loader loader-mb

How to Keep Your SEO Rankings After a Website Redesign

Customer expectations are in a constant state of change, in turn, the digital business landscape must evolve too to maintain a competitive edge. Keeping your primary tool sharp is the key to prolonged success.

We recommend redesigning your site every 36 months.

Keeping your potential customers engaged and ready to make a purchase is the goal. Redesigning your site is supposed to do this very thing but if not executed well could do the exact opposite. All of your SEO implementations could become ineffective.

Your current Google ranking should be increased by a website redesign. Specific steps needs to be taken to ensure this to protect your existing efforts. Changed make to your site need to be current and relevant.

Perform an Audit of Your Current Site’s SEO

Audit your site for strengths and weaknesses, then take the necessary steps to resolve areas that can be improved.

Analyze Your Current Keywords

Ahrefs and SEMRush are powerful tools designed to check the strength of your keywords and phrases. A little investigation will determine which of your site’s pages are generating the most traffic due to these keywords and phrases. These page’s should be changed as little as possible, simply transferring the images, videos and text to your new site is all that’s needed. Keep track of all your data through the use of spreadsheets, this will help you avoid losing important assets.

Understand Your Website Architecture

Expect that your URL structure may differ a little after your redesign. This is acceptable if you keep search engines informed and your changes are incremental. Submitting updated XLM sitemap and check your 301 redirects, navigation links and page structure for consistencies. This will result in a better user experience. Navigation and internal linking are a part of your site’s architecture and how your pages are displayed. Broken internal links can be a result of changes in your URL. This will affect user experience leading to your SEP ranking. Plugins can be utilized to make this process easier. Crawl data can also keep track of your internal link structure.

Backlinks Auditing

SEO rankings will be maintained if backlinks are unaffected as you make changes. Links pointing to your website need to be reviewed as you make changes and omissions. Take time in contacting connected websites and request backlink updates. If this proves to be time-consuming use redirects so traffic generated through backlinks continue to benefit your redesigned website.

Don’t delete your old website.

This is a complex process and mistakes can be made. By keeping your existing website live you mitigate the chance of losing vital data. Check your new site thoroughly before switching to it.

Use your old website as a reference so that when problems occur you always have your old data available. This will save time and financial stress.

Copy your site to a Dev subdomain while your redesign is being implemented, there all testing and development processes can be utilized as you make changes. However, search engines can penalize you if your dev website can be accessed by users or engine crawlers. It would not be wise to accidentally give access to your unfinished work.

Crawl Your Old Website

Set a temporary URL and save your old website as a crawl. This will give you easy access to your critical on-page optimization. Meta titles, tags, meta descriptions, alt tags and headers can all be included.

Moving from dev to live site will be a smoother transition when crawling your old site. Preserving outperforming pages and protecting the dynamic types of content can all be drawn by crawling your old site.

This might not always be the case if your new site contains vastly new material such as new product lines or services. This would require new content generation and optimization.

The grass isn’t always greener.

Look before you jump. Does your entire website need to be updated? If it’s working well, keep it.

Only make necessary changes that give value to your brand. URLs, structure and page names would be far better if not changed at all.

Indexed and ranked content can be revised at a later date. Keep well-performing pages intact, test your live site first and make relevant changes as needed.

Set Up Your 301 Redirects

Set up a redirect plan once you have decided which keywords, pages and inbound links determine the state of your current ranking.

301 redirects have many uses if your URLs are affected by your redesign, including moving sections of an old website without changing the page names or removing old pages for new ones.

Removal of blogs, help or subdomains can be implemented by 301 redirects while keeping all the components hosted in them under a different section of your website.

The staging phase of your website is the optimum time to set up your 301 redirects. When deleting pages you can avoid miss redirecting any due to the ability review first. Crawling will highlight these pages. By exporting scan data you can ensure that your live site will be working as intended.

So, what happens if you do not set up a 301 redirect for a URL?

Improper setting of 301 redirects will result in the 404 error message,the loss of ranking and traffic to your site could be catastrophic. In some cases, a 404 error can be not only useful but necessary to your ranking. Some pages of your old website may have contained old irrelevant data, making similar content isn’t always the best course of action and can lead to Google rewards.

301 redirects as – opposed to 302 temporary redirects – not only permanently diverts URLs but inbound links as well with a high degree of link equity. 302 redirects can hurt your SEO ranking if you’re not careful. 302s are only used when updating a web page while giving users an uninterrupted experience.

Fix Broken Internal Links

Permanently delete pages including all internal links pointing to them. Set up your 301 redirects and fix defective internal linking architecture.

Links not updated to new URLs will ultimately overload servers affecting page load speeds. This could lead to a loss of sales.

Sites with a simplistic look and friendly user interface are setting the trend today. You may wish to remove some options that are no longer relevant like deleting top menus and footers, however, this could affect internal linking architecture.

Update Your XML Sitemap

Once all your site iterations have been implemented you can submit your XML sitemap to search engines. Make sure the new site structures elements are consistent making search engine continuity easier.

Monitor the Results

There will be some fluctuations but within a month your redesigned site should be back in your baseline. During this time you can monitor your changes to see how effective they were. Process any issues that are affecting the usage of the site and look into keywords and pages of interest. If all is well your new site may well outperform in terms of rankings.

Utilize online tools, Moz and DeepCrawl are highly effective tools in detecting issues before harming the performance of your site.

Trust the Professionals

Search engine optimization is a specialized field. Consider using a professional team of experts to help your site flourish in today’s digital online world.