Everything new, without SEO losses: avoid these 6 mistakes for a successful website relaunch

Veröffentlicht: 22. April 2024

If you are planning to redesign or comprehensively update your website, a thorough relaunch is essential. SEO, or search engine optimization, plays a crucial role in ensuring that your site continues to be found well in search engines even after extensive changes.

An effective website relaunch can strengthen your online presence and ensure that you reach your target group even more effectively.

However, a website relaunch also involves risks. Without the right preparation and strategy, mistakes can quickly be made that can undo your previous SEO successes.

The potential stumbling blocks range from neglecting valuable content that already ranks well to technical errors that can affect the accessibility of your website.

In this article, we take a closer look at the most common mistakes that can occur during a website relaunch and give you tips on how to avoid them.

1. inadequate planning and objectives

The success of a website relaunch depends largely on thorough preparation and clear objectives, especially with regard to SEO.

A strategic approach is essential to ensure that the relaunch not only improves the visual and functional quality of the website, but also maintains or even increases its visibility in search engines.

The importance of clearly defined SEO goals

Clearly defined SEO goals set the direction in which all changes and optimizations should be made during the relaunch.

These goals should be based on a thorough analysis of current SEO performance and aim for realistic improvements.

Without such goals, you could overlook essential aspects such as keywords, user experience or mobile optimization, which are crucial for maintaining or improving your search engine rankings.

Tips on how to effectively set goals and align the relaunch with them

  • Analysis of the status quo: Start with a detailed analysis of your current website. Understand which pages rank well, which content generates the most traffic and which technical aspects need to be improved.
  • Define SMART goals: Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals for your SEO relaunch. For example, a goal could be to halve the page loading time or to increase the number of visits to a particular landing page by 30%.
  • Involve stakeholders: Ensure that all relevant team members and decision makers are involved early in the planning process to integrate their perspectives and expertise. This not only promotes a shared understanding of the objectives of the relaunch, but also of the steps required to achieve them.
  • Ongoing adjustments and tests: Set milestones and regularly check progress in relation to SEO goals. Be ready to adapt your strategy based on the results of A/B tests and user feedback.

2. neglect of existing SEO values

Your existing websites may have built up SEO value over the years through carefully curated content, inbound backlinks and constant user interaction.

These sites have proven that they are successful in the search engines. Simply neglecting them or changing them without strategic consideration can lead to a significant loss of visibility and traffic.

It is therefore crucial to maintain these successes during a relaunch.

How to ensure that successful SEO elements are not lost

  • Perform a content audit: Start with a thorough audit of your current website. Identify which pages attract the most visitors, which have the highest conversion rates and which rank for valuable keywords. These pages should have priority in a relaunch.
  • Record SEO metrics: Document the current performance of all important pages in terms of rankings, traffic volume and other relevant SEO metrics. This data serves as a benchmark for comparing performance after the relaunch.
  • Weigh up content changes carefully: If you also want to change the content of existing pages, you should carefully consider whether this makes sense for pages with good rankings. Never change a running system and all that.
  • Apply a correct redirect strategy: If the URLs are changed, it is essential to implement correct redirects. You can find out how to do this in the next paragraph.

Take the opportunity for a content spring clean too

A website relaunch offers the perfect opportunity to thoroughly review and optimize existing content. It’s not just about improving SEO, but also about rethinking the entire content strategy.

It is an opportunity to identify content that is not performing as desired and decide whether it should be improved or removed.

Non-performing content can be identified through a detailed analysis that looks at the number of hits, time spent on the page and conversion rates.

This is particularly quick with the SEO Spider from Screamingfrog. Use the API access for the Google Search Console for this purpose:

Google Search Console API in Screaming Frog

Log in with the respective Google account and select the corresponding GSC property.

You can then quickly get an overview of the performance of the URLs with a crawl:

Analyze page performance in Screaming Frog

Content that generates little to no traffic could either be reworked to be more relevant and appealing to the target audience, or it could be removed to streamline the site and improve user navigation.

When revising content, current SEO best practices should be considered, including using relevant keywords, improving readability and providing value to readers.

By removing such content and restructuring the remaining content, a clearer, more targeted and more user-friendly website can be created.

3. incorrect implementation of redirects

One of the most common and at the same time most critical sources of error during a website relaunch is the incorrect implementation of redirects. This can lead to 404 errors, which not only negatively impact the user experience, but also damage the SEO performance of the website.

The role of 301 redirects in an SEO relaunch

301 redirects are permanent redirects that serve to redirect search engines and users from an old URL to a new one. As is often the case with a relaunch.

If a URL is changed during a relaunch, a 301 redirect should be used to ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct content and no “page not found” errors occur.

Instructions for the correct implementation of redirects

The correct implementation of 301 redirects is essential to avoid SEO problems after a relaunch. Here are practical steps and examples of correct handling:

  1. Create URL mapping: Before the relaunch, you should create a detailed mapping of all old URLs to the new URLs. This serves as the basis for setting up the forwarding.
  2. Set up redirects in the .htaccess file: Example: Suppose you have an old URL www.beispiel.de/alte-seite and the new URL is www.beispiel.de/neue-seite. The redirect in the .htaccess file on an Apache server could look like this:

    Redirect 301 /alte-seite /neue-seite

    This entry ensures that visitors and search engines are redirected from the old site to the new one.
  3. Test redirects: Once the redirects have been set up, it is important to test them. Check that all old URLs redirect correctly to the corresponding new URLs and make sure that no redirect loops or incorrect redirects occur.
  4. Monitoring after the launch: You should also monitor the performance of the URLs after the redirects have been implemented. Tools such as Google Search Console can help to quickly identify and fix errors such as 404 pages.

