There are times when a business's website needs to be re-designed for one reason or another. When you are re-designing your website however it is important that you don't destroy all the good work that you have built up in ensuring the SEO for your site. Surprisingly–and unfortunately, businesses can lose a lot of their traffic in website re-design or when they change to a different CMS, so it is important that they are aware of how to go through the process without losing everything.
Don't make these SEO mistakes
If you're prepared, your website migration won't result in disaster.
Website Redesign SEO Checklist
If you are re-designing your website, there are a number of factors to consider in safe-guarding your existing SEO and ensuring that traffic to your new site increases, and not decreases.
SEO Analysis – A good place to start is by carrying out an SEO analysis of your current site. This will help you to see what works and what doesn't work, and what can be improved on. You can then use this information to guide the SEO on your new website.
Links – It is important to understand your outbound links as well as your inbound links. If you change your URL you can destroy these inbound links. By knowing who is linking to you, you then need to make sure that 301 redirects are being used to redirect the links to your new website.
301 Redirects – Central to the whole process of migration of data is the 301 redirect. This means that if someone enters your old URL for a page, they are automatically redirected to the equivalent page on your new website. Not only will this reduce frustration for your website visitors, and help you to maintain your current website traffic, it also will mean that your previous hard work in the search engine rankings will come with you and not be lost. Of course, if you can keep the same URLs for your new site, you won`t have to worry about this!
Webmaster Accounts – Both Google and Bing allow you to set up webmaster accounts which allows them to communicate with you when something is wrong. It also allows you to inform them that your website has changed, cutting the risk of you losing the SEO which you have already built up.
Google Analytics – If you can, try to use the same Google Analytics account for your new website. This means that you will be able to compare the progress of your old site with your new one, giving you a better overall picture of how you are doing.
Be prepared – Like most things in life the key to a successful and smooth website redesign or migration to a different CMS is in the preparation. By knowing what you want and how you are going to get there the easier it is for you to achieve your goals, in time, in budget and at no detriment to the work that you have already done.
Re-designing a website might seem a straightforward task, but it involves a fair amount of detail if you want to preserve your previous traffic and SEO achievements. By researching and planning properly you can reduce the risks and start to build on your success.