Before redesigning your website, it’s imperative to know the nitty-gritty of the best practices that will help you to maintain your SEO efforts.
Website redesigning should be handled with care, as it can affect your SEO efforts, which can risk losing your search engine rankings, traffic and customers, consequently hampering the bottom line of the business. But don’t worry, there are ways you can lessen any probable damage to your business.
Monitoring Your SEO and Finding-Out What Works
Well, you must know exactly as to which keywords are your business ranking for, what’s the placement of those keywords in search rankings, as well as, the web pages that are responsible for bringing in the highest amount of organic traffic.
SEO Hurdles when Redesigning a Website
When redesigning your website, many issues can come up as you concentrate on enhancing the user experience on your site, upgrade the backend, and work on rebranding.
Common hurdles you have to deal with:
- URLs may change
- Internal linking structure undergoes edits
- Content may be removed/altered
- Content may be shifted as per new site’s navigation.
- Adding new products or service, new content sections and new features
- Page-level optimization changes
- New technical glitches
- Domain change
Technically, all of these spheres can affect the search engine efforts in a redesigned website. As there are many hurdles, it can get very tricky to spot what needs to be fixed. Change of domain is the most intricate thing which would whitewash the SEO efforts that was garnered for the site. Nonetheless, other areas are essential too, and the more modifications you have, the more difficult it would get to maintain the SEO efforts.
Website Redesign SEO Checklist
Redesign your website without losing SEO rankings
Before redesigning your website, it’s imperative to know the nitty-gritty of the best practices that will help you to maintain your SEO efforts. Rethink these redesign factors:
Do an SEO audit of your current website
SEO audit should include your keywords that already rank in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) and jotting down specifically the web pages that ranks highly on the SERPs.
The Prominence of Historic Web Crawls
It’s a brilliant idea to save crawl data from the old site. Screaming Frog is a tool that you can use to load the old site crawl and evaluate it. If at all some pages don’t show up or are missing, you can use web.archive.org, which will display the old structure and content.
Crawl your old website and export all the key on-page elements that include Meta titles, Meta descriptions, alt tags and headers. And if they are already performing well, then don’t attempt to change it drastically unless there have been substantial changes in your company’s products or services offering. Moreover, if your website has a great deal of dynamic content, then it’s very beneficial.
Retaining High-Quality SEO Content
- If you have content on your web pages that performing well, then it’s better to leave it as-is without making any changes.
- Retaining images and SEO videos are equally significant when redesigning the website.
When moving these assets to the newly redesigned site, make sure to retain all the Metadata and file names as-is.
Internal Linking Structure
Be mindful of the changes you implement to the internal linking structure. If you implement changes to numerous of your website’s URLs, you’ll end up with broken links in your content, so you’ll need to carry out an audit. Plug-ins are available that can make this easy, as you would not want to remove any of them, as it could inflict a damaging impact on your website.
Upholding Current Page Structure during Re-designing Website Is Crucial
Page structure plays a key role in SEO rankings. That’s because it guarantees an excellent user experience, as they are easily able to find things that they are searching for with less work. If your site can attract your users, it will equally attract the search engines. Follow the same structure without abandoning current page structure except your company has changed its offerings drastically.
Setting up 301 and 302 Redirects
The first thing you need to do is to redirect your old URLs to new ones. If you’re implementing any vital changes to the permalink structure, then you will require maintaining a spreadsheet for all necessary redirects. Once your new site is live, have your old list of URLs crawled to make sure everything redirects flawlessly as intended.
- 301 Redirects offer a permanent redirect from one URL to another and it’s good for SEO efforts over a temporary redirect because it passes the inbound links, as well as, over 90% of link equity.
- Whereas 302 redirects offer a temporary redirect for the URL and should be used sparingly, else it can damage your SEO efforts. However, it’s a good practice to use it during the update of a web page so that users get a flawless experience.
Review Your Website’s Backlinks & Update Them
To boost your site’s SEO placement, backlinks play a vital role. So, review all of your backlinks that point to your website, and if you want these to point to the pages you are going to change or remove, then you need to make efforts in reaching these site owners to update them about the backlinks. However, due to the quantity, if this seems impossible, then you can also create redirects.
Website Redesign Traffic Drop (Keep an Eye over Your Organic Rankings and Traffic)
When you go for a website redesign, some fluctuation is anticipated. What you can do is to prepare keyword master spreadsheet, which includes where you rank each month for each of your keywords and the web pages the keywords are mapped to. However, it’s not practical to track each keyword for your website; that’s why it becomes very important for you to keep a note of web pages that have high organic or natural traffic referrals.
Update XML sitemap
Remember to update your website’s XML sitemap and then submit it to search engines. All your 301 redirects, page structure, navigation and XML sitemap, all should be coherent and display the new site structure.
Inspect Your Website with Google Search Console
Within the Google Search Console, you’ll get diagnostic information. Besides, you can track all the 301s and 404s, so you can make sure you have done everything appropriately. It will provide you with valuable information such as impressions, click-through rate, clicks and average position.
Running Tests on Your Redesigned Website Is Essential
Don’t assume that your ‘Live Website’ will work in the same way as your ‘Development Website’. Well, you may have invested a good amount of time, resources and money, but things can change in the real world. Moreover, you can make use of a technical site audit tool like Ahrefs, DeepCrawl or Moz, which will give you insight on technical issues. Furthermore, think of testing the website through a mobile-friendly testing tool to see how it performs. Additionally, check the speed of each page using a page speed tool. Nonetheless, don’t ignore schema markup on the website.
Quick Tips to Stay Away from SEO Website Redesign Mistakes
The most important aspects have been touched upon and now we will list down some vital issues that you should stay away from to shield the SEO rankings that you have garnered so far.
- Refrain from starting from scratch on content. If you already have content that’s ranking, then don’t ditch it. If you ignore or forget to move your performing content to the new website, then it would impact your rankings.
- Never ignore web pages that have high rankings and multiple backlinks. Make use of Ahrefs or SEMRush to find these links and preserve or transfer them.
- Internal linking is very important that you should not neglect, ignore or forget.
- Remember to update outbound links as required.
- Remember to set up redirects wherever required so that visitors would not land up on “Page Not Found” errors (these are the pages that aren’t indexed by Google anymore).
Adhere to the above-mentioned website redesign SEO considerations to maintain your current website rankings. As the brand evolves, naturally companies would want to redesign their websites to further boost their brand value. Never make the mistake of starting over from scratch as if your website never existed.
Have questions that are troubling you on how to preserve all that accumulated SEO love overtime when redesigning your website, then reach out to us for a perfect solution or assistance for getting started with your new website initiative.