4. technical SEO factors are not taken into account

The success of a website relaunch depends not only on content and design, but also on a number of technical aspects that are often overlooked.

Careful checking of URLs, meta data and internal links is crucial to avoid technical SEO problems, which can otherwise lead to serious problems after the relaunch.

  • URLs: Every URL should be cleanly structured, free of unnecessary parameters and optimized for search engines. It should retain the relevant keyword integration and remain clear. More on this in a moment.
  • Meta data: Meta titles and descriptions are crucial for the click-through rate in search results. They must be precise, contain relevant keywords and accurately reflect the content of the page.
  • Internal links: These not only contribute to SEO, but also to user guidance on the page. A careful check ensures that all internal links function correctly and are logically structured to optimize the user experience and internal link power. Don’t forget existing internal links!
  • Security aspects: Check all security aspects, including SSL certificates and HTTPs status.
  • Robots.txt and sitemap: Make sure that the Robots.txt file is configured correctly and that the sitemap is up-to-date and transmitted to search engines without errors.

What a well-structured URL looks like and why it is important

A well-structured URL is clear, concise and informative. It should contain important keywords that reflect the content of the page and have a logical structure that facilitates navigation and understanding of the website hierarchy for both users and search engines.

Good URLs are crucial for SEO as they help search engines understand the context of the page and index it accordingly. They also improve the user experience by being easy to read and remember.

Tips for optimizing the URL structure to improve SEO and optimize user experience

  • Use speaking URLs: Integrate relevant keywords that describe the content of the page.
  • Keep URLs short and concise: Avoid unnecessarily long URLs and complex parameters that could impair readability.
  • Use hyphens to separate words: Hyp hens are accepted by default to separate words in URLs and improve readability.
  • Avoid unnecessary repetition: Make sure that URLs do not contain redundant or irrelevant words.
  • Structure URLs hierarchically: Organize your URLs in a logical hierarchy that reflects the structure of your website and makes it easier for search engines and users to navigate.

URL changes are naturally a good idea in the course of a relaunch, insofar as there is currently potential for optimization. But don’t forget the redirects!

5. inadequate testing and quality assurance

Comprehensive testing before publishing a new website is essential to identify and fix technical errors, design problems and usability issues.

They ensure that all functions work as intended and that the website is displayed correctly in different browsers and on different end devices.

Thorough testing helps minimize the risk of SEO damage from technical flaws and ensures a positive user experience from day one.

Examples of test procedures and tools that can help with this

  • Browser compatibility tests: Tools such as BrowserStack or CrossBrowserTesting make it possible to check the appearance and functionality of the website in different browser environments.
  • Mobile responsiveness tests: Tools such as Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test show whether the website is easy to use on mobile devices.
  • Speed tests: Tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix analyze the loading speed of the website and provide recommendations for improvement.

6. lack of monitoring after the launch

After a website relaunch, it is crucial to continuously monitor performance to ensure that the website is working as expected and having a positive impact on rankings and traffic. This includes monitoring traffic, conversion rates, search engine rankings and user feedback.

Tools and techniques for monitoring and rapid troubleshooting

  • Google Analytics: Provides comprehensive data on website traffic and user behavior. (It is easy to forget the correct migration of the tag here).
  • SEO Spider Screaming Frog: Ideal for creating the migration map, evaluating existing pages and actually all on-page tasks.
  • Google Search Console: Helps to understand the visibility of the website in search results and shows how the website is crawled by Google.
  • Heatmapping tools such as Hotjar or Mouseflow: Provide insights into how users interact with the new website and help to identify usability problems.

FAQs

1. what is the biggest mistake companies make during an SEO relaunch?

The biggest mistake is neglecting 301 redirects and not paying enough attention to content and keywords. These errors can lead to considerable losses in ranking and traffic.

2 How long should an SEO relaunch take?

The duration of an SEO relaunch can vary greatly depending on the size of the website, the complexity of the planned changes and the scope of the preparatory measures.

In general, you should allow several months: one month for planning, two to three months for implementation and at least one month for monitoring and readjustment after the relaunch.

3. what role does the Google Search Console play in the SEO relaunch?

The Google Search Console is an indispensable tool that provides insights into the performance of your website, highlights problems and enables you to improve the visibility of your website.

It helps to identify crawling errors, monitor indexing, analyze search traffic and check the implementation of 301 redirects. See also here: The most common GSC errors & their solution.

4. can I carry out an SEO relaunch without an SEO agency?

Of course, it is possible to carry out an SEO relaunch without external help, especially if you or your team have sufficient knowledge in the areas of web development, SEO and content strategy. If not, it’s better to play it safe with external support.

5 How do I measure the success of my SEO relaunch?

The success of an SEO relaunch can be measured using several KPIs, including positioning in the search results (rankings), organic traffic, dwell time, bounce rate and conversion rate.

Data collected before and after the website relaunch provide the basis for a direct comparison. Tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics are indispensable for analyzing and evaluating the results.

Hannes Kaltofen

Hannes Kaltofen

Gründer & Geschäftsführer

Seit über 7 Jahren in den SERPs unterwegs. Dank SEO konnte Ich das Affiliate Marketing, Blogging und Agenturgeschäft kennelernen und helfe Unternehmen tagtäglich bei ihrer Sichtbarkeit.

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