This is going to be a very practical step-by-step guide. This is also more advanced. You need to have some understanding of keywords and website analytics to follow this guide. If you do, this will be a synch. If you don’t, read the guide anyway and make sure that whoever is creating your website knows this.
When you get a new website created, it’s not the same website as your current one. Meaning, it will be created on a fresh WordPress installation. Anything that you want to keep needs to be manually moved over to the new website, and anything you don’t want to keep gets left behind.
This process can be super risky for your business if you’ve had your website for a few years and have built up some great organic traffic through keywords on all of your pages.
When you get fresh branding and copywriting, all those keywords that Google has been analyzing for years also get thrown out the window and that can majorly drop your traffic right after your new website launch.
Here are the steps I take to ensure the website continues to get organic search traffic:
Step 1: Out With The Old & In With The New
If you’re shedding parts of your business that have previously given you lots of traffic, the first step is to accept that you’re messaging is changing and that you have the desire to grow into something new. If you’ve been focused on tarot card readings for the last 3 years and wrote a lot on tarot, but are now moving into grief counselling, accept that you’ll begin shifting your message.
This means that instead of having keywords on your homepage which have previously generated a ton of organic traffic for you, you’ll need to populate the homepage, and other pages with your new message.
This doesn’t mean you entirely throw out the old keywords, it just means that you can’t keep your website title and page titles exactly the same as before. They need to be in alignment with the new message.
Step 2: What Are You Ranking For Right Now?
Analyze what keywords your website is currently ranking for. Use Google Analytics to see what people have been searching to get to your site, and go through your pages to see what terms you’re using in titles and that are showing up over and over again.
Step 3: Find Your New Keywords
Next, you’ll need to brainstorm at least 10-15 words and phrases that represent what you do. Then you’ll need to research them into a keyword research tool in order to choose the right terms that are actually being searched for. Are people searching for “Intuitive grief counselling” or “spiritually lead grief counselling”? These are only examples, but with a keyword research tool you can find out the right keywords. You’ll type in your 10-15 words and phrases and then the tool will give you a long list of suggested keywords with different rankings.
Step 4: Write Them Into Your Copy
Incorporate those keywords throughout your new copywriting. Different pages should use different keywords and terms and they should be used throughout the body text, as titles on images and as headings and subheadings.
Make sure you go back to step 2 and ensure that you continue to use terms that you’ve ranked for previously. After all, you’ll keep your blog archive and most likely products/services that relate to it, so make sure you keep using those terms throughout the website.
Step 5: Set Up The Technical Side of Things
Install the Yoast SEO plugin on your new website and choose a keyword for each page. Then set the meta description, title and URL for each page. At the same time you do this, generate an XML sitemap (the Yoast plugin allows you to do this) and have that submitted to Google, so Google can see your new website.
Step 6: Redirect Old Links
Make a list of every single URL that was on your old website. Try to keep URLS the same in the new website. For example, if your work with me page was /web-design-services and you’re keeping those services, then keep that same string on the new website.
For all of the pages that you’re leaving behind with the old website, create a redirect, linking back to the most similar page on the new website. For example, if you had 6 opt-ins on the old website, but on the new website you are starting fresh with 1, make sure you redirect all the old opt-in pages to the new opt-in page. This way, if you’ve had links on guest posts or articles or old social media posts throughout the entire internet, those links will all still work.
Along the same lines, you can also install a broken link checking plugin to ensure that there are no broken links on your new website.
Step 7: Don’t Stress About It
Don’t take analytic data too seriously until at least 6 weeks have passed since your new website launch. By this time Google will have had a chance to completely reorganize your website’s data in their databases.
Overall, taking any of these steps during your website creation process isn’t obvious, and if you have a really great designer/developer you probably won’t know if they’re doing this or not. We do it, so ask your developer, designer and copywriter to do it too.
I don’t believe SEO is the big be-all or end-all for your business success, but if you’ve been getting some good organic traffic because of your years of consistency, you wouldn’t want to see that go just because you launched a new fantastic website.
This also sets you up to start getting organic traffic on your new topics.