Website Relaunch: A Guide for Nexus Clients

You’ve decided to do a site-wide overhaul, but aren’t sure how it will impact SEO. Never fear! We’ve put together a guide to walk you through the critical steps of relaunching your website. If you have specific questions about any of the steps in this list, your Account Manager will be happy to help.

What types of changes have an SEO impact?

Any change to the website has the potential to impact SEO — however, the biggest changes that can impact SEO performance are changes to the parts of the site Google can “read.” We’ll explain a few of the key ones here and how they impact SEO:

URL changes

This is the single biggest thing that can impact your SEO. Your page’s URL is like the page’s name or identity in Google’s mind. If you change the URL without properly redirecting, it would be like handing someone a copy of The Great Gatsby that you had retitled The Roaring 20s Were Wild without letting them know. When their other friends recommend The Great Gatsby (or, in SEO terms, when other sites link to the old URL without a redirect in place), your book recipient wouldn’t know it was the same book you gave them. We want to avoid that!

Changes to H2s,H3s, or image alt text

This can have a negative impact on your best-performing pages, as these are what Google “reads” to understand what the page is about. To continue the book analogy, this would be like trying to understand a textbook without chapters, section headers, or captions. We want to preserve these page elements on the new site so that Google can continue to smoothly understand the site’s content.

Site speed and mobile-friendliness

Google increasingly prioritizes sites that load quickly and are usable for searchers on mobile. Any site relaunch should take the technical performance of the site into account.

Changes that are less important for SEO

Some website elements can provide a better or worse customer experience but have very little impact on SEO. These types of changes include:

  • Using a new blog template (assuming URLs and text formatting is preserved)
  • Adding a chatbot
  • Adding additional calls to action

What needs to be done before the new website goes live?

Set up your robots.txt correctly

After arriving at a website but before spidering it, the search crawler will look for a robots.txt file. If it finds one, the crawler will read that file first before continuing through the page. Because the robots.txt file contains information about how the search engine should crawl, the information found there will instruct further crawler action on this particular site. If the robots.txt file does not contain any directives that disallow a search crawler’s activity (or if the site doesn’t have a robots.txt file), it will proceed to crawl other information on the site.

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Ensure you have a sitemap

You can use an XML sitemap to make sure Google can find and crawl all pages you deem essential on your website. An XML sitemap contains all the important pages of a site to help Google determine its structure.

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Create a redirect plan

Determine the new location for all existing pages on the website so you can put redirects into place after pushing the new website live. Redirects will prevent any loss of existing online authority during the relaunch process.

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Transition tracking and plugins

Bring over any tracking codes or plugins to the new website such as:

  • HubSpot forms or integrations
  • Google Tag Manager
  • Google Analytics (Universal Analytics and/or GA4)
  • Etc.

What needs to be done immediately following the website relaunch?

Check all 301 redirects

Double-check that all 301 redirects are functioning correctly to prevent any loss of online authority or 404 errors. This is the most important step to preserving SEO performance, so don’t skip it!

Ensure noindex and nofollow tags are removed

View your website’s source code to ensure noindex or nofollow meta tags are removed to prevent indexing or crawling issues. This ensures pages can seamlessly show up in search results pages, and that SEO “link juice” is passed correctly through links around the site.

Reindex pages via Search Console

Submit core product and content pages for indexing via Google Search Console to speed up the re-indexing process.

Double-check how Google views your pages

Google provides free tools which measure the speed of a webpage and how it will be rendered by Google’s search crawler. Run your website pages through these tools to identify any page speed issues after your website goes live.

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  • We recommend Google Lighthouse. Learn more about this tool here.
  • Google Search Console can also give you more information about how Google views your page performance, mobile-friendliness, and indexability.

Monitor for issues

Check the website regularly for the first 2 weeks after it goes live to identify any issues that arise during the relaunch process such as:

  • Tracking issues in Google Analytics or external tools
  • Crawl errors in Moz or Google Search Console
  • Indexing issues in Google Search Console
  • Potential manual actions in Google Search Console

Google Analytics 4: Information and Next Steps for Nexus Clients

What’s Happening

Google has announced that Google Analytics 4 is completely replacing Universal Analytics. Universal Analytics properties (Google Analytics 3) will stop collecting data on July 1, 2023.

If your account manager sent you this resource, this means you’re likely on Universal Analytics (GA3), but if you need to confirm, this Google resource can help you determine which one you’re operating on.

Google Analytics 4 is a big change for how/which metrics are being tracked, the way data is collected, and the interface of the tool. While any big switch like this will involve hiccups, this move is an exciting evolution for the world of web analytics. It enables code-free event tracking, helps fill gaps caused by privacy compliance, and more.

For more information about the differences between Google Analytics 4 and the current Universal Analytics, here are a few helpful resources:

Nexus is here to support the success of your SEO strategy over time, which relies on trustworthy data. So, while we can’t make this migration on your behalf, we’ve put together some resources on what this change means and what next steps are needed.

What Does This Change Mean For My Website Today?

When

While end of life for Google Analytics 3 / Universal Analytics is still far away, starting to track data in a Google Analytics 4 property as soon as possible will be imperative to minimizing gaps in year over year data.

