6 things to do for SEO before your site goes live

If you have ever launched or managed a website, you'll know how stressful it can be. Here's a helpful SEO list to set you on your way.

By Noman Kenneth, 19 July 2018

Launching new websites can be an all-out exciting while simultaneously be a formidable task for everyone involved. The slightest technical hitch can turn into major errors or present data which doesn’t paint a true picture of the website.

We’ve came up with 6 things to check from an SEO perspective before your site goes live to give it the best possible chance of getting ranked and preserving existing keyword ranks. This list is by no means exhaustive but can be looked over in the urgency of other on-going tasks.

301 Redirects

301s are one of the most important aspects of a new site launch. There are a number of ways to approach them depending on the size of the website.

After figuring out which content is popular and which pages are ranked, the SEO’er (is that a word?) alongside other digital marketers which pages can be pointed to similar pages on the new website. Smaller sites can be mapped to the new URL and site structure much easier and don’t always require the first time, however this is particularly important for larger websites where migrating over vast swathes of content may be turn out to be too time consuming.

These require a bit of manual work and involve the person doing the 301s to know the user base well in order to work out the “search intent” of users for the best results.

We highly recommend using Screaming Frog, however there are other spiders out there that can do that job too. Crawl the website and use an excel sheet to document where the old URL (Column A) will be getting mapped to on the new website (Column B) – all you’ve got to do now is put them in place before the website goes live.

Titles/Meta Data

Yawn, old news, eh? Well not really!

While Google has well and truly moved away from keyword stuffed titles and Meta descriptions, both these are still one of common places where Google and other search engines pull information from to display within the search results to provide visitors a sneak preview of the page.

As a general rule, make sure your titles and Meta description describe what is on the page and are unique to each page on your website. If you’ve got pagination set up for pages like news and blog, then you’re exempt from this rule!

XML Sitemaps/ HTML Sitemaps

Accurate XML and HTML sitemaps are vitally important for search engines; the list allows the search engines to crawl more efficiently and intelligently. The different between XML and HTML sitemaps is that the first one created for search engines whereas the latter one is created for humans!

Tracking Tools

The beauty of digital marketing is that everything is trackable… well mostly!

Make sure your Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster tools are set up and ready to go! It’ll make life much easier to find what landing pages and content is working and where user drop exit pages are.

Structured Data Mark Up

Some information which is perfectly obvious to us means absolutely nothing to search engines, that’s when structured data mark-up makes life easy for SEO’ers

Data, such as address, services, and phone numbers are added to the page’s HTML mark up in order to make it easy for search engines to identify such information and create rich text snippets for display results.

They can be a bit hit and miss sometimes; and we’ve also had occasions where Google doesn’t provide a service to product category. Regardless, one to have on the list!

Google Search Console

Search Console is a set of tools for SEO’ers to monitor aspects of their website. This includes crawl errors, website traffic, and performance. It also allows you to submit your website to Google to be indexed and discover the Google last crawled a specific URL on your site.

It’s not very thrilling to start off with but once the data flows in, it can give an insight into what’s going on with your website.

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