At some point in the future, you may need to come up with a plan to migrate or redesign your website. While this is a useful task that a number of businesses undertake when restructuring their image, going about it the wrong way can have a serious impact on your organic traffic. For smaller businesses, losing a large portion of website traffic due to a redesign can be a crushing blow to the company’s revenue.
5 Good Habits to Preventing an SEO Redesign Disaster
1. Before you begin, do a site audit
Chances are that the original version of your site had problems of its own, hence the reason you're planning a reboot. Some of those problems may be linked to poorly implemented SEO concepts that inhibited organic traffic. A good way to prevent this from affecting your new site is by hiring an SEO consultant to audit your original site and point out all SEO-related problems so that you can avoid making the same mistake with your redesign.
2. Research keywords
Part of rolling out a new site is getting a fresh start, so why not take this time to brush up on your keyword phrases? Consider doing some keyword research to see what people are looking for when they’re Googling your goods and services, and then build a list of good keywords to help you increase traffic on your new site. Also, don’t just use the keywords for Meta tags and website copy, place the keywords in your blog content as well.
If you’ve not begun an inbound marketing campaign, a good time to start is right after a site redesign.
3. Fix those broken links
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when redesigning a website is not fixing those broken URLs. The action of scanning your websites hyperlinks is known as crawling, and having a website filled with broken links is a recipe for SEO disaster. Additionally, those links have probably contributed in helping boost your SEO rating, so purging them from your site completely would also result in a lowered SEO score as well. Instead of removing those problematic links, migrate or redirect them so that they’re fully integrated into your new website.
4. Recycle your good content
As the saying goes, "if it ain’t broke, don't fix it." Just because you're doing a complete overhaul of your website doesn't mean that you need to completely scrap everything. Look at content that's bringing in traffic and converting leads and incorporate it into your new site as well.
5. Create a 404 error page
While you’re redesigning your website, visitors are bound to come across some broken links that haven’t been migrated yet. Instead of subjecting them to their browser’s default 404 error page, create a custom “page not found” error that explains how you’re undergoing server maintenance and that the site will be up and running shortly. Alternatively, you can use a 404 page to further your brand with a creative version that expresses your brand's personality.
Redesigning your website can be a great way to add some much-needed life into your content. As long as you follow these steps to ensure your SEO rankings are protected, you’ll be able to attract visitors with a new and updated look.