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Don’t let redesigning a Website affect your SEO

Don’t let redesigning a Website affect your SEO. Prioritizing website design SEO is a natural choice for digital marketers, strategists, and search engine optimization professionals (SEO). 

Many account managers, graphic designers, and developers may not be aware of the connection between SEO and website design.

This eight-step site redesign SEO strategy is suitable for everyone, regardless of whether you are a novice or a veteran who just wants to be sure that you have done everything correctly.

SEO is crucial for website redesigns

Profit is the ultimate goal. A website redesign is usually a marketing investment that increases your revenue through increased rankings and traffic.

You may be redesigning your website to appeal to your target audience. In theory, a more attractive website will generate more revenue (either through branding or business lead generation) and produce a return on your investment many times over.

Your website serves two primary functions.

  1. Attracting your target audience
  2. Engaging and converting your target audience after they visit your website

The first function of your website is not being considered when redesigning it. This is a quick way for your digital marketing investment to be wasted. This could reduce your company’s profits and greatly increase the time it takes to pay back for your website redesign.

What is the role of SEO in website redesigning

Let’s first define what a website design project is before we get into the importance of linking SEO to it.

Here are two basic types:

1. A complete redesign/rebuild

These changes can affect both front-end and back-end development, design, content, navigation, and/or navigation.

If the website is outdated, unresponsive, not responsive, or fails to meet the company’s marketing objectives, a complete redesign will be done.

2. A cosmetic redesign

This may involve new page templates, which could trigger text changes to match the new layout. Most cosmetic redesigns are limited to certain sections of the website.

A cosmetic redesign is usually done to update a company’s logo, improve readability (e.g. implementing larger fonts), add new products, or modify the content to appeal to new market segments.

Purpose of SEO

An SEO campaign’s purpose is to rank a website’s relevant pages high on Google.

Google’s complicated algorithm for ranking web pages considers many factors, such as relevancy and quality, images, metadata, and user-friendliness.

If a website redesign alters or removes a URL ranking high and generating organic traffic, without considering SEO considerations, your page rankings could disappear from Google.

Here are a few examples

Let’s pretend you:

  • Modify the hierarchy and navigation of your websiteThis can cause important pages to be buried lower in the hierarchy. Google crawlers might consider that page less important.
  • Modify the URL of a strategic webpage does not forget to add a 301 redirect at the new URL. All inbound links from the old page that made it an SEO star will be retained and will not transfer to this new URL. Google now has a new page, which will require time and effort to rank.
  • Modify the content of a strategic webpageYou can remove target keywords, reduce the word count, change the title tag and/or change the overall message or focus of the page. These changes can have a significant impact on rankings.

Connect the Dots

How do you decide the structure and hierarchy of your website?SEO must be taken into consideration very early in the process.

What is the best time to finalize URLs?Most likely in the middle of the project. SEO should be considered there.

What time do you create and finalize new content material?SEO should be considered in the middle and late stages of a project.

Consider It This

Imagine you have just built your dream $1 million houses. After you move in, you call a few tradesmen to ask when it would be a good idea to install your electricity, plumbing, HVAC.

Sound ridiculous?

Asking the SEO team for an evaluation of your website before or after it launches is the same thing.

Don't let redesigning your website affect your SEO
Don’t let redesigning your website affect your SEO

How to Redesign a Website Without Losing SEO

You can strengthen both the website’s main functions by redesigning it without affecting SEO value. Your website will attract more customers and convert them into paying customers.

  1. Take Inventory of Your Pages
  2. Use a Test Site
  3. Audit Your Redesigned Site
  4. Set Up 301 Redirects
  5. Activate Redesigned Site
  6. Verify Robots Information
  7. Set Up Search Console
  8. Monitor SEO Performance Changes

This checklist will assist you in navigating the site redesign SEO process without affecting your rankings in major search engines.

Take inventory of all pages on your existing website

Search Engine Optimization considers every page of your website an asset. There are many ways to compile a list of all your pages:

  • Use a crawler
  • Your sitemap should be used
  • Google’s index of sites can be used
  • Use Google Search Console

Use a crawler

HOW TO REDESIGN A WEBSITE WITHOUT LOSSING SEO

Prioritizing website design SEO is a natural choice for digital marketers, strategists, and search engine optimization professionals (SEO). Many account managers, graphic designers, and developers may not be aware of the connection between SEO and website design.

