Building a SEO presence for any website is hard work. The rate at which the Internet and businesses are getting glued together only makes maintaining a strong SEO position harder. With that in mind, another aspect of doing business online is to create a website that is engaging, appealing and brings value to the consumer. This cannot be achieved without iterations to the website itself.
Paying attention to SEO while redesigning has to be considered as that is the part of your website that is the most fragile to sudden changes. Changing your Content Management System (CMS), UI/UX or other technical tinkering a developer may opt for can impact severely upon the site’s ranking. The question, in that case, becomes: “How to prevent that?” The answer isn’t short and easy, but the gist of the matter is that you have to tread carefully in order to maintain the quality of all of the websites parts.
It is quite understandable why most developers are careful when opting for this move. Organic traffic and rankings can impact the established value of the SEO. Technical changes can create numerous bugs that hamper or demotivate traffic. Every minute offline is a tremendous cost to the website’s quality. This is why I will go through a couple of points that can prevent and even improve the SEO when it comes down to the site redesign.
Oversee the changes
This is probably the most important part of the article. Making mistakes isn’t something that is preferable in any business, but here, in particular, it can cause a lot of damage. Since correcting errors when doing redesigning takes up significantly more effort to complete, paying attention to details goes a long way.
Aspects like keyword rankings, backlink count, speed/spam score and other SEO related metrics are crucial to monitor. Online tools exist and should be used for controlling how the metrics behave.
Do your work offline
When it comes to website development, always make sure you have an offline version that is used for testing purposes. This is a 101 advice to be fair, but working on a live website is so detrimental that it warrants a direct warning. Just disabling a website is a subpar option due to the loss of incoming traffic. The optimal way to go about this is to create a website on a separate domain for testing purposes. This allows the developers and designers to work in their preferred way, effectively removing the risks of working on a live website.
Mistakes will happen, iterations will come and the hierarchy of work will collapse given enough time. Allowing these inevitable issues to correct is countless times easier to do with an offline site. Most developers treat this as a necessary standard when it comes down to website design.
Don’t tear down the foundation
Despite all the positive improvements you want to implement within your website, sticking true to the original idea of the website is vitally important. This is the most relevant point in regards to maintaining and improving upon the existing SEO ranking.
Mapping out the layout along with realizing what the bread-makers are when it comes to visitor interaction is vital when considering redesigning. Having a fresh look that is reminiscent of your previous design isn’t an unachievable thing. If URL links to specific parts of the website don’t match with the former version, SEO will suffer. This is mostly due to the URL not being updated via 301 redirects within the search engine. Organic traffic and customer trust decrease if such updates aren’t put in place.
Details go a long way
Once the redesign is completed and everything looks ready for launch, consider taking a look at details to ensure top quality for your website. Optimize images for improved SEO rankings and compress them for faster loading along with the usage of meta descriptions. Search engine crawlers cannot work properly without correct configurations of the robot.txt files (very technical, but crucial).
Integrating all the cogs of communication (social media or other relevant links) between the business and the consumer is vitally important before launch. Connecting all the parts is important for a steady stream of web traffic. Sharing content in an accessible way that is being hosted by a variety of platforms maximizes the engagement. Missing out on this is very short-sighted and can cause accumulative traffic damage.
Broken links have to be found and repaired. In case of lost traffic and damage caused to SEO, there are quick ways to replenish the lost rankings. Working with SEO resellers can mend losses caused by errors in development, but this fix can only work with specific websites that aggregate or provide specific kinds of content.
A lot of work has to be put in a website redesign. Realizing the flaws, designing corrections and implementing solutions is a drawn-out process. Hopefully, some warning I’ve issued in this text can provide context to and possible solutions for emerging problems.
Redesigning is inevitable for any website. Carrying yourself through that process is manageable with the right precautions, the most important ones laid out in this article. Find the right idea, right people and right time to take the step. Correct implementation is vitally important and, with the aforementioned points in mind, easy.