keywords
Focusing on the right keywords is key to SEO success. It’s important to do your best to get inside the head of your potential customers. What might they search for and what language do they use when searching for what you offer? Since they are an important part of your SEO strategy, spend some good time researching and selecting some good target keywords. When done well, your site will get ranked for a lot of additional keyword variations over time (hundreds-thousands). But it’s good to pick some flagship keywords out of the gate.
Launching your new website is exciting! It can also be complex with so many moving pieces. Remember that your first priority is to be aware of anything that has the potential to derail your rankings. Building a strong SEO strategy from day one around ranking protection will pay off in the short and long-term. It’s hard work and there are more than five elements that come into play, but the effort is well worth it. Then, after your new site is up and running, is the time to work on taking your rankings to the next level! As always, remember to keep going and never give up.