How to launch a new ecommerce website

To make sure Google can find your ecommerce website at launch, we recommend doing the following to register your new site with Google:

  1. Verify your site ownership with Google.
  2. Ask Google to index your site:

  3. Track how Google Search is indexing your site. Google Merchant Center may verify and cross-check content with the Google Search index. To avoid false verification warnings, make sure that your site is indexed in Google Search and products are available for purchase. You can use the Index Coverage report to check the progress of indexing.
  4. If you also have a physical store, establish your business details with Google.
  5. Sign up for Google Merchant Center to provide additional information such as descriptions of your products and deals.

In addition, you may have marketing considerations when launching your site. Learn more about the pros and cons of the different approaches in terms of making your site available to Google as soon as you launch.

  • Grand reveal: Make your entire site live to the public and Google at the same time.
  • Homepage launch: Initially make only the homepage of the site available to the public and Google.
  • Launch without product availability: Launch the full site to the public and Google, with products marked as "out of stock".
  • Soft launch: Launch the full site live early, with a separate marketing event for the "official" launch.

Grand reveal

One approach is to keep your whole ecommerce website inaccessible to the public and search engines before launch. For example, requiring a password to access pages on the site will block Google from accessing your site, but allow testers to access your site and make sure the site works well before it's opened to the public. You can then have a "grand reveal" at a time of your choosing, synchronized with other marketing activities.

Action: Immediately after launch, follow the steps to launching an ecommerce site. This will minimize the delay before your site is available on Google Search.

None of your content is known ahead of launch, which may be important for your marketing campaign.

It can take longer for your site to get visibility in Google Search results and the Google Shopping tab.

Homepage launch

You can launch your site with only the home page accessible to Google. The home page might be a placeholder announcing your ecommerce website is coming soon with text describing your store.

Action: Verify your site ownership in advance, then proceed with the rest of the steps once your products are available on your site.

This approach allows you to register your store, drive awareness of your domain name, and start allowing others to link to your site. It also means when you launch, your store name can be found on Google Search, even if your products aren't available yet.

The detailed information won't be available in Google Search and the Shopping tab until your entire site is launched and Google is able to crawl and index it.

Launch without product availability

You can choose to launch the full site, but disable the ability to make a purchase until you are ready to fulfill orders. For example, you could mark products as out of stock. This will allow all of your site content, including products, to be indexed. Consider including a message on each page indicating the official launch date of the site.

Actions: Do all of the steps to launching your ecommerce site, but provide product data to Google Merchant Center with stock marked as unavailable for purchase using the excluded_destination attribute. This allows any product data loading verification issues to be identified earlier, without your products appearing as available in destinations such as Google Shopping.

Your content is indexed as soon as you launch your site.

Your site will seem live to customers, but they will be unable to place orders. We recommend that you make it clear to shoppers that the site has not yet been fully launched to avoid unhappy customers, as they cannot complete a purchase transaction.

Soft Launch

Another approach is to enable all aspects of the site as soon as they are production ready. You could then hold a marketing launch at a later time. This could be turned into a "sneak peek" event, making shoppers feel special that they discovered the site before it is officially live.

Actions: Do all of the steps to launching an ecommerce site as soon as the site goes live.

This approach has the advantage of simplicity. The site is also fully live, allowing real user testing at lower traffic levels.

Your site may be promoted or referenced by users on social media, drawing attention to your site before your planned launch.