One of the most common questions that we are asked is how a client can retain their organic rankings on Google when launching a new website, as it is surprisingly easy to undo all of your previous hard work, especially if you make a number of basic errors.
Jump 2 IT Media has been contacted by many companies in the past to see if we can resolve organic decreases after a new website has been launched, whilst we have also been tasked with ensuring that a client’s new website is geared up for SEO purposes ahead of it going live, and now we would like to share a number of essential requirements when moving from one website to another.
So, if you want to retain, or even improve, your current organic rankings on Google once your new website is live then continue reading.
If the URLs on your new website are changing then it is essential that 301 redirects are put in place on your old URLs. This informs Google that the page still exists but it has simply been moved to a new location, allowing for the history and authority of the old page to be retained and passed onto the new URL. In addition, all historical links into the page, that may feature on directories, blogs or any other site, will still lead into your website thanks to the 301 redirect that is in place.
Example – If an internal page within your site is changing from www.yoursite.co.uk/old_url to www.yoursite.co.uk/products/old_url then you will need to place a 301 redirect on the www.yoursite.co.uk/old_url to pass on the organic rankings, backlinks and history over to the new page.
In short, not putting 301 redirects in place will result in you losing your organic rankings on Google so, if your URLs are changing, then adding in the redirects should be your priority.
Add Sitewide Redirect from Non ‘www.’ to ‘www. URLs:
Only one version of the domain should be accessible to Google to avoid any confusion over which one it should index. So, if your website is visible using both https://yourwebsite.co.uk and https://www.yourwebsite.co.uk, then we recommend that a simple sitewide redirect is put in place on your non ‘www.’ URL which leads users into the ‘www.’ version. This will ensure that Google indexes the correct version of the site once the new one has launched.
The same applies with ‘http’ too, so make sure that these URLs lead to the https://www.’ version of your pages.
If your website is achieving healthy organic rankings then there’s a very high chance that this is down to the quality of the content that features within your pages. So, if you are thinking of removing this copy on your new website to make it more modern and attractive, there is a realistic chance that this will lead to your organic results decreasing due to the reduced level of on-site SEO that features within your new pages.
As the old SEO saying goes “content is king”, so think twice before replacing it. Of course, there is likely to be room for you to improve the copy on your new website to make it more streamlined and flow more effectively, especially if the old site contains a high amount of copy. However, just remember that the new content will need to be well optimised, contain your targeted keyword terms and associated terms, and provide good internal linking into your key pages for it to have a positive organic impact.
Other Important Elements:
Make sure that your new webpages include all of the SEO essentials. This includes keyword focused H1 and H2 tags, Meta titles, Meta Descriptions and Meta keywords, which can all be transferred over from your existing site, especially if they are helping to produce positive organic visibility for your pages.
Also, it is important that your new website includes a Google Sitemap file, whilst we also strongly recommend that you include any Analytics tracking code from your current site over to the new site to ensure that all visitor data continues to be tracked once it has launched.
It is also worth remembering that Google will shortly be turning off its Google Universal tracking to focus on GA4. If you haven’t yet made the switch, we recommend you do so ahead of the 1st July cut-off deadline.
Contact Jump 2 IT Media
If you are looking to launch a new bespoke website design and want to ensure that your organic results are not negatively impacted, contact the Jump 2 IT Media team today on 01283 430 260 and we will be happy to assist you during the process.