So, you’re about to launch a brand new website. Congrats! However, if you make any of these common mistakes with your new website, you could potentially cause a big drop in your organic traffic. With over 200 ranking factors, Google takes more than just your website’s content into consideration. Technical issues, crawl errors, incorrect redirections, poor design, or outdated tactics are just a few of the factors that could lead to a drop in traffic from search post-launch.
10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Launching a New Website
- Incorrect robots.txt file: If you’re not familiar with robots.txt files, they are used to help tell search engines which pages and sections of your site you want them to ignore. If you create it incorrectly and accidentally disallow them from crawling major pages of your site, you can hurt your organic visibility big time!
- No index tag: Meta=no index tags are placed on staging environments so that search engines can’t crawl the site before it’s live and ready. However, if this tag isn’t removed when the site is pushed live, you’d be blocking your entire new site from being indexed in organic search results.
- Not implementing redirections: When you were building your new site, did you omit pages from your old site? Did you make changes to the URL structure of some of your pages? If so, then these URL changes will result in 404 errors when the new site launches if they are not properly redirected. These have both SEO and usability repercussions and should be fixed ASAP!
- Implementing temporary redirects instead of 301s: Speaking of redirects, make sure that you implement 301 permanent redirects rather than temporary redirects. Unlike 301 redirects, temporary redirects don’t pass any SEO value from one URL to another.
- Changes in URL structure: Google considers pages that are closer to the root domain to be more important, and therefore have more SEO value. By changing your URL structure, you might accidentally hurt the SEO performance of your old pages as you carry them over to the new site. For example, if you had pages of your old site located at the root, ex. yourwebsite.com/page-name/, that were then moved farther away from the root during the URL re-structuring phase of your new site build, ex. www.yourwebsite.com/new-overview-page/page-name/, the SEO value of that page could be jeopardized.
- Spammy SEO tactics: If you’ve been using outdated or “spammy” SEO methods in order to drive traffic to your brand new site, like paying for backlinks, you could end up being penalized by Google. Be sure to also steer clear from sneaky hidden pages and text that is colored the same as the background.
- Content changes: Is your new website filled with thin, duplicate, or keyword-stuffed content? If so, it probably won’t perform well in search engines. Invest in continuous, quality content that offers value to your visitors.
- Not mobile friendly: If your new website isn’t “mobile friendly”, it won’t rank as well in mobile search results. Google officially announced this mobile algorithm update earlier this year, so make sure to plan your new site accordingly or else you’ll be a victim of “mobilegeddon”!
- “Orphan” pages: If some pages of your new site are difficult to find using your navigation or internal links structure and are seemingly “orphans”, Google may consider these to be spammy Doorway Pages. They will lose their SEO value and could potentially result in a larger-scale Google penalty.
- Poor UX: If your brand new site was built in a not-so-user-friendly way, users may react by staying on your site for only a short time or bouncing off your site completely and returning to the search results to find a different website. Over time, these “short clicks” and other usability metrics tell Google that your website isn’t satisfying the users for the queries that they are typing in.
Have you been affected by any of these mistakes when launching a new site? Can you think of any that we didn’t include in this list? We’d love to hear more about your experience!