SEO Team – How to test a new website before you launch it.

1. 301 Redirects

Sometimes content is repurposed or gets moved to fit the new navigation structure of a site. If you have an existing site and you are changing the URL structure with your new site, you’ll want to make sure you’ve mapped the old URLs to the new ones.

The Screaming Frog spider mentioned earlier can be run on both the old site and the new. An Excel spreadsheet is a great way to document this effort. Column A has the old URL, and you place the new URL in Column B. Each row represents a redirect from old to new. On launch day, it’s time to execute.

2. Title Tags/Meta Data

This may sound like old news to some, but this easy-to-fix mistake happens every day. Make sure every page has a title tag, and make sure they are unique.

Also make sure each has a meta description. Although these snippets used in search aren’t necessarily a ranking signal, they will help a searcher decide whether to click-through or not.

3. XML Sitemaps/HTML Sitemap

Make sure your new website has an accurate site map in both XML and HTML format. You can upload your sitemap to Search Console, however most CMSs such as WordPress will automatically build a sitemap for you.

4. Analytics

Make sure Google Analytics or the analytics package you’re using, is set up and ready to go from day one so you can measure and analyse traffic to your site.

5. Structured markup

If you’re using Schema markup or any other structured data, is it rendering correctly in SERPs? You can check any errors and how to fix them in the structured markup section of Search Console.

 

6. Accelerated Mobile Pages

If you’re using Google’s AMP project to provide mobile searchers with faster loading web pages, you need to make sure these are rendering properly. Here’s a guide to implementing Google AMP on your website.

7. Social media integration

Do the social media icons on the site go to the correct pages? Do you have the right buttons and social plugins installed for what you are trying to accomplish and what you want the user to be able to do? (For example, does it ‘share a post’ rather than ‘Like’ your page on Facebook.)

8. SERP Display

Are the search engines displaying your pages correctly in the search engine results pages? Did you write proper meta descriptions, but they aren’t being used? Thoroughly investigate your visibility in Search Console.

9. PPC Setup

Make sure if you’re running any PPC campaigns that they’re set up and ready to go with the site launch. To avoid a lapse in service, if you have a Google PPC rep, you can set and pause all your campaigns to the new URLs prior to launch, and instead of the ads getting disapproved, your rep can approve them manually.

A part of the article posted on ClickZ here.

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