We get a lot of clients and students coming to us with this question: “Will this new website lower my search engine rankings on Google?”
SEO is something very top-of-mind for a lot of pet industry entrepreneurs. The pressure to be on the first page is LEGIT.
However, as your pet business evolves and grows and you start to consider a new website or perhaps just a re-design of your current website, it’s very normal to wonder how your search engine optimization (SEO) will be affected.
So, Pet Marketing Unleashed wanted to share an SEO Guide on how to make the transition to a new website without messing with your search rankings!
1. Don’t delete your old website and put up a ‘Coming Soon’ page on the new site
I highly recommend keeping your current site live throughout your new website design process. Many times we get people who want to just start fresh and put up a ‘Coming Soon’ page in the transition, but ‘Coming Soon’ pages are not SEO-friendly and will start to lower your rankings! Not to mention, as long as your old website has accurate information, it’s worth it to have a working website for potential clients to visit.
2. Make sure you or your designer adds in 301 Redirects for any new or changed pages
When you get a new website, sometimes it’s because you have additional or different services. Or, perhaps you had old links that your designer doesn’t recommend using for your new website for SEO and clarity reasons. In order to not lose rankings for those pages, you’ll need to set up a 301 Redirect.
A 301 Redirect essentially tells your website that when someone clicks or types in your old URL, it will automatically redirect to the new one so the traffic doesn’t get lost for that page and visitors don’t end up on an error page.
To set up a 301 redirect on Wix, check out their walkthrough tutorial for the full steps. It’s super simple to do! We also have instructions on how to do this inside the course that comes with our website templates. For our custom website design clients, we will do this automatically as part of your design process.
3. Go through your website platform’s SEO settings and checklists
This cannot be understated! Yet, it’s something that gets missed all the time. What good is a new pretty website when it’s not optimized for SEO or doesn’t have any page SEO settings complete? This is crucial! Our SEO for Pet Business Websites blog post walks you through the most important SEO steps to take on your website - things like meta descriptions, website URL slugs, alt-text, linking and backlinking, and accessibility structure. Your website platform will also have resources for you on how to tackle SEO!
4. Head over to Search Engine Console to re-index your website
I’ve recently learned a lot more about the power of using Search Engine Console to boost your SEO. It’s always been something we’ve recommended to our clients, because by connecting your website to Search Engine Console, you’re letting Google know, “Hey, I have a website. It’s time to index it, please, so it can show up in Google.” Like… you NEED to do this if you haven’t already.
Anyway, what I didn’t realize is that you have the ability to update your website URL, content, header, SEO, etc. and then you can log in to Search Engine Console and reindex the page to let Google know that you updated the content and you want that new info shown on Google now. Google will typically recognize your updates over time, but by requesting the index, you’re likely pushing it ahead sooner, and you’ll be notified if it failed.
5. Start a blog right away!
A popular topic amongst marketers… blog, blog, blog. I don’t have much to say here other than they are telling you the truth! The most important thing you can do for your SEO is to produce consistent, new, and valuable content for Google to rank. This tells Google that you’re up-to-date, relevant, and valuable. When you get a new website, it’s super important to start creating new content! The easiest way to do this is via your blog.
There ya have it! By following the above steps, you’ll set yourself up for SEO success and continue your improvements on Google rankings. We know many pet business owners have concerns regarding whether their current rank will drop once switching to a new website, and this will depend on so many factors! If anyone tells you it will 100% go up or down, it’s simply not true because there’s no way for them to know. However, by taking precautions ahead of time, and through the experiences of our clients and students, we haven’t had an issue with a drop in rankings. In fact, most customers seem to increase in rankings immediately (but it depends on where their previous website was before purchase).
Need some help with your SEO settings for your new pet business website?
If you’re one of our website template students, there are two ways we can help you through this process:
Web Polish Sessions - These sessions include a comprehensive review/audit of your website AND a one-hour Zoom video call with me, Mikaela, to walk through your site and go over tips and recommendations as well as answer any questions you might have. If you want to focus this call on your SEO specifically, we can 100% do that!
VIP Days - If you’re looking for us to do the work FOR you, then a VIP Day is your best option! If all you’re needing is help with your SEO settings, we can likely complete this in just a ½ VIP Day. Whatever you need, we can customize it to your to-do list and priorities. We’ve got you!
If you’re interested in a new website and want more information and education on how to set up your website for SEO, I highly recommend checking out our website templates. These pet business website templates are strategically designed to help you streamline your business operations and get more website traffic. No coding or tech experience necessary! Simply watch our training videos to customize the site and hit ‘Publish!’ We have a FULL module in the course on the topic of SEO - from basic SEO education to SEO by page, photo SEO settings, and more! These websites are not your average template. Don’t take it from me. Take a look at the options (we have pet care website templates, dog trainer website templates, and pet photography website templates) and see what past students had to say.