You’ve just put the final touches on your new website and you’re pumped. Finally, all those long hours of developing, reviewing and editing have come to fruition and your website is ready to go live. So you launch it. Boom. Site’s live. So…what now?
If you’re like 95% of business owners, you’ve launched a new website because you needed an upgrade to your existing site or your free hosting service just wasn’t cutting it for you anymore. You want to take your digital marketing efforts to the next level and you especially want to start showing up more often in search results. So what can you expect when your new site finally launches? A number of things, actually. Here are all the things you need to know about your new website post-launch.
New Domain = Starting from Scratch
If you are starting out with a brand new domain you unfortunately have no trust with Google. Google is especially wary of new sites because it’s incredibly easy for a spammer to establish a domain solely to put out crappy content. Google has to know you’re awesome and it takes various measures to ensure that your site is legitimate.
On the other hand, if you’re not changing domains, then the age of your domain will give you a leg up during this transition period. But keep in mind: any time a new site is launched, Google holds back on rewarding you with improved search results. That should be expected. To that end…
Google Will Be Scrutinizing Your Site
As soon as your site goes live, Google will be all over it. As mentioned above, this is the time when it’s trying to figure out if your site and your content are legitimate. You can help that trust process along by playing by Google’s rules. That is, don’t act like a spammer or be suspicious. Take the appropriate measures of transparency, such as:
- registering with Google’s Search Counsel and Bing Webmaster Tools
- installing Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager
- setting up the robots.text file
- adding security to the domain
- properly optimizing your site (SEO)
- allowing search bots to “crawl” your site
- ensuring your site is valid HTML
- linking to and from other authoritative domains
- making sure your site is fast
- redirecting your old links to your new ones (no 404 errors here!)
We recommend hunting down your index by going to Google and typing in site:yoursite.com. This will pull up every result in Google’s index. Click on every one of those results. If you have any 404s or other Google warnings, then tell your web provider. If you don’t have any, call him any way to tell him thank you because he saved you a load of trouble.
You probably didn’t realize all of ^that goes into making sure a site is valid, huh? If they’re doing it right, a web development agency will take all those measures for you so all you have to do is sit back and wait (sort of).
Progress Won’t Be Immediate
When a new site goes live, you’ll spend the next few months in the Google Sandbox, a temporary filter for new sites that Google applies to make sure you’re legit. It may take 90 days of being in the Sandbox before you begin to rank. It could be 45-60 days, but almost no new site gets ranked in the first 30 days.
The lesson here? Don’t sit around and wait idly by during this period! During those 90 days, continually add awesome new content to your site (blog posts, additional service pages, etc.). One thing to remember is that the biggest user of your site during the Sandbox time is Google. It is crawling the site every day and sometimes more than once. What it’ll notice is the influx of high quality content added to your domain. This increases your internal EAT score (Expertise, Authority, Trust) which signals to Google that your site is a quality one.
Your Rankings Might Dip
Be prepared for a slight and temporary dip in your keyword results for the first 90-120 days. But don’t panic! It’s only temporary. That’s just Google transitioning all of your URLs over to the new site and, once again, making sure your site is awesome. There should be no significant erosion if things are developed correctly. If you notice a drastic change in rankings for your keywords, call your provider immediately because it’s an indication that something is wrong.
Launching a new website is exciting! And even though you’ve crossed one hurdle, your job is far from over. Google will be hard at work over the next 90 days crawling your site, indexing your pages, and generally determining if your site is trustworthy. So do yourself a favor and a). develop a content strategy, and b). start creating and publishing quality content on a consistent basis. Doing so gives Google even more convincing reasons to trust you and reward you with the search results you desire. Do it! Do it!