Building a new business website is exciting. It’s a revamp for the company online, and something that should encourage growth.
Imagine how upsetting it would be to launch that new site, then all of the sudden the calls, form submissions, sales, etc. you’ve come to expect from the website slow down or stop.
That’s what can happen if you don’t implement redirects, and carefully migrate your website from old to new.
Inputting redirects from any old URLs to the new ones will avoid negative repercussions, and could contribute to a ranking boost.
Consider this when launching a new website, and when selecting the company to design and manage it.
At webFEAT Complete we provide a holistic approach to our client’s online presence. Taking website management off of their plate while driving maximum benefit:
- Building websites in WordPress
- Hosting them on our own fast, ultra-secure servers
- Marketing them so prospective customers can find the business
When launching a new website for a client, here’s how we manage redirects and some other things we look for.
How We Manage Redirects With A New Website Launch
Step 1: Run a Crawl on the Current Site
When a website redesign is set to begin, we run a Screaming Frog crawl on the existing site. We typically pull (export to excel) all of the HTML URLs and find that if those are redirected, they are more than sufficient to eliminate the chance of ranking losses. If you want to go above and beyond, you could redirect images and other file types.
Step 2: Redirect Planning
We then take the Screaming Frog excel sheet and trim it down to 3 columns: current URL, new site URL, and Notes. All of the URLs can be planned out and managed cleanly in this sheet.
With this, we can map out redirects for implementation at launch.
Each old site page should point to its most relevant page on the new site. Pointing every URL to the home page has been said to not pass any ranking value.
Often redirects are needed due to the URL ending changing from .aspx, .html, or .php to a simple /. Or sometimes just an easy-to-miss change like /contact/ to /contact-us/
Step 3: Implementation
We often work in WordPress, so we use a plugin within there (that is compatible with the theme and regularly updated) to implement. Redirection is a good one, Yoast Premium has a redirect function, and there are several others. Alternatively, you can implement it via the .htaccess file (accessible via Yoast in WordPress).
If the redirect is permanent and won’t change-301 permanent redirect
If the redirect is temporary and will change-302 temporary redirect
Usually, I set it to ignore case and slash if the option is there.
You simply put the old URL, where you want it to go on the new site, and submit.
Step 4: Proactive Testing and Relevant Efforts
- Test some of the URLs you just redirected, make sure they’re redirecting properly
- Have a good 404 page to be safe
- A “site:[domain.com]” Google search will show you indexed URLs, good to explore for testing. Broken links in the search results is exactly what we don’t want
- SSL Testing-make sure no loops (http/https, www and non-www)
- Run a Crawl to check for broken links or redirect chains (we use Screaming Frog and semrush)
With that, your redirects are implemented, and you’re on your way to maintaining and improving rankings, while providing site visitors and prospective customers a better experience.
However, there is much more that goes into it on the technical side, and other things from an SEO standpoint you can do to maintain or amplify rankings.
Other Website Launch Items To Be Aware Of/Look For
- Did you change your domain or brand name? You’ll need to update business listings
- SSL errors
- “Too many redirects” sometimes occurs, possible redirect chain or DNS issue
- Old site showing up-DNS replication may take time to show your new website online
- Test forms sometimes their routing will need to be updated, reCAPTCHA updated, etc.
- Update search engines rapidly by submitting the site, sitemap to Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools
- Eventually, delete over time, those no longer getting hits
- If SEO was implemented into the site, make sure everything is appropriately setup at launch (sitemap, indexed pages, meta information, heading structure, much more.)
- Google’s official redirect documentation
Successful, strategically planned launch Oct ’21-Ranking improvement
Failed, unplanned launch Jan ’23-Ranking drop
Let’s Amplify Your Online Presence
We’d love to discuss your situation, review your business online, and see how we can help.