With SEO being many business owners’ Holy Grail of website design, we often get clients coming to us asking if altering their site (in the form of website redesign) would give them an SEO boost.
"Hey, that’s not an answer!" you say.
"You got that right!" we reply. But it’s the only answer we can give – website redesigns aren’t magic bullet solutions for fixing your website woes.
Now, they might be able to help if certain parts of your on-page SEO aren’t performing as they should, but if you don’t understand what’s working and what’s not before you begin the process, you might end up doing more harm than good.
It starts with an audit
If you want to redesign your website for better SEO, you need to know what specific changes will improve your traffic without driving away the visitors you already have.
Form is no substitute for function when it comes to SEO. Rather than worrying about aesthetics, the first step of your SEO-based site redesign is auditing your website with online tools like Google Analytics to give you some data on which pages are performing well. You can also have an agency do an SEO audit, which gives you a tangible document that you can then decide what you want to do, such as hire the agency for ongoing work if you liked the audit and their process.
Check your links
Linking structures, including the ones within your page and the backlinks driving traffic to your page from other sources, are valuable tools for SEO. Naturally, if your website redesign kills a page that had dozens of SEO-driving backlinks to it, you won’t be doing yourself any favors.
Determine which pages feature your heaviest hitting SEO links before making changes.
Keep navigation consistent
Related to your linking structures, your page’s rank is influenced by how navigation is perceived by search indexing crawlers. Your web page should feature a clear hierarchy, with the most important pages directing to less important pages in ways that make sense to both users and search indexers alike.
It’s common to alter navigation during a website redesign, but be careful that your changes are visible and recognized by the crawlers that determine your rank.
Watch those keywords
Keywords peppered throughout your page copy, metadata, image alt text, and anywhere else they might be hiding play a role in SEO value. The placement and density of these are important – and often get disrupted during comprehensive website redesigns, creating serious SEO problems with how crawlers view your content. Keywords are important. We all know it. ‘Nuff said.
Use images with care
Images are hot in the web design world, and for good reason.
However, more isn’t always better for SEO. The push towards sparse, minimalist pages that feature heavier use of images and less text may be the way the web design world is moving, but reducing the text on your page also reduces the number of opportunities you have for keyword inclusion. Images also tend to slow down your page’s loading time, a true killer of visitor interest. Use images wisely and make sure they are compressed.
Do you need a website redesign?
Improved SEO is not a given with website redesigns. Plenty of website owners shoot themselves in the foot in the desperate search for a higher page ranking. And although the process can be fraught with peril, this doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be found.
Approach the process with care and with the above considerations in mind. You might be surprised at how much you can increase your traffic, engagement, and overall conversions through a simple website redesign. But you won’t be able to find this value without the expertise of quality web design companies that know what to look for. Reach out for professional guidance with your website redesign to avoid losing the traffic you worked so hard to get.