The increasing use of smartphones has taken this to the point where you can truly damage your business if you don’t have a properly designed website. This is because people access content via their phones more often than on their computers. They order things online using apps and read content while they commute to work.
But changing website design to accommodate this technical requirement and to follow currents trends is more than just a makeover. Since SEO is one of the keys to a successful website, you have to make sure that it stays intact while you’re making changes.
Avoiding an SEO disaster is one of the most important issues to address when redesigning and here is how.
Create an URL list
Your old website contains URLs that you shouldn’t forget to record when redesigning your website. You can use these URLs for redirection and reference during the transfer to the new site. Without them, you might lose already-built reputation with the search engines.
A good way to start is by recording any broken links and existing redirects on your website. However, if the URL structure will change, avoid the redirect chains. This is because the process will affect website performance and can cause a loss of ranking. By using tools such as Screaming Frog, you can crawl the site by yourself and create this list.
Carry on an audit
Before redesigning your website, you should use Google Analytics to check your current Google ranking. This will show you what parts of your site are in good shape and which ones you need to improve. It will also give you information about which pages users visited and landed on when using Google search.
This data is important since it will give you insights that can help you create better strategies for your new website. Knowing which ones work and which can cause damage is imperative if you want to grow your business and increase the number of visitors who turn into consumers. Of course, Google Analytics is only one among a myriad of tools you can use for an audit and it’s only a question of which one suits you the best.
Analyze inbound links
Those URLs that are located on other websites and point back to yours are called inbound links. To make sure that they all still work after the redesign, you must check them during. Even though a 301 redirect solves this issue, an in-depth analysis is the only way to make sure everything went smoothly.
Losing inbound links can damage the already established SEO strategy. Use tools like Ahrefs to make sure that your links are safe. Bad inbound links will only annoy your potential visitors and create a negative reputation for your brand.
URL structure should remain the same if possible. However, sometimes that’s just not possible and you have to make certain changes. This step can be a little bit tricky and, if not done correctly, can cause serious problems with your SEO.
“When users interact with your brand online, they expect nothing less than seamless experience,” points out GWM, one of the leading digital marketing consultants. With this quote in mind, it is highly advisable to hire professionals for this part of website redesigning. Failing to use 301 redirects on all pages containing new URLs will prevent your audience from reaching you.
Never forget to backup
Ever since we started trusting computers to save and store our data, we had to get into the habit of backing up everything we really can’t afford to lose. The same applies to websites, since they are actually a big pile of data that needs to be taken care of. That is why it’s highly advisable that you backup the old site before replacing it. This way, you will have all data stored in a safe place if you need it for later.
Create a new sitemap
Creating a new sitemap or updating the existing one will help a search engine find new URLs and all other changes more easily. After your redesign your website, you have to crawl it to make sure that URLs are indexed and ranked properly. A new site map will also help you notice if something is missing and what you could replace to make it even better.
All in all
Redesigning a website is about more than just creating a new interface and implementing new visual trends. It takes planning, strategy, and regular checks to make sure that everything is in place and SEO stays intact. Maintaining a healthy and working website will not only preserve your Google rankings and audience but also bring you more success.