New Site Launch is the Perfect Time for SEO

06.08.15 // Mike Nierengarten

Redesigning a new site requires a ton of effort. A site redesign requires coordinating marketing teams, project managers, designers, and developers. It requires getting buy-off from multiple stakeholders across departments. A site redesign is a large and expensive undertaking, often pulling budgets from other marketing channels. Brainrider recommends a budget of $25,000-100,000 for a new B2B website. Despite the substantial investment in design, site architecture, coding, and content planning & development, marketers would be wise to engage in SEO during the redesign process.

Brainrider inexplicably suggests SEO should be thrown in at no charge because most CMSs “now handle most of the technical side of SEO.” This statement very nearly implies SEO is automated in the redesign process. This is a significant misunderstanding.

SEO goes well beyond technical aspects such as redirects and directory creation. For example, SEOs identify and prioritize content gaps in your site design from a keyword perspective, which can significantly improve site performance upon relaunch. Even from a strictly technical standpoint, no CMS is going to verify all of your previous URLs are properly 301ed to the corresponding URL on the new site . Trusting a CMS, or a developer for that matter, to address your site’s SEO makes little sense.

Conversely, many SEO improvements require help from designers and developers. Improving site speed, incorporating responsive design, and updating site architecture all require implementation from the design/development team. SEOs have a unique skill set – keyword research, SERPs analysis, and site diagnostics – focused on increasing organic traffic and rankings for your target terms, but few SEOs are great coders or designers. Similarly, few coders or designers are great SEOs. A site redesign is the perfect opportunity to bring these different proficiencies together.

Furthermore, you are going to want to know the impact of your new site launch. Benchmarking is essential to identify if any of your rankings tank or organic traffic falls off the map. For example, an Obility client updated site content based off recommendations from the product marketing team. As a result, the content on the site shifted from targeting keywords frequently searched by the client’s target audience to newly launched technical categories with limited search volume. Organic traffic plummeted 30%. Because the client had benchmarked search impressions, traffic to SEO landing pages, and rankings prior to the changes, the client was able to quickly identify the issue and recover.

After investing 10s of thousands of dollars in site updates, you are going to want to demonstrate an ROI on that investment. One clear way of showing improvement is by an uptick in revenue from organic traffic.

By incorporating an SEO strategy in the design process and benchmarking past site performance, you can show how the new site cost is justified through an increase in organic visitors, improved conversion rate, and better lead quality. In order to report on increased revenue, lead quality, or SEO page conversion rate, tracking needs to be properly in place. Working with an SEO in the design process will hold your design and development team accountable for adding tracking parameters and cookies so that you can track site performance within web analytics, marketing automation reporting, and your CRM.

Investing in SEO during redesign makes financial sense. You are already paying for a developer and designer to make site changes. Why wait until after the redesign to engage in SEO? In doing so, you are likely to have to reengage with a developer or designer to implement the SEO recommendations.

If you are so inclined to ignore this advice, please consider the following when redesigning your new site (it will make the SEOs job that much easier down the road):

  • Benchmark your monthly organic traffic (adjusted for any seasonal fluctuations) and conversion rate for your top SEO landing pages. Benchmark your current rankings and impressions for your target keywords
  • Verify an SEO page exists targeting each of your SEO keywords
  • Ensure tracking code is in place such as Google Analytics, Google & Bing Webmaster Tools, and Google Tag Manager
  • Ensure forms send lead source information into marketing automation platform and CRM
  • Review hidden copy such as image alt text, transcriptions, and text in JavaScript functions
  • Include privacy policy/terms and contact us page within site architecture and navigation
  • Review site speed. Target 0.5-2 second load time per page
  • Check for broken links following site launch and verify your 404 page

About Mike Nierengarten

Mike has been in online marketing since 2004 and started Obility in February of 2011. Mike is a numbers geek who feels more comfortable staring at Excel spreadsheets & Google Ads Editor than sitting in lengthy meetings. Mike saw Obility as an opportunity to rethink SEM management and focus solely on the unique needs of B2B clients. Mike enjoys board sports, exploring restaurants, and lively discussions about the economy. He is also a passionate traveler. His long-term goals focus on spurring economic growth and addressing inequality in the Portland community. View all Mike Nierengarten’s posts >