Using this checklist, 4 out of 5 websites we have relaunched have maintained or improved rankings. The others have come back after a short time with some promotion.
1. SEO Planning
- Research & identify keywords with the most opportunity for ROI
- Create site-map with target keywords (to guide content development) for each page. We include buy and about terms for all “inbound” pages (not including about us, contact us, etc).
- Competitive analysis to see what your competition is ranking for
- Ensure your writer is trained in sales writing, SEO writing, and writing for the web.
- Optimize content (for people first and search engines second).
- Utilize keywords, unique selling propositions, benefit statements, feature statements, attention grabbing headers, and calls to action.
- Ensure every page has unique title and description
- No images as headers or navigation. (Try Cufon or TextKit)
- Microformats / rich snippets for address, reviews, products, etc
- Phone number at top and address in footer
- Address on contact page
- Technology should meet SEO best practices:
- Canonical URLs, if needed
- Robots.txt file
- W3C compliant
- No indexing errors
- Search engine friendly URLs
- Site loads fast
- Customized 404 page
- Single H1 per page, not wrapped around logo
- Dynamic XML and/or HTML site map
- Map old URLs to new URLs and set up 301 redirects to tell Google that pages have moved
- Make sure robots.txt file is set to allow indexing
- Create webmaster accounts with 3 major search engines and submit XML site map
- Harden and secure site (WordPress tips here).
- Backup & monitoring solution
4. Submit Site to Search Engines
- Ensure the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Bing) are properly indexing your site and stay up to date with any changes made on your site.
- Ensure your business citations are identical to your website contact information across important directories such as Yelp!, Insider Pages, Glass Door, etc, and your industry directories.
- Update accounts on Google+, Yahoo! and Bing, ensuring contact information is identical.
- Baseline current Search Engine Rank Positions (SERPs)
- Install Google Analytics and configure for goal tracking
- Setup SERP tracking software
- Provide follow up report on SERPs, traffic, and other important KPI 2-4 weeks after launch