When a B2B website is concerned, a lot of the website’s redesigning needs keep getting delayed simply because the possibility of losing one’s SEO ranking due to a redesign is nerve-wracking. Developers and marketers work tirelessly in harmony to increase their website’s SEO rankings day after day. When considering an improvement in the user interface or the addition of new modules to the website, developers wonder whether a redesign is worth the dip in SEO rankings that may follow afterward.
However, developers can avoid this comparison by simply abiding by certain tips and tricks religiously. Instead of developing new processes from scratch, it is always recommended to learn from others’ experiences. By incorporating the following tips before, during, and after the website redesign process, developers can maintain your website’s SEO seamlessly:
An SEO Audit
To understand what you should maintain, you first need to measure just how much you are supposed to retain. That is to say; if you wish to maintain your website’s SEO during a website redesign, you should understand and quantify your current SEO optimisation level. Not all pages on your website will be highly optimised, and you should identify which pages are responsible for bringing in organic traffic. SEO optimisation levels can be identified using either the ever-popular Google Analytics or other software such as Moz or SEM Rush. While recognising high ranking pages, these tools will also help you recognise which pages need to be worked upon and need improvement.
301, 302, 404
Prior to launching your new website, you need to check for any existing errors in your web pages. With the use of an SEO tool or application, you can identify any 301 and 302 errors prior to launching your new website. For such errors, you need to incorporate a redirecting tool. However, if users find themselves on a page that no longer exists, you need to create 404 pages that give users details about why this particular page doesn’t exist anymore and should redirect them to another page.
Perform On-Page Optimisations & Set Goals
By making use of Google Analytics, you can identify which keywords help your rankings organically and which aren’t as useful. You can identify and devise new keywords that could target your target audience in a better way. In addition to the above, you also need to set SEO related goals for your web strategy. Your goals should detail what your strategy is directed towards: whether you are looking to increase organic traffic to all web pages by 7% in comparison to the previous year, or whether you wish you increase traffic towards a certain web page, etc.
Use What You Can
Instead of doing away with your old website completely, you can keep the old website or pages alive. Doing so would keep the website live (on a temporary address, of course) for your users and also be a referral point for you in your website redesign process. Additionally, developers often throw caution to the wind and redesign everything they can get their hands on. However, it is wise to retain certain things such as URLs, URL structures, and page names. Doing so will give you a certain amount of leverage in case all hell breaks loose.
Do Not Operate On A Living Body
Whenever SEO and optimisation are involved, you should never work on a live website. Whatever data you transfer needs to be done before your new website launches. Additionally, the older and newer versions of your website should be in coherence and cohesion with each other.
Save Older Information & Play Match
Rather than overwriting information from the old website, you ought to preserve information and original content. If you hire a reputable web design company or outsource the design work, they will most probably deal with it themselves. In addition to the above, if your website redesign does not involve any drastic changes, you should match the old and newer versions of your webpages.
Important Points To Consider
While focusing on a redesign, you should also focus on keeping track of your backlinks. Before, during, and after your website launch, you should track your backlinks and check for any pertaining errors. Your backlinks are typically linked to your social media profiles, and hence any changes in your domain ought to be replicated in your social media profiles too.
Develop A Content Strategy
In addition to the above, you also ought to design a content strategy for your website. While it is true that a new content strategy can have a negative impact on your website’s overall structure, but in order to match with your website’s redesign, the content you put out ought to be updated as well.
Create A Checklist
In order to ensure a smooth and hassle-free web redesign process, you may need to develop an SEO checklist of sorts to make sure you keep tabs on all points. You can opt for a ready-made and generic checklist you can find online or create a customised one for yourself. The checklist should also include all tasks and the people who are responsible for each task.
What To Do Once The Redesign Is Complete
Once the website redesign is complete and the website goes live, there still remain a number of tasks that need to be completed. The first thing to do post-launch is to create a webmaster profile and submit XML maps accordingly. Next, you need to constantly check and monitor for any issues that may require revisions and/or updates. When handled correctly, a website redesign can actually be beneficial for your SEO rankings rather than hamper it.
The Takeaway: Maintaining Your SEO while Redesigning your Website
It can be a little daunting for inexperienced developers to handle a website redesign, but a well developed and planned strategy can do wonders. Abiding by all set forth rules and decisions while taking minimal risks is an ideal strategic combo for developers handling a crucial website redesign process.