When Frasca Digital designs new websites for our clients, we have a detailed, technical SEO checklist for new websites that developers can follow before, during and after a new website is launched.
If you’re a developer, you’ll love this article because we’re just gonna keep this short and sweet. This new website launch guide is for beginning SEO folks, and those skilled with SEO and creating new websites alike.
We hope you find it useful!
Technical SEO: Before Website Launch
Think about what it is you’re hoping to accomplish with this investment in reimagining your website. Whatever else you hope to gain, you definitely want to protect the value and equity your site has built up over time. You don’t want to lose current rankings, link value, or traffic — and you don’t want to spend months to recover or rebuild them, either.
- SSL Certification Setting
- Google Search Console Registration
- Harvest terms set in HTTPS for Apollo
- Current top site pages & queries identification
- Current site crawling
- New HTTPS Web setting w/ updated internal links
- New HTTPS Web canonicalization
- New HTTPS Domain canonicalization
- Redirects preparation
- New XML Sitemap Generation
- Robots.txt preparation
- Campaigns updates preparation
- Disavow Configuration
- Geolocation Configuration
- URLs Parameters Configuration
- CDN Configuration Preparation
- Ads & 3rd-Party Extension Preparation
- GA Configuration Preparation
- GSC Configuration Preparation
- Apollo Confirmation Preparation
Technical SEO: During Website Launch
At launch time, follow along with the go-live checklist and perform any possible quality control checks of the work you have done on the staging site to date. Don’t give the go-ahead for launch if any of your on-page work or redirects are not in place or tested. It is much easier to slightly delay launch than to undo damage later or – exponentially worse – to have to roll back to the old website (ouch).
- HTTPS site launch
- HTTPS crawling validation
- New HTTPS site redirects validation
- Official external links update
- XML Sitemap Release & Submission
- Ads & 3rd-Party Extension Validation
- HTTPS Crawling & Indexation Monitoring
- HTTPS Rankings & Traffic Monitoring
- Robots.txt configuration validation
Technical SEO: After Website Launch
- New HTTPS version Web structure validation
- New HTTPS version internal linking
- New HTTPS version canonicalization
- New HTTPS version domain canonicalization
- HTTP to HTTPS redirect implementation
- Web Analytics Configuration
- SSL Server Configuration Validation
- Robots.txt Update
- Web Analytics
Technical SEO Variables for New Websites
Additional technical SEO variables to keep an eye on when you launch a new website:
- Check Redirects: Your first step is to go back to your redirect file, old sitemap, and old site crawl to test and ensure that all old site URLs perform 301 redirects to new site URLs, as you intended.
- Dev-to-Live Audit: Make sure that all pages and specific on-page optimization carried over from the dev site to the live site. This is particularly important for websites with a lot of dynamic content, as sometimes databases and tables get missed in the migration.
- Code & Performance Validation: Don’t assume that the live website will perform the same as the staging site did. Run the homepage and key pages through the mobile-friendly testing tool or Lighthouse audits to ensure the site achieves passing grades.
- Submit XML Sitemaps: Once you are satisfied with your redirects working properly and the implementation of SEO on the live site, it is time to submit the XML sitemap. Ensure that the dynamic sitemap includes the desired full set of destination URLs.If you are using a static sitemap, generate a new one now, audit it, and submit it.
- Monitoring: It feels good to be done with the hard work involved in SEO for the relaunch and the migration overall. Now, it’s important to shift your mindset to a monitoring phase. For the next 1-2 months, closely monitor Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to watch for reported 404 errors, crawl errors, and any HTML on-page issues detected. Tackle these quickly.
- Ongoing SEO: Remember that SEO is not a one-time thing. Once the dust has settled and the monitoring phase is in motion, you can go back to your original plan and goals and measure the performance of the new site.
As it’s been said there can be many different things you need to do depending on your industry.
Now that you have this handy checklist, you can sit back, relax and plan the best day to launch a new website. Heck, get a new website press release while you’re at it to get some eye-balls on that beautiful new site of yours 😉
If you’d like to learn about some additional steps you should take after launching a website, check out our thorough steps regarding setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console for a new website. These are an absolute must-have for any new website.
How to Add a new website in Google Analytics
With every new website, there must be a new Google Analytics account setup for it.
Google Analytics is the most popular site analytics solution to track visitors and find the related data of how a user use your site.
This tutorial provides the steps to add a new website in Google Analytics. The steps are pretty easy to follow, but we can also help if needed.
Step #1: Setup New Google Analytics Account
Head over to https://www.google.com/analytics/ and Click on the link “Start for free” with your Gmail account.
Log in by clicking on “Sign in to Analytics” if you are already signed in your browser.
Step #2: Go to Admin Section
Log in with your Gmail account and Click on “Admin” at the bottom left.
Once there, you can:
- Create an account (category) for a list of websites
- Create Property (website)
- Create a view for additional tracking
Step #3: Create Property
Click on Create Account to start from the beginning or click “Create property” for your site.
Step #4: Get Tracking ID
Fill the details and Uncheck Data Sharing Settings option if you do not want to share these data with Google.
Now, Click on “Get Tracking ID”. Accept the Google Analytics Terms of Service.
Step #5: Get Data and Sync Google Search Console
Success! Now you can start tracking user activity data that is essential for growing and measuring the performance of your website.
Add Your New Website to Search Console
Yep, there’s one more thing we recommend doing after you launch a brand new website or blog: setting up Google Search Console.
- Step #1 – Log into Webmaster Tools. If you already have Google Analytics or Google Adwords setup for your site, you should log in with the same account details.
- Step #2 – Enter the URL of your website and click Add a Property
- Step #3 – You will then have to verify your website
How to Verify Your Website with Google Search Console
After adding a site to Search Console you can verify in several different ways:
1.) Upload HTML verification file
If you have access to your site’s root directory, you can upload an HTML file for Search Console verification. Once you select this option, you will need to download the HTML file and upload it to the location specified in the instructions. After uploading the file, select Verify to complete the process.
2.) Verify through domain name provider
To verify your site through the domain provider, choose your domain provider from the list or choose Other for instructions on creating a DNS TXT record. If your provider cannot create a DNS TXT record you can create a CNAME record instead.
3.) Insert a meta tag to your homepage
If you have experience with HTML, you can add a provided verification code into the <head> of your homepage. Once the code has been added, saved, and published, you can return to Search Console and select Verify to complete the process.
Adding Google Analytics tracking code
If you have a Google Analytics account for reporting on your site and you have the GA tracking code within the <head> of your homepage, you can add a tracking code through your Analytics property.
Using Google Tag Manager container snippet
If you use Google Tag Manager for your site, have “View, Edit, and Manage” permissions enabled in your account, and your GTM code is placed after the <body> tag on your site, you can use this method to verify your site in Search Console.
Adding Subdomains & Subdirectories
It’s important to add all versions of your domains (http vs https, www vs non-www) as separate properties that you can manage, even if one fully redirects to another.
The below example URLs would be considered different to search engines and should be added as separate properties if relevant:
If your website has any subdomains, subdirectories specific to language, countries, or content, or staging servers, you can get more specified data by adding these as separate properties.
This will allow you to set geographic targeting, define sitemaps, and more.
Examples of sub-domains/directories that could be added as separate properties:
If you are already verified for a domain, you are automatically verified for all subdomains of that domain. If you are already verified for a site, you are automatically verified for all subdirectories of that site.