When you are planning to have a website redesign, it is vital that you take your time doing it and be careful, as if it is not done right, it could bring chaos to your SEO.
Maybe you are looking to migrate to another CMS (Content management system) or perhaps you are looking to update your HTTPS, or maybe just redesigning your site. Whatever your strategy may be, you don’t want all your rankings to be affected.
After all, you have spent countless hours and hard-earned money on the progression of your site, and you certainly don’t want all your hard work, time and effort to go to waste. That is why DYSC wants to help you understand how to redesign your website without affecting your SEO.
Why must SEO be considered in a website redesign?
You might be wondering why SEO must be kept in mind when you are looking to redesign, everything should stay the same right? After all, it’s just some aesthetic changes to make your website look up to date and better for your clients, right?
Think of this situation. SEO has been great to your site and thanks to it you are now landing new sales every day, your organic rankings are raising and your online trafficking is scaling through the roof.
You sure don’t want to lose that and have all that work go to waste, correct? When redesigning is done correctly you won’t have to worry about losing any rankings or traffic when doing a website redesign, as a matter of fact when done correctly you will get even more.
The next few steps will help you figure out what you require when migrating content from an existing domain, or mapping out a new website, and why is it more beneficial to hire a web design company.
Step 1: no-index your new website.
As sad as it sounds many web developers miss this essential step. When you are constructing a new website, you must remember that you are working on a copy of your old website. Meaning that everything you are working on is duplicated.
Duplicate means, that there is already an existing copy of your content on the old site, your images, posts and pages are active, therefore, your new site won’t have any value and your old one will be kept as the one with the true value.
In this case is vital that you follow the easy step of no-indexing your site by discouraging the search engines from indexing your site. Depending on the software you are running, a code will be sent into the heading of every page, and just in case you do not own a CMS you can always manually insert everything yourself.
Step 2: Always start with SEO.
One of the most common mistakes people often do once they try to switch their sites in order to build new pages is to neglect the already existing ones that carry a lot of valuable content with high levels of trust and authority within the SEO rankings and instead create new pages that completely change every URL which causes your site to start from scratch.
All of the hard work and dedication put into optimising, writing and researching your content, will all go to waste as now all the content will be lost because they failed to redirect the websites. This is all because people fail to understand the way Google reads websites and how the existing pages commonly hold the authority.
Step 3: Make sure to audit your site.
One of the most important steps is to run a comprehensive website audit. DYSC can do the trick for you if you are unsure how. There are all sorts of different things you should keep in mind when you are running a website audit. For most of them, it’s important to be more detailed and accurate, but these are some of the primary action points to always keep in mind.
– Broken links.
– Missing H1, H2, H3 and H4 tags.
– Duplicate posts and pages.
– Keyword optimisation.
Although, there are many more. A list of action points to discuss with your website audit will be given with each report. This way you will always be aware of what needs to be taken into account before moving forward with the website redesign. The audit server will give you an overall sight of things with complete understanding, what is currently working and what should you be fixing on your site to improve it.
Step 4: Inspect your new site.
Before going live with your new website it is essential to make sure that everything is in place and ready to be launched to avoid any issues. There are a good number of platforms that you can use to find out if everything is working properly before going live.
Most of these platforms will provide you with a breakdown of external and internal links, technical aspects such as canonical tags and schema’s as well as content. Some of the most important data you should be looking out for includes:
Content: hold back from deleting any content unless it is extremely necessary, you might be thinking that your older blog posts won’t be adding too much value to your new websites, but that is where you are wrong. Your older blogs give authority to your site believe it or not
In most cases you would think is just better to rewrite the article and get rid of the old one by coming out with a new version. However, if you are getting highly ranked pages thanks to your old content it is not recommended you start messing around with your existing content.
Rankings: it is always essential to keep an eye on your rankings at all times. When a redesign is performed on your site it means that there has been a shakeup and you have to make sure that everything is still working properly like it was before.
Especially if you have made your change to a more powerful CMS, fixed any known problem or added plugins friendly to SEO then that is when you start to move up the ranks.
404 Errors: 404 status codes popping up mean that the page requested no longer exists. In order to fix this issue, you must create a URL on the staging site to them redirect that URL to your new site URL.
It is important to mention that when you start redirecting pages, you will be losing from 10 to 20% of your link equity. However, when this is done you are also asking Google to transfer the positive reputation from your content and your old site and to your new one, making sure also that the SEO doesn’t get affected
It is true that everything must change and one should keep constantly evolving in order to stay active and fresh, especially in everything related to your brand´s online presence. Making the decision of redesigning your company’s website, requires deep planning and strong focus and clarity on the areas that should be enhanced without overlooking the importance of SEO.