How To Avoid SEO Disaster During a Website Redesign
Ideally, companies of all sizes and industries should redesign websites every two years to keep content relevant. However, if you don’t consider SEO components with your upgrades, you could face catastrophic consequences. Apart from negatively affecting your ranking, you could harm your site’s long-term growth.
The first item on any list of website redesign tips should be SEO preparedness. When you understand how enhancements affect your SEO, you can develop a viable plan for your site. Read on to learn how to keep SEO rankings with a new website.
Relationship Between SEO and Website Redesign
A BrightEdge study reveals that 68% of online experiences start with a search engine, making it crucial to boosting site traffic. These platforms focus on providing users with exceptional services, and they only promote sites that help them achieve this goal.
Search engines analyze site speed, user-friendliness, content quality, and other such components to determine a site’s relevance. When you decide to overhaul your site, Google and other search engines should reindex it. If not, you will come across many potential issues, including:
- Loss of Rankings: One of the worst things that can happen to your site is to lose all previous rankings.
- Index the Staging Site: While rebuilding your website, it’s crucial not to let search engines index the development site. The massive amounts of duplicate content could negatively affect existing and new websites alike.
- Look Suspicious: Applying too many changes at once will confuse search engine crawlers.
Don’t let any of these complications happen to you. Read on for website migration tips from professional web designers.
Website Redesign Tips
There are many reasons to improve a website, from achieving faster load speeds to boosting mobile-friendliness and reducing costs. However, be careful not to let your redesign project affect your SEO efforts. Below are practical tips on how to keep SEO rankings with a new website.
No matter your redesign goals, your methods shouldn’t affect your site’s value.
- Migration Seasonality: Plan a migration during low seasons and never before major holidays. There are always risks involved in site improvements, so choose periods with minimal impact on your sales.
- Information Architecture: Don’t omit any page valuable to your ranking, and make sure that the new design will not dilute the overall message. For guidance, use a crawling tool to create a sitemap for your new site.
- On-Page Optimization: Before you upgrade your site, make sure you maintain its relevance. Keep URLs, meta descriptions, page titles, and copy that convert.
- Redirects: As much as possible, avoid presenting a 404 error page to a site visitor. Make sure that all pages containing links lead to the correct pages. This tip may be the most time-consuming one on this list, but it’s essential in preventing lost opportunities.
During the Launch
As you launch your site, follow your checklist and watch out for any potential quality control issues.
Never launch a page without testing all its components. Use a sandbox to your new site on a server. It’s better to delay your launch than to risk spending months recovering and rebuilding your lost rankings, links, and traffic.
Your work doesn’t end when you launch your improved website. As soon as you go live, there are many factors to test. Let’s go through some of them.
- Verify Canonicalization: Make sure that the canonicalization on your new site does not reference the old one. Referring to the previous website can prevent search engines from indexing the new one.
- Fix Duplicate Content: Errors during the migration process may cause duplicate content. Some issues include publishing multiple URL versions, using wrong redirects, and having folders leading to the same content.
- Update Links: The first step after the migration is to go back to the redirect file to test all URLs. Make sure your previous URLs perform 301 redirects to new ones.
- Dev-to-Live Audit: Confirm that all the pages from your dev site carry over to the live one, especially if it contains a lot of dynamic content. For example, optimizing title tags but not databases may lead to missing website sections.
- Submit XML Sitemaps: After testing all your site’s components — SEO included — submit the XML sitemap. Make sure your XML sitemap is flawless, without any URLs resulting in 404 errors.
Upgrade Your Website Now
Stanford Web Credibility Research reveals that 75% of consumers judge business credibility by a website. It should provide visitors with maximum value, making website redesign crucial for any organization.
If you feel like you can’t perform such a project flawlessly even after reading the website migration tips above, it’s time to consult with site professionals.