The Ultimate Go-Live SEO Checklist

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The Final Checklist Before You Hit "Go Live"

Picture this: It’s the final hour before your new website goes live, and the atmosphere is tense.

The dev team is frantically coding, while the content team scrambles to finalize text and graphics.

Suddenly, someone asks, "Why is ‘lorem ipsum’ showing up in our primary service page?

While someone else exclaims, “I found 4 broken links on the website. We got to fix it right away.

Silence falls. Everyone thought someone else was handling it. Sounds all too familiar, right?

These are just a few of the mishaps we've seen when SEO takes a backseat.

The rush to push a website live without proper SEO checks can lead to a host of post-launch headaches.

At LeadWalnut, we've launched everything from e-commerce platforms to SaaS websites, and we've learned that SEO isn't just another item on the to-do list; it’s foundational to your website's visibility and success.

We have done a few websites go live and in the past, we have seen in projects, clients usually think of SEO as an afterthought.

It was always about- let's make the website go live, then wait for SEO to be done later.

This approach, which is both outdated and inefficient.

Here’s how we ensure SEO is integrated from the start in 2024, through proactive collaboration and planning, which we have all included in LeadWalnut’s ‘Go-Live SEO Checklist’.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

True success comes when the tech team and the content team don't just share a workspace but share objectives and timelines from the get-go. Here’s how we make it happen:

  1. Joint Work Sessions: Bring the tech and content teams together regularly to discuss and align their work. This isn’t about tossing tasks over the wall; it's about tackling them together, on the spot.
  2. Pre-Launch Checks: Before we even consider going live, we make sure everything on the website, especially SEO elements like robots.txt and meta titles, etc. are not just completed but optimized on a staging site.
  3. Encourage Open Communication: Creating an open environment where everyone can talk freely and give feedback is crucial. To make this practical, we use detailed spreadsheets or shared documents where every issue, task, and test status for each page is clearly recorded and updated. This ensures the whole team has access to a centralized progress tracker. Such transparency not only improves problem-solving but also keeps everyone informed and coordinated, ensuring no detail is overlooked.

Pre-Go-Live SEO Checklist: The Staging Grounds

Before you even think about going live, your website should undergo a thorough SEO examination in the staging environment. Here are examples of some mistakes we often see-

  • SEO-Friendly URL Structures: Often involve complex URLs with unnecessary details.
  • 301 Redirects: Frequent issues include incorrectly configured or missing redirects.
  • Meta Details: It's common to find duplicate or missing meta titles and descriptions.
  • Content Checks: Placeholder content not replaced with final text.
  • Link Health: Includes broken internal links or unreliable external links.
Before Go- Live | SEO Checklist in the Staging environment Levels Tool to be used
Ensure SEO-friendly URL structures Page level Manual
Check 301 redirects for all applicable URLs Page level Manual
Optimize title tags and meta descriptions on all pages Page level Screamingfrog
Optimize headings and subheadings on all pages Page level Screamingfrog
Ensure all images have alt text and attributes Page level Screamingfrog
Include relevant canonical tags on all pages Page level Screamingfrog
Implement internal and external links Page level Screamingfrog
Implement relevant schemas Page level Rich Result Test
Check breadcrumb navigation Page level Manual
Ensure there are no broken links Site level Screamingfrog
Ensure mobile responsiveness of all pages Page level Manual
Ensure no 'lorem Ipsum' or dummy content Site level screamingfrog
Ensure no-index robots tag is implemented Site level Manual
Baseline page speed, CWV, accessibility, and SEO of old website Site level PageSpeed Insights
Check for custom 404 page presence Site level Manual
Sync staging URLs with scope; remove duplicates and unwanted URLs Site level Manual
Ensure robots.txt file presence Site level Manual
Ensure sitemap file presence and addition in robots.txt Site level Manual
Ensure favicon icon presence Site level Manual
Check all form functionalities and CTAs Site level Manual

These steps help mitigate the "oops" moments that too often accompany launches.

Navigating Post-Go-Live

Once your site is live, the journey isn't over.

The transition from staging to live can introduce new challenges, like broken interlinks or unexpected 404 errors.

Here's what you need to keep an eye on immediately after going live:

  • Crawlability: Ensure all pages are accessible to search engines.
  • Analytics and Monitoring Tools: Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console to start gathering data from day one.
  • Ongoing SEO Health Checks: Regularly monitor page performance, rankings, and site errors to stay ahead.
Post Deployment | SEO Checklist in the Production environment Levels Tool to be used
Ensure all pages are crawlable and indexable Site level Google Search Console
Setup Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Bing Webmaster Site level Manual
Recheck presence of robots.txt and sitemap Site level Manual
Verify accurate reflection of data in analytics: traffic and conversions Site level Manual
Recheck 301 redirects for URL redirection Site level Manual
Track top critical pages' daily traffic (clicks & impressions) for Google and Bing Site level Manual
Monitor daily ranking changes for Google and Bing Site level Manual
Verify form functionalities and CTAs post-deployment Site level Manual

A Real-Time Example of Post-Launch Pain

Let's talk about a common post-launch snag: the sudden disappearance of analytics tracking. Imagine this: your site goes live, and you're eager to see the traffic numbers, but the analytics are flatlining.


Because the tracking code didn't make it from the staging environment to the live site.

It's a simple oversight with significant consequences, highlighting the necessity of our comprehensive checklist.

Get the Full Picture- Download Checklist

Launching a website successfully demands meticulous planning and collaborative effort across teams, aiming not just to fix issues as they arise but to prevent them altogether.

However, the journey doesn't end with the site going live.

Within a week post-launch, it’s crucial to conduct a detailed Technical Audit.

This audit will assess key aspects such as-

  • Page speed,
  • Core Web Vitals,
  • Accessibility,
  • SEO performance on both mobile and desktop.

It also includes checks for duplicate content and verifies that all images have appropriate alt and title tags, among other elements.

To streamline your launch process and avoid common pitfalls, you can download our comprehensive ‘GO-Live SEO Checklist’.

This checklist is designed to guide you through each step of your project’s launch to ensure smooth execution.

Click the button below to receive the checklist directly in your email.

How can LeadWalnut help?

LeadWalnut is an ISO-certified enterprise SEO specialist focused on helping you to maximize rankings, traffic, and conversions from your website.
LeadWalnut uses a combination of Content Strategy, Video Marketing, and Social engagement techniques to improve web performance.
LeadWalnut builds world-class websites, creates engaging success stories, and refines key messages around offerings, and problem areas to build trust and emotional connections with prospects.

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