A Guide From Semalt On How To Avoid SEO Disaster During A Website Redesign


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Backup
  3. Index the website at the right time
  4. Attend to redirects on time
  5. Change SEO gradually
  6. Upgrade hosting
  7. Keep the User Experience in mind
  8. Get a professional to do the Job
  9. Conclusion

Introduction

A website could be re-designed for many reasons such as for modernization purposes, to keep up with search engines changes, mandates, or updates. It could also be to keep up with new internet marketing trends and updates, or to remain relevant in the competitive market with competitors. For some companies, this is done every two to three years. Doing this helps them to achieve the goals aforementioned, and makes their site optimized. 

SEO (search engine optimization) is very important for websites. Search engines are what determines which site pops up when certain keywords are searched for by users. They employ crawlers (called search engine crawlers) to check out what a website is about, what they offer, its purpose, and its authenticity. Optimizing a search engine involves making changes to a website to help make the website easy to find when certain search engines are being used.

The result of SEOs is always supposed to be positive because it provides users with a clearer understanding of the site, along with faster site loading speed, user-friendliness, and a lot more concerning user experience. However, when done wrongly, it can lead to the loss of all rankings. Search engine crawlers could also get suspicious of a website and tag it as spam when the redesigning is done too quickly. 

Since a website is meant to go through redesigning as often as possible, how can a website owner avoid SEO disaster during this process? Here is what you can do.


Backup

Yes, the entire process would be done on a trusted computer, and it should automatically save your progress as well as your files and documents. However, it is highly advisable to make this a conscious effort to back up before beginning the process of the website redesign. With a backup, all old databases and files are safe for whenever they might again be needed. 

Index the website at the right time

The next step is to ensure that the website is indexed at the right time. This is to avoid losing all keyword ranking. If the website is not indexed, the website could also get penalized by Google for duplicate content. However, this has to be done at the right time. 

It is done too early (that is, before the appropriate time), it can lead to an overwhelming amount of duplicated content. And when is too late, that is, after the appropriate time - the website owner can lose many or all of the keyword rankings. This means that all SEO efforts previously attempted would have to be restarted from scratch.


Attend to redirects on time

After indexing the website, the next aspect to pay attention to is the redirects. They are very important in ensuring a website's successful migration. And to do this, Google Analytics and Search Console should be installed. This is the first step to ensuring that redirects are handled appropriately and professionally. 

When using these applications, make sure that they are using the same code as the previous website, because all data and keyword rankings could be lost otherwise. Next, a site map of the existing live site should be pulled up and cross-checked. This is to help in the decision of how the migration will go. The URL structure also has to be decided on. Although, it can be kept as the same (since this would reduce redirects), or it can be changed.

All redirects should then be implemented within the first twelve (12) to twenty-four (24) hours after the new site has been launched. Ensure that there are no broken back-links on the site and every URL that ends with extensions and file names like .html, should be converted to a more user-friendly URL. 

An important thing to note however is that, before the new website is launched, all the URLs that need redirecting should be compiled in a spreadsheet or a clear list so that the next step would be organized and direct. This would help to keep the SEO intact.

Change SEO gradually

As mentioned in a previous section, doing things too quickly is the recipe for disaster when it comes to SEO and Website Redesigning. This is because SEO is extremely delicate and any sudden or suspicious change could lead to the search engine crawlers on a spy mode towards the website. Instead, it is better to create a plan that can help with a steady, slow, and precise change of the SEO on the Website. 

The contents can be changed slowly over time, and the internal linking can remain the same as the old websites until much later. The meta and titles can also remain the same while all headings can be copied. However, the plan goes, ensure that it is all done slowly and steadily with a precise plan.