This eight-step site redesign SEO strategy is suitable for everyone, regardless of whether you are a novice or a veteran who just wants to be sure that you have done everything correctly.

SEO is crucial for website redesigns

Profit is the ultimate goal. A website redesign is usually a marketing investment that increases your revenue through increased rankings and traffic.

You may be redesigning your website to appeal to your target audience. In theory, a more attractive website will generate more revenue (either through branding or business lead generation) and produce a return on your investment many times over.

Your website serves two primary functions.

  1. Attracting your target audience
  2. Engaging and converting your target audience after they visit your website

The first function of your website is not being considered when redesigning it. This is a quick way for your digital marketing investment to be wasted. This could reduce your company’s profits and greatly increase the time it takes to pay back for your website redesign.

How to redesign a website without losing SEO

You can strengthen both the website’s main functions by redesigning it without affecting SEO value. Your website will attract more customers and convert them into paying customers.

  1. Take Inventory of Your Pages
  2. Use a Test Site
  3. Audit Your Redesigned Site
  4. Set Up 301 Redirects
  5. Activate Redesigned Site
  6. Verify Robots Information
  7. Set Up Search Console
  8. Monitor SEO Performance Changes

This checklist will assist you in navigating the site redesign process without affecting your rankings with major search engines.

1. Take inventory of all pages on your existing website

Search Engine Optimization considers every page of your website an asset. There are many ways to compile a list of all your pages:

  • Use a crawler
  • Your sitemap should be used
  • Google’s index of sites can be used
  • Use Google Search Console

Use a crawler

Screaming Frog is my favorite tool for crawling web pages. It costs $165 per annum and can be used for much more than listing web pages. This tool provides a lot of value with minimal impact on your small business marketing budget. Screaming Frog is free for websites with less than 500 pages.

The Screaming Frog User Guide can help you get started if you’ve never used the tool. Screaming Frog can be used to create an inventory of your pages and help you find technical SEO elements such as broken links, 404 pages, or missing HTML tags. It also has the ability to duplicate meta descriptions or missing them.

Use Your Sitemap

You may be already using an automated sitemap generator if you use content management software (CMS). This allows you to maintain a running inventory of all your pages. You may have an existing sitemap that you manually compiled if you don’t use a CMS.

One common example would be a WordPress site that uses Yoast SEO auto-generating a sitemap. If this is the case, you can obtain a complete list of all your web pages from your Yoast SEO sitemap. Remember that a Yoast website map can only contain up to 1000 URLs, and will not include pages you have labeled “index.”

Google’s Index

For smaller websites, doing a Google search for “site:yourwebsite.com” will return results for all your unique pages that Google knows about today. It is difficult to search through the pages of search results for larger websites. Google might have removed some pages from your site if it found them duplicates or determined that they were not important enough to be included in its search results.

Google Search Console

You can access a complete list of all your pages if you are familiar with Google Search Console. You can filter your search results by pages and extend the date range to 16 months. This will give you a list all URLs Google has identified over the past 1+ years. You can even export the search results report to a CSV file by clicking on the Export button at the top right.

2. Implement your redesign on a test site or staging environment

Once you have taken stock of your website, you can start redesigning it. It is important to make changes to your website design in a staging (sometimes called a “device” or “test site”) so that your SEO can be maintained.

Separate development environments are necessary to prevent search engines from indexing an incomplete version of your site. Users shouldn’t see pages in process of being redesigned.

You can prevent search engines and users from detecting your work in progress by preventing your test site from being indexed. This can be done by:

  1. If you are using WordPress, click “Discourage search engine from indexing this website”
  2. Add a “noindex‚ÄĚ directive to each page by explicit adding it as a meta robots directive
  3. Your robots.txt file will allow you to block all robots crawling your site.

3. Audit Your Website

If your website redesign was limited to “reskinning” existing pages, you won’t have much information to audit. For example, updating branding color schemes and spacing between HTML elements using CSS generally won’t introduce new SEO issues that will hurt your performance.

A complete website redesign SEO audit is necessary if you have undergone an extensive redesign. We offer an in-depth guide for doing a website SEO analysis in a previous blog post. This will allow you to identify duplicate or thin content that could cause you to lose your SEO rank in unexpected ways.

