Redesigning your website might be a great way to attract more customers and boost your business but it might also cost you a lot.
If you’re about to revamp your website, you should know that you might lose some of your natural search traffic.
Confused about the topic of SEO and website redesign? This post is for you.
Here are 6 smart SEO tips to help you keep your traffic even when you are constructing a brand-new website for your target.
Understand your site
When you begin to redesign your website, chances are that your URL is going to change. If that’s the case, you should inform the engines where your older URL moved to.
If you don’t, you risk losing all your SEO power. Everything you’ve achieved for your old URL will now be wiped away. And when that happens, you can be sure that your organic search traffic drops, you lose on rankings, as well as on sales, revenue, and other important parts of your business.
That’s why you need to fully understand everything there is to know about your current URL.
Crawl your own website to review your current URL. You can use tools like Xenu Link Sleuth or Screaming Frog. Once you do that, make sure to export your reports and have everyone who is involved understand the structure of your website and everywhere else that is about to be redirected.
How to let search engines know the content of your website has been moved to a new location? You need to use 301 redirects.
That way search engines will know that when they stumble upon new pages that have the same or similar content, they can safely assign the same rank to these pages.
Every single page on your old website needs to have 301 redirect set up that points to the same content on the new website. Don’t make the general redirect point to the old homepage of the new website.
If you can’t do a one-to-one match between new and old pages, make sure that your old pages point to a new page with similar content. If there’s no automation option, just do it manually.
Your next step is to identify the most popular content that refers to your website, the so-called backlinks.
That information is waiting for you in your analytics or SEO tools. It’s smart to get in touch with the owners of the referring websites and ask them to change the link to point to your new page.
If we’re talking about a large number of pages, reaching out to the owners of all these websites might not be an option.
That’s why you should focus only on the most popular backlinks and reach out to the owners of these websites to have them properly 301 redirected.
Remember about optimization
When you’re redesigning the website, you should also review your current optimization. Make sure to document it and remember that your new pages should also follow that optimization.
To analyze content optimization, use tools such as SearchStatus or SEO Site Tools.
That kind of analysis will also help you to find potential optimization issues that you don’t want to deal with when designing your new website.
Never forget to analyze content optimization when you redesign website is published. You don’t want to lose all your rankings and traffic simply because you decided to offer your audience a brand new experience.
Sometimes transitioning from the old website to the new one might include a change in domain name. In that case, you should consider structuring the process into separate steps.
First, move the old website to the new domain setting up 301 redirects one a one-to-one basis. Once you’re done and it’s working, you can launch your new website on the new domain – with correct redirects. That’s how you minimize the risk that something goes wrong in the process
It’s smart to review and update your robots.txt file, provided you’ve got one on your old website.
That file basically informs search engines about pages that you don’t want to be indexed or crawled. You can update it to match the URL structure of your website.
Make sure that none of the development or test websites are crawled. That can result in duplicate content problems. Use the file to block search engines from indexing these websites and add password protection for extra security.
Use these 6 smart SEO tips and you can be sure to keep your traffic while redesigning your website to provide your audience with an amazing new experience of your brand.