Because Universal Analytics will stop collecting new data on July 1, 2023, you should set up Google Analytics 4 by July 1, 2022 in order to have the fullest data possible.

Who

You may be able to complete these next steps yourself if you have experience setting up GA or working in the back end of your website.

However, you may need support from your web development resource in order to complete the changes outlined in the next section. To make this request simple, we’ve created an email template you can access below that covers what is needed.

What

1) Start Tracking in a Google Analytics 4 Property

You’ll need to use the Google Analytics 4 Setup Assistant to create a new GA4 property that collects data in parallel with your existing Universal Analytics property. There are no changes to your Universal Analytics property, and it will continue to collect data until July 2023.

The setup wizard should make the basic setup a very quick/low-effort task.

Resources

2) Configure Conversions in Google Analytics 4

In Universal Analytics, “goal completions” are how the Nexus team (and likely yourself and other members of your team!) understand the value of marketing efforts that pass through your website. Today, goals on your site may include things like contact us form submissions, demo requests, or webinar signups, and they may be configured either as destination or event goals.

In Google Analytics 4, these are more simply called “conversions,” and they’re measured with an event-based data model, which typically enables a more straightforward, code-free setup process compared to UA.

Option 1 (Simplest)

Use the UA → GA4 Goals Migration Tool to quickly recreate goals from your connected Universal Analytics property as conversions in Google Analytics.

Destination and Event Goals (the most common for Nexus engagements) are eligible for migration using this tool.

Option 2 (Backup)

In some cases, or if you have trouble with the tool, you may need to recreate corresponding versions of your goals manually as conversions in Google Analytics 4. If needed, you can use the following resources.

  • Step 1: Take Stock of Current Goal Tracking (Goal Completions in Google Analytics)
    • If helpful, fill out this  Google Analytics 4: Conversion Setup Worksheet. If you’re not able to fill this out yourself, your Nexus account manager can provide support.
    • A couple of notes on auditing your current setup…
      • You’ll want to ensure any goals being used by Nexus, your marketing team, your website team, or anyone else at your business are brought over to Google Analytics.
      • However, as noted by Google, “Google Analytics 4 adoption provides a great opportunity to confirm which KPIs are important to your stakeholders.” You won’t want to move over goals that are out of date such as “Holiday Purchase 2017”.
      • When in doubt, go ahead and reconfigure a corresponding goal in Google Analytics 4. You can always turn off data collection later, but you won’t have data retroactively.
  • Step 2: Configure Conversions in GA4
    • For each individual conversion, you’ll create/switch on the appropriate conversion event in Google Analytics 4.
      In some cases, you may need to set up a custom event.

Additional Resources

3) Grant Access to Nexus

Finally, please grant edit-level access to analytics@nexusmarketing.com and notify your account manager when this has been completed.

What Will This Change Mean Later?

Between now and July 2023, your account manager will transition reporting on traffic and conversions for your account to Google Analytics 4. But for now, reporting will remain consistent and we’ll continue to rely on information from Universal Analytics.

How Nexus Can Help

Where Can Nexus Support Your Team?

  • Providing high-level guidance to your web developer about what is needed for the switch to Google Analytics 4
  • Advising on current goal setup and how that translates into conversions in Google Analytics 4
  • Troubleshooting on code-free conversion setup in Google Analytics 4
  • Development of traffic and conversion reports in Google Analytics 4 to support our SEO engagement

Where Will Nexus Need Additional Support?

  • Setup of the Google Analytics 4 instance
  • Troubleshooting with data collection in Google Analytics 4
  • Setup of any custom event conversions in Google Analytics 4 that require working with code

Additional Resources

Template to Send to Web Resource

[Contact Name],

As you may know, Google is replacing Universal Analytics with the new Google Analytics 4 tool.

The full replacement won’t happen until next summer, but in order to minimize any gaps in data collection, we’d like to complete the setup one year before Universal Analytics is discontinued. But we need your help in order to make sure transition can occur as seamlessly as possible.

Could you please complete the following by July 1st, 2022?

  • Set up a new Google Analytics 4 property. Use the setup assistant to create a new GA4 property that collects data alongside our existing property.
  • Set up conversions in Google Analytics 4. Use the goal migration tool to import our existing goals as conversions in GA4. You may have to troubleshoot on this one to make sure all goals are migrated correctly.
  • Provide access to the Nexus team. Please grant edit level access to analytics@nexusmarketing.com.

The team at Nexus Marketing (who we work with for SEO) put together this resource with a few more details and considerations for this, which may be helpful. Let me know if you have any questions about what is needed.

Best,
[Your name]

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Cross-Marketing Solicitation Advising for Partners

Cross-Marketing Solicitation Advising for Partners

One thing we’ve heard from our partners is that they often get solicitations for collaborations from other businesses and don’t have time to sort through them.

We’d like to help you sort through these requests and prioritize the important ones.

When you get these inbound requests, send them directly to us and we’ll deal with them.

We’ll elevate the ones who are worth connecting with and help save you time!

Wondering how you opt-in to cross-marketing solicitation advising?

Simply start forwarding solicitations to your CPC with the following message in the body of your email: cross-marketing solicitation advising requested

Within 3 business days your CPC team member will reach back out to you with their insight and recommendation.

Have questions? Reach out to your CPC and they will be happy clarify!