If you’d prefer professional Austin, DFW, or Houston SEO services instead of a DIY approach, contact MARION today.

Common Issues during a Redesign Audit

This stage is where the most problems arise.

Imagine that you are a medium-sized manufacturer of B2B machinery. You have three pages on calculating the payback period for your products. A web developer might just copy the content from the two pages and put it on the third page.

These pages may have had backlinks from third parties. These backlinks will be lost in SEO and users who click on them may become confused. Your new website will display a “Page Not found” placeholder. This issue can be avoided by setting up appropriate 301 redirects (we discuss this in the next section).

In the second scenario, imagine your most popular page (about machinery payback calculations) was located at https://www.yourwebsite.com/payback-calculation/. During your site redesign, a developer changed the URL to https://www.yourwebsite.com/payback-calculations/ (with an “s”). If not done properly, changing URLs can have a significant SEO impact.

Search engines would need to take several months to remove the URL from their index and index your new URL. Then, they would rank your page again from scratch. All backlinks that your old URL earned from third-party websites would be lost. You can avoid any loss of SEO value by setting up appropriate redirects (covered next).

4. Set up 301 redirects

A 301 redirect forwards an existing URL to a URL you choose. This tells search engines that the 301 redirect is a permanent change.

You can keep the majority of the SEO value that was attributed to an old page when you use a301. Then, transfer it to your new page. To optimize your website redesign SEO, it is important to set up the correct redirects. This will maintain website functionality and allow you to make future link-building investments.

WordPress Websites

It’s easy to implement a 301 redirect if you use WordPress. Redirection is a plugin by John Godley that I recommend highly. Follow the simple instructions provided by the plugin author to download it from the plugin directory in the WordPress backend.

5. Activate Your Redesigned Site

After you have completed the design work, your website is now ready for users. Developers will usually do the heavy lifting, but it is up to you to make sure everything works as expected.

Remember in step 2 how you blocked search engines from finding your website? This functionality must be removed before your site’s redesigned version can be activated. Marketers (and I have done it myself) have launched new websites that had “index” directives on every page. This caused the site to slowly disappear in search results.

Without hard data backing your decisions, you can’t improve SEO strategies. It is important to make sure your tracking codes are properly set up and collecting data. This includes Google Analytics, heat mapping, social media pixels, and others.

Download our 8-point website launch checklist to discover other major items that you’ll want to consider after your site is launched. This checklist can make a huge difference in your SEO strategy when you redesign a website.

6.  Verify Robots.txt and Meta Robots

A robots.txt file may include an explicit link directly to your sitemap. Your new sitemap can be included in the robots.txt files to make indexing and crawling for search engines as simple as possible.

As we discussed in step 5, make sure that you are not preventing important pages from being indexed. You can also check landing pages you don’t want to be indexed. You should also ensure that any canonical links you have placed on your site to very similar pages are working as intended.

7. Google Search Console Setup

If you’re unfamiliar with Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools), this easy guide from Google will help you get started.

You should also include a link to your sitemap in your robots.txt files. In step 6, submit your sitemap URL as well to Search Console. Google will be able to quickly identify and crawl all pages that are indexable on your newly redesigned website.

8. Track SEO Ranking Changes

This is the end of the process. You can now monitor new data regarding rankings, conversions, and overall performance. Now that you’ve got access to your data, it’s up to your marketing and executive teams to learn how to choose marketing KPIs that matter.

Remember that a website redesign SEO plan may not instantly improve your SEO results. It’s okay! You wanted to preserve the SEO value of your site.

If your UX team and designers succeed, your redesign will be more engaging and more likely to result in customer conversions. Slowly, longer dwell times and happier users will improve search engine rankings. So be patient!

Hope you find this article informative: Don’t let redesigning a Website affect your SEO

Read More: WhatsApp Web: Everything you need to know

Ruchika
Hello, My name is Ruchika and I am a Full Stack Developer from Delhi. I am final year Computer Science student from SLIET University. My technologies are Nodejs, React, MongoDB, and I am also familiar with Python, C, and C++. Apart from technical skills, My hobbies are reading, writing, and traveling. I consider myself a very focused person and I always work towards my goals in a very efficient manner. I am a team player and very optimistic in tough times.
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