SEO Checklist for Website Redesign: Relaunch Your Site Without Losing Rankings
Prioritizing website redesign SEO appears to be a no-brainer for digital marketers, strategists, and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals. However, many graphic designers, developers, and account managers may be unaware of the connection between SEO and website redesigns.
Whether you’re new to site redesign SEO or a seasoned vet looking to ensure you’ve checked all the boxes, this nine-step website redesign SEO strategy is for you.
Why SEO Needs to be Consider On Priority While Doing Website Redesigning?
It all comes down to money. In most cases, a website redesign is a marketing investment that will increase your revenue through higher rankings and traffic.
You’re probably redesigning your website in order to make it more appealing to your target audience. In theory, a more appealing website will generate more revenue (either through branding or business lead generation) and provide a higher return on investment.
Your website, on the other hand, serves two purposes:
- Getting your target audience’s attention
- When your target audience visits your website, you must engage and convert them.
When you redesign your website without considering SEO, you are ignoring the first function. This is an easy way to waste years of prior digital marketing investment. This can lower your company’s profit and significantly increase the payback period for your website redesign.
How to Redesign a Website While Maintaining SEO?
Step 1: Speak with your SEO Team.
So a site redesign is on your team’s to-do list. Consult your SEO team before creating a to-do list for a web developer.
SEO can assist you in determining which changes will harm your site’s search performance. Small changes can sometimes have a big impact.
“Things that may appear relatively trivial to a non-SEO during a redesign — such as the number of links on a page or what text is formatted as an H2 vs. an H3 — those things can really add up and hurt your ability to get in front of the right audience,” Hesterberg says.
Remember that by bringing in an SEO expert, you’re already putting your redesign on the right track.
Step 2: Examine your Current Website.
Benchmark the performance of your current site before redesigning it. Examine your rankings for critical keywords. Investigate metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
- The bounce rate.
- Time spent on-site.
- Domain mastery.
- The number of completed forms.
- The number of distinct visitors.
- The total number of sales made.
Instead of starting from scratch, you’ll be able to tell what’s already working with this information.
Step 3: Make a List of your Top-Performing Content.
When analysing your site, keep track of which pages have the most shares, views, and inbound links, as well as the keywords for which these pages rank. You must safeguard these assets on your current site during the redesign. If you don’t, you could seriously harm your site’s search rankings.
Assume you delete a page with a lot of inbound links. Inbound links assist search engines in determining the quality of your content and driving referral traffic to your website. Removing this page may have a negative impact on your keyword rankings and traffic.
Remember: You can avoid making this mistake by determining what content is currently performing well on your site. During the redesign process, you should make as few changes to these pages as possible.
Step 4: Establish your SEO Objectives.
Consider how you want to improve your search engine rankings and traffic now that you know what you need to keep.
Would you like to boost your keyword rankings by 10% this year? Do you want to double your monthly unique visitors? Do you want organic traffic to outnumber paid traffic in your search traffic?
Step 5: Improve your Current Content.
To meet your SEO objectives, each page on your site should focus on one to two important keywords for your business. This ensures that your content strategy is based on what your users are looking for.
Implement on-page SEO tactics after you’ve determined the keywords for each page to increase your chances of ranking. One good practise is to include your keyword throughout your post, such as in:
- The name.
- The first paragraph.
- Description of the meta.
- Alt tags for images.
Add links to related content as another best practise. This assists search engine bots and readers in navigating your site and comprehending the relationship between your posts.
This method of updating your content will take time, which is fine. Content optimization is not something that can be completed once and then checked off the list. These updates must be done on a regular basis in order to improve.
Step 6: Configure 301 Redirects.
When you audit your site’s content, you’ll discover some low-value pages that aren’t worth updating. These pages may be out of date, redundant, or irrelevant to your company. You’ll probably discover that they’re bringing in almost no qualified traffic.
To maximise your crawl budget, these pages should be removed or redirected. This procedure, known as content pruning, is not always as straightforward as pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del.
Pages that do not have any backlinks or meet any other performance criteria can be safely archived. However, any pages with at least one backlink or a ranking lower than another page for the same set of keywords should be redirected.
If your URL structure changes, you’ll also need to set up redirects. Assume you install an SSL certificate on your website. In that case, all http://yourwebsite.com pages must be redirected to https://yourwebsite.com.
Visitors or search engine crawlers who land on deleted pages are redirected to existing content on your site. As a result, one of the most important steps in retaining traffic and rankings is to set up 301 redirects. In fact, it is frequently regarded as the most important.
Step 7: Revise the Architecture of your Website.
After you’ve pruned your content, you should concentrate on your remaining pages. Existing content should be easy to find for both readers and search engines. Visitors should also be able to quickly understand the relationship between pages.
Your homepage could direct visitors to your About Us, Products, Services, News, and Contact Us pages. Each of these pages will contain links to various sections of your website. For example, the blog homepage could link to category pages, which in turn could link to individual blog posts. These then lead to author pages.
This structure assists search bots in understanding the relationship between pages as well as the importance of individual pages. Because more pages link to your blog homepage than an author page, search engines prioritise the blog homepage.
Step 8: Improve your Page Speed.
We all know that today’s online customers expect websites to load quickly. In fact, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in less than two seconds. However, site speed is not only important for user experience; it is also a ranking factor in search.
Consider compressing your files, adding a content distribution network (CDN), minifying your code, and using a caching plugin on your site to improve your average page load time. These steps will improve your site’s technical SEO and reduce page load time.
Step 9: Refresh your XML Sitemap.
Once your site is up and running, you must update your XML sitemap and submit it to Google and Bing. A sitemap is similar to a floor plan for your website. It lists all relevant URLs so that search engine crawlers can better understand your site’s structure and evaluate and rank it.
Increasing the Effectiveness of Your SEO Efforts
Remember that SEO should not be a single topic of discussion at the start of the redesign process. SEO is a continuous consideration.
“Make certain that your SEO team or manager is included in discussions at every step of the way to evaluate the potential impact of specific changes you intend to make,” Hesterberg advises.
Following the above checklist can assist you in retaining and improving your search engine rankings and traffic.
Read More: SEO Trends 2023