This morning we were tasked with assisting a large company with some insight into building a new website. Whenever it comes to a new website the SEO requirements are so incredibly important – neglect the SEO and you find yourself going back a big step and recovering is often very difficult and expensive. There are a lot of SEO matters that need to be taken into account when launching a new website, but today I wanted to share with you a simple tactic we use when a new website is launched and we want to ensure that we get the most from the old website. By this I mean, let’s not leave any authority behind, let’s be greedy and take it all with us to ensure that we stay ahead.
Oftentimes when a new website is launched, the pages have different URLs. For example, a previous website might have www.domain.com/plumbing and the new website has www.domain.com/service/plumbing. What happens to all the back links that were pointing to www.domain.com/plumbing? I’ll tell you what, they’ll be completely wasted. 301 redirects are imperative, but this strategy doesn’t just apply to brand new websites, you can perform it if you’ve ever launched a new website.
Let’s get started, we’ll be using Google Webmaster Tools and Screaming Frog.
Open up your Google Webmaster Tools account (google.com/webmasters) and click through to “Links to Your Site” under “Search Traffic” on the left. Then on the right you’ll see a column called “Your most linked content” and at the bottom there’s a link “More >>”, give this a click. What you’ll see now is a list of all the pages on your website and the number of links pointing to them. These are the important pages because they have valuable links.
Download all of these links and fire up Screaming Frog (SEO Tools). Import the list and then run a crawl to look for 404 pages. In other words, let’s find out all the pages that no longer exist on the website but have links pointing to them!
From here we can go about reclaiming those links by either creating new pages on the site with the old URL, or implementing redirects or even reaching out to the sites that are linking and asking them to update their links. If you have a large website, you could find yourself in a position where you can reclaim a big handful of links for absolutely nothing! This is going to have a strong effect on your website’s authority.
This is one of those quick wins that really can hold a lot of value. Give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised!