Keeping Google onside when launching a new website

We manage the Google AdWords campaigns for over 60 companies now, perhaps including yours. The attraction of using BMON is that we also act as a quiet member of the online marketing team, monitoring things in the background and being there if things go wrong. It’s a true USP, because we don’t charge for any of our help. We hope things don’t go wrong, of course, but nine times out of ten, when they do, it’s when a company redesigns its website.

I’d hope that something as major as a new website is when we can be of most use, ensuring everything’s been done correctly. Amazingly, however, we sometimes don’t even know anything was in the works until it’s too late. Last week I had the dreaded message from Google: “One or more of your ads or keywords have been disapproved. Reason: Invalid HTTP Response Code”.

This means that an advert we were running for a client was sending people to a page which didn’t exist. But as the ad hadn’t changed, it must mean something had changed at the site. I clicked through, and there it was (again): a whole new website, without a single page from the old site redirected to the new one. Nobody had told us. They don’t have to do so, but what a wasted opportunity. Fortunately we were able to help the client sort things out before it was too late (and you don’t have long before your Google traffic tanks).

There’s no reason – unless you’re a regular reader of this blog – why you should be expected to know about the need to redirect redesigned websites. But it’s unforgiveable that website design companies don’t do this. I spoke to the most recent two design companies who’d rebuilt websites for our clients, and asked why they hadn’t sorted this out. One didn’t seem to have any idea what I was talking about. The other said: “The client didn’t ask us to, and we don’t do their SEO”.

“Don’t do their SEO”?

What does that even mean?

Google has recently updated its guidelines on moving websites (which includes rebuilds), so if you won’t listen to me, take it from them. And keep a note of that link, so you can send it to the web designer who’s working on your next site redesign.

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