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A Master Checklist to Keep Your PPC Running Smoothly During a Site Relaunch

Published: July 6, 2017

Author: Karen Hays

Site relaunches are a part of life for a PPC marketer, and they come with their share of pitfalls – but it’s nothing some prep work can’t manage. In this post, we’ll give you a handy checklist that will keep your tracking, campaigns, and ads running smoothly – with a few bonus tips for quantifying and responding to the impact of the relaunch.

Let’s jump in.

Update Tracking Codes

  • Determine if URLs and/or page element naming conventions will change
  • Get URL mapping for the new site (if possible, match existing URLs to new URLs)
  • Transfer Google Tag Manager/container codes to new site
    • Send code and installation directions to developer
  • Update “Thank You” pages for conversions
    • If using Google Tag Manager or a container code, update firing rules with the new URLs
    • If using Google Analytics Goals, update the URLs in their corresponding Goal details
    • If tracking codes are placed directly on the site, send the codes and their respective Thank You pages (using the new URLs) to the developer

*Note: Even if there will be 301 redirects from old URLs to the new variations, you will want to update everything directly to prevent cookies from being dropped or tracking errors that may arise.

  • Send remarketing pixels and instructions to developer, or ensure that remarketing code fires on all pages of the new site if using Google Tag Manager (or another tag container)
  • Send Google Analytics (or other analytics program) code and installation instructions to developer, or ensure that the code is set up to fire on all pages of the new site through your tag container
  • Set up new conversion events if additional checkout or lead generation functionalities are added to the new site

Update Existing Ads

  • Update landing page URLs for ads and extensions
    • Recommend implementing this in advance (leaving the new versions paused until launch) to get approval ahead of time
    • If additional pages are being created, determine if these should also be used as landing pages for specific ad groups
    • Make these changes using AdWords Editor, and use the Check Changes tool before posting to scan for potential disapprovals or errors
  • If running Google Shopping campaigns, upload new product feed or updated product feed through 3rd party

Update Campaigns & Ad Groups

  • If the site structure will change significantly, consider if any changes are needed for the campaign structure
  • If entirely new content or product offerings are added to the site, consider adding new keywords in Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) in your Beta campaigns

Test Changes

  • Obtain access to developer site and/or sandbox environment
  • Test landing pages, remarketing pixels, Google Analytics, and updated conversion events on developer site
    • If using Google Tag Manager, go into preview and debug mode on the developer site to ensure that codes fire in the appropriate places in the test environment
  • Spot-check landing page URLs of new ads in the account
    • Add the Tracking template column at the keyword level, hover over the pencil icon, and click “Test”
      • Repeat this process for every different landing page URL
    • If landing page URLs are set at the ad level, go to the ad preview, open the Ad URL options (advanced) section, and click the “Test” button next to the Tracking template field
  • When new site launches, test ads and tracking codes again on the actual site
  • Confirm with the client when testing is complete

Determine Redesign Impact

  • Run old and new sites through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to determine changes in page load time
    • If the new site takes longer to load, expect larger bounce rates and decreased conversion rate
  • Run old and new sites through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to assess improvements to mobile user experience
    • If mobile-friendliness improves, consider adding device bid adjustments and analyzing cross-device conversions
  • Monitor changes to ad performance and quality score post-launch
    • If landing page URLs in existing ads are changed, these ads will be considered “new” and will take time to build up history in the account

Follow the steps above, and you should minimize unpleasant surprises from the re-launch. Good luck!

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