Redesigning your website is an opportunity for growth, but it can also be an SEO nightmare if not managed carefully. We’ve written this article to help your SEO remain strong during a website redesign.
When you embark on a website redesign project, it’s crucial to keep your SEO in mind. This article will guide you through the main areas you need to consider to retain and improve your SEO during a website overhaul.
Understanding the Importance of SEO Integration
If preserving and enhancing your SEO rankings is a priority for your new website, your first step is to incorporate SEO considerations right from the beginning. To gain a comprehensive understanding of how to weave SEO into your website redesign, you can refer to our article, “SEO and Website Design: How to Create Search Engine-Friendly Sites.”
The Basics of SEO and Website Redesign
Preserving and ideally improving your SEO rankings and organic traffic during a redesign involves three key components:
- Understanding what’s currently working in your SEO strategy.
- Recognizing common issues that may arise during a redesign.
- Creating a detailed plan for the changes you’ll make on the new site.
Always aim to not just maintain but enhance your traffic. Research and understand your SEO strengths and weaknesses before proceeding with the redesign.
Assessing What Works Currently
If you’ve been running SEO campaigns, you should have insights into what’s currently effective. Document your successful keywords, ranking pages, and sources of organic traffic. Ensure that these elements are considered in the design and planning of your new website.
Identifying Common Issues
Website redesigns can be driven by various factors, including branding and technology updates. Common SEO-related issues during a redesign may include:
- Removal or alteration of content.
- Changes to the content hierarchy.
- URL modifications.
- Changes in page-level optimisation.
- Introduction of new content or sections.
- Adoption of new technology or features.
- Introduction of technical issues.
- Alteration of the internal link structure.
- Changes to domain, subdomain, or protocol.
Multiple changes can compound SEO problems, so it’s essential to strike a balance between redesign objectives and the need to retain and enhance organic traffic. Always involve an SEO stakeholder in planning discussions.
Planning for the Redesign
With a clear understanding of what works and what can go wrong, you can set goals for the new site:
- Preserve existing rankings and traffic.
- Improve rankings and traffic.
Having a complete sitemap for the new site allows you to compare it to the existing site and create mappings for URL changes.
Website Redesign SEO Checklist
Preserving your SEO rankings and traffic during a website redesign is achievable with some preplanning. Follow this checklist to ensure a smooth transition:
- Keep the old site live on a private web address, inaccessible to crawlers.
- Save a crawl of the old site for analysis.
- Avoid unnecessary changes, particularly to URLs.
- Implement 301 redirects from old URLs to new ones.
- Maintain content that performs well, making minimal changes.
- Keep on-page elements like titles and meta descriptions consistent.
- Update and attempt to improve backlinks by contacting website managers.
- Be cautious about changes to the internal link structure.
- Update your XML sitemap and submit it to search engines.
- Monitor rankings and investigate any issues promptly.
- Track organic traffic to key pages.
- Conduct a technical site audit.
- Utilise Google Search Console for diagnostic information.
The key to a successful website redesign without compromising your SEO is meticulous planning. Failures in website redesigns are often due to a lack of preparation and a clear SEO plan. Ensure SEO is an integral part of your website redesign process to launch your new site with confidence.