Oh No! I Lost My SEO


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fearful-of-losing-rankingsOne of the greatest fears small business owners face when considering redesigning their website is that they’ll lose their search engine rankings. If you’re currently ranking #1 for your key term, it’s hard to justify risking changing anything on your website. You simply don’t know which of the 200+ signals Google’s using to determine your website’s rank. I’m here to reassure you that, if you keep a few elements in place, your new website will not disappear from the search results.

If you keep keywords, the URL, Web copy and meta tags the same on your new website as that of the website you’re migrating, nothing bad will happen. You won’t lose your SEO.

That’s not to say you’ll gain much either.

Developing a new website is a great time to challenge old assumptions: revisit your keywords with new research, tighten up your Page titles, place your keywords in the URL and rewrite your description meta tags with benefit copy and a call to action. If your old website includes all that then, I repeat, you won’t lose your SEO. But, if it doesn’t, then a refreshed website will most assuredly increase rankings and page views. Here’s why:

1. Page Title Element – The Page Title is still the single most important element on the page. If your title is keyword-rich and your Web page has focused content, then change nothing. This might be a good time to tighten up your title, however. Many older websites I see stuff every possible keyword into their Home page Title. What many don’t realize is that each word is measured as a “value of importance,” which means that too many keywords dilute the overall ranking value for any one key term. Here’s a typical example:

Landscaping Detroit, Landscape Detroit, Paver Patios, Pond, waterfalls, lawn sprinkler and drainage.

A search engine could rank this Web page for seven keyword phrases, potentially. It’s a better search tactic and user experience to have each page with focused content while varying the use of one or two keywords. Writing Web copy can be challenging because you want the page to meet the criterion for search engines, but you also need to give your visitors the information they’re looking for quickly.

2. Keywords in the URL – If your Web pages included keywords to begin with, then you have nothing to worry about when designing new ones. Be absolutely certain your Web developer maintains the exact URL structure. Business owners confuse a Web redesign with a negative impact on search engine rankings. Nine times out of 10, websites lose visibility because the developer didn’t take care in keeping the pages named the same or because they were not redirected properly.

3. Description Meta Tag – If your website is more than five years old, then you probably haven’t changed the meta data to follow newer standards. This meta tag used to allow for 180+ characters before being cut off in the search results. In today’s Twitter world, 150 characters is the max.

This meta description would never cut it. It contains 212 characters, reads poorly and offers no call to action.

Landscape Detroit, Landscaping Detroit, company specializing in designing and installing, Ponds, waterfalls, sprinkler, paver patios. We create backyards and outdoor environments that are beautiful and relaxing.

Page One Rankings Guarantee Nothing

Originally, I was motivated to write this article to reassure a Web designer whose client was afraid that he’d lose his first page placement if he redesigned his website. But the more I thought about it, even a #1 ranking doesn’t guarantee a thing. A dated, slow-loading website is more likely to cost you customers than a #1 ranking will ever gain you in sales. I’d rather see a small business experiment, evaluate and adjust than to follow the path of least resistance.

Search engines and technology are evolving daily. Shouldn’t you be too?

Photo credit: Stuart Miles

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Nicolette Beard
As a former publisher and editor, I'm passionate about the written word. I craft content to help drive the autonomous customer experience (CX) revolution. My goal is to show call center leaders how to reduce the increasing complexity of the customer journey.


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