6 Tips for Good SEO Before you Launch Your Website

Website Launch ChecklistLaunching a website is not as simple as redirecting your Domain Name Server (DNS). There are many activities that must be completed to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of your search engine ranking. If you desire good SEO results, make sure this list of activities take place.

The following is a list of 6 good SEO housekeeping tasks to be completed before or during your website launch. The items on this list do not need to be done in this order.

  1. Create an XML Sitemap
    XML sitemaps help search engines identify the pages on your site. You’ll need to update your sitemap regularly to include new content.  If you have created a WordPress site, try using the Google site map generatorplugin. XML Sitemap Generator is anothersource for generating a quality XML sitemap.
  2. Install Google Analytics Code
    Check your old site and make sure to insert the same analytics code in your new site. This will ensure your reporting is not interrupted. Don’t forget to check your documentation for which goals your company is tracking. Then make sure to change out the URLs for your business goals.
  3. Check Your Robots.txt File
    Your robots.txt file is often set to block search engine spiders during website development. Make sure you check this file and that it is not blocking robots at launch.
  4. Put Your Page Redirects into Place
    Invariably your new site will have different page URLs than your old site. This might be as simple as www.mysite.com/services becoming www.mysite.com/seo-consulting-services.  You’ll want to make sure that during your website transition links to old pages get permanently redirected to the new page URLs. This is similar to telly the post office where you’ve permanently moved and to send your snail mail to the new address.  The best way to do this is with 301 redirects within your htaccess file.
  5. URL Canonicalization
    This is actually a pretty simple, but important step for ensuring that your website resolves to the same address and that your analytics count page views correctly. In addition, the search engines might ding you if you don’t take care of this as they’ll note your site as having duplicate content. You’ll need to determine whether you want your site to resolve to www.mysite.com or mysite.com.
  6. Submit Your Site to Search Engines
    An important step for launch is to submit your newly developed site to the search engines. You can use a tool, but it might be best to manually submit your site to the major search engines like Google and Bing (handles Yahoo as well)

Each of these items is important to the success of your website launch and the continuity of good SEO. SEO is an ongoing effort, but making sure these website launch items are complete will make ongoing SEO efforts much easier.