Whether you want to give your website a new look or are planning an entire redesign, changing your website can be a daunting process. If done without proper planning, all of your SEO efforts can be lost, and you will essentially have to start from the ground up to rebuild your organic ranking. But there is hope! By thinking strategically, you can find opportunities to not only maintain, but improve your new site’s performance.
Throughout a website redesign it is important to keep in mind how Google reads a website and how URLs hold credibility. The impact of a redesign on SEO is often overlooked and people choose to delete valuable content or change URLs without redirecting them. Be aware of the content of your current site and talk with your web developers about maintaining your current SEO.
Evaluating your existing site gives you great insight into how it is structured. This will allow you to see the metadata and URLs and identify exactly what needs to change and why. Completing an SEO crawl, allows you to map out how your current site is laid out and how your new site can be improved in comparison. There are many different tools that can be used to determine how each page is performing. Be sure to benchmark your current analytics results as a baseline to analyze the new site.
Do not allow Google or other search engines to index your new site until it is completely ready to launch. This allows you to make changes and edits without worrying about if it will be seen. This is also an extremely important step for SEO purposes. Google punishes duplicate content. If you allow your new site to be indexed while your old site is still active, it will penalize both sites. Your old and new website should never exist to the public web at the same time.
Now you’re ready to enter the redesign phase. Use this time to build on the insights you gained after evaluating your old site. Focus on keywords that are working and replace the ones that aren’t. Develop new and unique content that will capture users’ attention and be informative for your target audience.
Take advantage of your website’s redesign time. SEO is all about user experience. If a redesign is done correctly and with the user in mind, it can actually improve your existing SEO ranking. Take the time to make sure your new site is mobile friendly and incorporate an SSL to make your site secure. Once you’re ready to launch, redirect all of your old pages to the new site to ensure your existing customers can still find you and new customers can find you on a search engine.