By Kristin Vick
Launching a new site can be both exciting and stressful all at once. There are countless small details that need to be covered such as redirects to simple link checks. Most resources you research may offer great advice for what to do to help your transition for SEO and keep organic rankings, but you may be asking yourself “What about PPC?” While we can’t cover everything that goes into a launch of a new website, we can make sure you are ready to manage all areas on the side of PPC.
PPC Launch Checklist
Site Launch Timeline
Before you do anything, you should have the firm launch date to work towards. Whether you are changing domains or not, it is always a good idea to pause campaigns when a new site is launching. After countless site transitions, I recommend pausing your campaigns a couple of hours before the site is scheduled to switch to ensure all paid traffic has stopped and there are no lingering visits to the old domain, and no new visits when you are not ready.
Remember Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong, will go wrong. It is much better to pause ads, then to continue to run them and potentially direct a visitor to a broken page and/or site.
Is the new website domain changing from “www.abc.com” to “www.xyz.com?” You will have to update all of your final URLs for your ads across all of your PPC accounts.
- If you have a rep you can update your final URL’s and they can manually approve your ads once you have changed the URL.
- It’s important to note that you cannot have two different final domains within one ad group, so you will need to copy down your campaigns and ad groups and update ads, in a duplicate ad group. Label each new ad group and new ad so you can easily identify which should be enabled once the site is ready to begin PPC advertising.
- An additional side note – you do not want to rely on 301 redirects, as your ads could still be disapproved, or a 404 error page could be missed.
- These recommendations also hold true if you are merging two sites into one. Think if you had a separate mobile domain and a desktop domain, and now you have a responsive site that brought both of those domains together, you will want to make sure all links are working for your ads.
Double check that all conversion tracking and remarketing codes have been successfully transferred to the new site. You can double check using third party tools or verifying through a third party tagging managing app. Also, make sure you update the placement of your conversion codes if necessary.
Messaging And Ad Copy
If you are launching a new site chances are your brand’s message has been updated. The messaging and ad copy for your ads should be updated to reflect any new products and/or brand emphasis.
Along with final URLs being updated for ads, sitelinks, and all other applicable extensions should be updated. Double check to make sure they are not going to 404 error pages to avoid any loss in performance.
As mentioned previously, your new site might come with new content and brand messaging. Is there a new focus that could expand the keywords you are currently bidding on? Are there new keywords added to the landing pages that were not there previously? Don’t just assume you have all content areas covered. The more you can expand your account the more opportunity you will have to succeed.
If you or your client is changing domains, you will have to submit a new feed to Google Merchant Center and wait for it to be reviewed and approved. Once approved you will be able to use your new feed in AdWords.
Double & Triple Check EVERYTHING
No matter how confident you feel after you have completed these items. Double check the pages, the forms, codes, etc to make sure wherever you are sending traffic is working seamlessly. Do this as soon as you hear the site has launched before and after the campaigns have been re-enabled.
While the focus may be on SEO when a new site launches, PPC is still a critical piece of the puzzle for a successful launch. Take your time and utilize the tools within each platform you are running to help make updates and transitions as seamless as possible.
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