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When launching a new website there should be several digital marketing items around SEO, Google Analytics, tracking codes, redirects, and other related items that you should be looking over and validating. Here are my top 25 checklist items for launching a website launch for a redevelopment or new design.
1. Google & Bing Webmaster Tools Account Properly linked/Configured for new website 2. Google Analytics base tracking code installed
a. Ensure any test/development UA-IDs are updated to production
b. Ensure any virtual pageviews are firing
c. Ensure any Event tracking is firing
d. Ensure you have no JS errors
e. Ensure Your Goals are configured for new website
f. Ensure your site search configurations have been updated to new website structure
3. Make sure any customizations to your GA setup are well-tested and not throwing errors. You should have a custom QA/Testing plan to validate your installation.
4. Ensure your Title Tags have been updated to reflect your keyword targeting
5. Make sure your Title Tags are unique. For e-commerce products, make sure they are relevant towards the product
6. Check your URL structure and make sure there are no hidden surprises. Run a crawler and look for issues that can create havoc such as infinite loops or very deep URL structures with limited internal links.
7. Make sure all of your products are accessible for search engines. Look for pagination issues that will block a crawler’s access.
8. Ensure your Description tags are updated, unique, and properly reflect the page’s content
9. Ensure other tracking scripts are installed and properly configured
f. 3rd Party PPC Management Software tracking codeEtc…
10. Adwords conversion tracking code, make sure it is in the right locations and pulling transaction/revenue data into Adwords
11. Adwords remarketing code if you use this instead of GA remarketing scripts
12. Make sure you have a well-planned 301 and possible 302 redirect list ready for execution
13. Run a last-minute ranking report to get a last-minute snapshot before change
14. Submit any URL removals to Webmaster Tools
15. Make sure you have an updated XML sitemap and submit it to the WMT account
16. Make sure you update your robots.txt file to represent your new website structure
17. If you have e-commerce feeds, make sure the feed has been updated to use the new URL structure
18. Make sure your destination URLs for PPC and other campaigns have been switched over to the new URL structure
19. Make sure you have any canonical tags properly setup and configured
20. Make sure you have any rich snippets tags properly setup and configured
21. Make sure logos and homepage links point to the domain rather than the index.html or default.aspx pages.
22. Make sure your images are using the proper filenames and alt tags.
23. Make sure your navigation is using proper keywords in the anchors.
24. Make sure your 404 page serves up a unique and trackable URL or title tag: Check this within hours of launch to identify issues and correct.
25. Make sure your custom 404 page serves a 404 server response code rather than a 200 response code.
And here are two more in case the first 25 weren’t enough…
1. Make sure you update any no-index or no-follow links if this is a part of your SEO strategy.
2. Within a day of launch, check the SERPs and make sure new indexing is taking place. Click on several variations or pages/templates and make sure there aren’t issues