Make sure your nice new shiny website gets the best start in life. If you’re transferring over to a new site make sure you don’t lose your hard earned position in the search engines.
Search engines don’t like shocks but if you follow certain guidelines you’ll quickly get re-established and hopefully improve your performance.
General SEO Good Practice for new websites
1. Ensure Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are filled out in the CMS and formatted in line with recommended SEO practice.
2. Create a Sitemap in XML format and upload to the server.
3. Set up a Google Account for the site
4. Set up and verify the site in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). Make sure to register the site correctly as either http://example.com or http://www.example.com as these are regarded as 2 different sites.
5. Add the sitemap in Webmaster Tools.
6. Activate “Fetch as Google” in GWT to get site indexed immediately.
7. Set up Google Analytics account and install GA in the site.
8. Link Webmaster Tools and Analytics accounts.
Additional checks for Migrating to a New Website
1. Copy over the Title tags and Meta Descriptions to the new pages if relevant.
2. Set up 301 Redirects to permanently redirect the old pages to the corresponding new pages.
3. Don’t redirect all old pages to the Home Page to avoid 404s, as this is not good SEO practice.
4. Only map old pages to the home page if no other alternative.
5. If site is registered in GWT then check it is registered correctly as either http://example.com or http://www.example.com. If it has been done incorrectly then add the right site to GWT and set this as the “Preferred Domain”.
6. Review GWT to monitor unwanted 404’s.