Just like anything else, your website design turns out to be outdated as the trends change. What would you do now? Obviously, you would plan a website redesign. But what about your search engine ranking and traffic that you used to get on your old design? Would you lose them and all your years of efforts to rank number 1 would be lost? What should you do to keep your position and traffic intact?
These were just a few questions that one might have when looking for website redesign to upgrade their website and meet the latest design trends. No matter if you have a law firm website with optimized SEO or a simple blog with huge traffic, you need to take some precautions and avoid any mistakes that could shatter your ranking to ground. To help you and your team get everything right in terms of SEO, here are a few important things to keep in mind during your website redesign process.
- Set SEO Standard: Before you begin redesigning your website, you need a quick audit for your original website. This will give you the standard values for various parameters. This could include rankings on different search engines with respect to important keywords relevant to your website or organization. Carefully look into the website loading time for various devices as well as the content optimization in the initial website. In some cases, you might need to note down the number of leads generated. All these values will serve as a standard when you working on the new design so that you can make sure your new website is higher, or at least match these values.
- Take Care Of URL Formatting: As a part of the redesign process, you might be moving to some new platform or programming language. As different frameworks have different guidelines for the URL’S structures, make sure your new URL comply with the standards. Choose a style that meets your present, as well as any upcoming business, needs to avoid going through the complete process again. Take care of any old pages for permalink styles as you do not want to have two different styles within your single website.
- Look Out For Redirects: Once you are done changing the URL formats, it’s time to look into redirects. You should follow a 301 redirect style to get better SEO results unless required otherwise. This method will tell the search engines that redirection is permanent to the new addresses. It is recommended to avoid any damage caused to your SEO due to new redirections and ensures that all the traffic going to your old addresses are now headed to new addresses. You need to look into each and every redirection so that your audience gets what they came looking for and doesn’t end up to an ugly 404 page.
Although this will take care of your traffic, more optimized way to keep your SEO intact is to contact the webmasters of different websites that are serving backlinks to your website and request them to update the link with the new URLs. This may be a lengthy and tedious process, but the patience pays off.
- Use Noindex While Testing: Despite the fact that it is a very obvious thing to do, it appears to be the most common mistake as well. You do now want to hurt your website SEO while you are testing the new design. A simple mistake could create serious problems as the search engines such as Google might think that there are duplicate contents concerned with your website, which will gradually affect your website’s rankings. Check with your team that the Noindex is implemented before you start testing in a search engine environment.
- Test And Asses The New Website: Make sure that everything is fine before you click that publish button and make the new website live. Conduct the audit again and compare the results with the benchmark values that you noted at the first step. Check for any duplicate content and optimize the text as per the SEO standards. Do not hurry or omit any of the testing phases.
Depending on the number of pages you have to update, you may consider between rolling out everything at once or few pages at a time. Also, it is advisable to publish the new design during the time when you expect the lowest traffic. This will give you time to fix any bug that might come after your website is live and avoid any trouble for your visitors.
- Consult An Expert: If you have a team of experts that is capable enough to guide you throughout the process, it can be really helpful. Depending on your business domain, look for exclusive SEO experts, for instance, if you are a firm of lawyers, look for a law firm marketing and SEO rather than a general SEO consultant. This can have a great impact on the end results as different domains of organizations requires a different skill set.
It is well known that search engine optimization requires a steady, well planned and continuous investment. You do not want to waste years of research and money you put into your website. It’s no brainer that a website redesign can be really helpful for your organization and boost your online presence if done carefully. There can be disastrous results if you ignore the necessary guidelines. So it’s better to plan everything properly and proceed carefully.
Dan Toombs is the Founder and Director at Fast Firms, Australia’s leading law firm SEO and marketing company. With a team of able and experienced staff members, Fast Firms is proudly resolving the ubiquitous problem that so many legal practices faced in terms of marketing strategies.