What are some of the best-practices to follow when you decide to build a new site from the ground up?
Will you be using your current domain or creating a new one and do you expect to retain your SEO authority, SERP ratings (Search Engine Results Page) and organic search rankings?
There could be several reasons for a change in your website or domain. Maybe you are re-branding your business or you want to shorten your URL. It could be that you are using old technology, or your site code is too antiquated, or you are merging divisions or businesses.
This will probably involve migrating to a new domain name server (DNS), a new hosting or a different content development platform. For instance, a current site on Wix being redesigned and moved to WordPress or hosting on GoDaddy and moving to A2 Hosting.
While I am not here to go through the technical details, I can share with you that you need to have a best-practices blueprint in-place.
- Do your due diligence and make sure that your domain has a clean past, your site links are pointing to the right place and not to your old site.
- Discuss with your migration team the affects of your SERP if you want to change your menu structure assuming you are keeping your domain name.
- Use a service to look at the history of what pages are being displayed and take a snapshot of your SEO benchmarks to compare before and after.
- Look at your backlinks using a backlink check tool and search performance with Google analytics and Google Search Console and Google Tag Manager.
- With any change, notify Google.
- Make sure all your social media platforms, PPC and media have updated information.
- If you use emails associated with your domain XXX@DOMAIN.com, use forwarding until all your contacts and clients have been notified and have updated your information. Check all your contact forms and email marketing services and email signatures.
- Make sure all your redirects are working. Add redirects from your old domain to your new one.
- If you change your directory / menu structure you need to update with Google. If this is not done Google will penalize you, which could create a big problem after you launch affecting your page rankings (someone doing a search and not finding you under your keywords).
- Update all your social media platforms.
- Test, test, and test. Ask friends to test your site and use Google Search Console to check your sites health.
- If you have changed your domain name, keep the old domain name live for a few weeks to make sure your redirects are functioning as they should. Then shut it down. Google will penalize you for duplicate content.
- If you replicate your site structure on your new site and then change the design, this could negatively affect your SEO.
- If you are changing from a HTTP to HTTPS (SSL certificate), make sure your team adds it to the Google Search Console.
And lastly, if you do not have an SEO migration expert on staff, then hire one to work alongside your design, development and launch team.