Don’t Let Website Redesign Projects Ruin Your SEO

Have you decided to redesign your website or see one looming? Well, you need to be careful. Wondering Why? There are two key reasons:

First, website revamping projects must involve SEO from the start. But often, the team of SEO executives enters the project late in the game or not at all. In such a case, organic traffic and organic conversion generally crater. 

There is no doubt that companies are making huge investments in SEO. Because of revamping, enormous sums of money may be needed to repair the SEO damage and rebuild elements of the website you just launched.

Website Redesign Is in Hyperdrive

There is no doubt that the demand for online services is becoming high because of the lockdown, and it is not a temporary phenomenon. Even shoppers and enterprises are showing interest in online business. 

The Impact has been Significant:

A report shows that because of COVID-19 retail online sales boost up to $183 billion. 

Up to 80% of B2B decision makers prefer omnichannel purchasing. 

In order to capitalize, organizations are refining their business models to incorporate online services like buy online; pick up in-store. To boost their sales, they always include videos, images and fresh content on their website that help to overcome a decline in trade shows and live meetings. This comes from a surge in web revamping projects. 

What Does This Have to Do With SEO?

Before exploring the necessity of connecting Search Engine Optimisation to Web redesign projects, let’s see an overview of a website revamping project.

A Complete Redesign

It included changes that broadly affect front-end and back-end design, development, content or navigation. 

The overall changes are usually done when the website is out of date, requires a complete rebrand, is built on an outdated platform, never meets customer requirements, or many more. In this case, the company has only the option of revamping.

A Custom Redesign

It involves new page template designs that fit the new layout. Custom redesign only affects certain sections of the site. The task is typically to update a company logo; improve readability; add new products and services, or modify the design and content to speak effectively to new market segments.

The Big Image: SEO-Website Redesign Connection

The Big Picture

The main goal of an SEO campaign is to make a website’s strategic pages rank high on Google for relevant searches. Usually, Google’s complex algorithm considers a whole slew of factors when ranking a webpage, including the relevancy and quality of content, user-friendliness, images, metadata, etc. 

Thus, if the website redesign changes or removes a URL that was ranking to help generate organic traffic, without regard for SEO considerations, your ranking for that page could literally disappear from Google.

A few Examples

Let’s say you:

Change your site’s navigation and hierarchy, and an essential page gets buried deeper in the hierarchy. The Google crawlers may regard that page as being less essential. 

When changing a strategic page’s URL, don’t forget to set up a 301 redirect to the new address. An SEO executive will remain with that page for all the inbound links made on the old page and never transfer to the new URL.The links have been removed, leaving Google with a completely new page that will require time and work to rank.

You should also change the content of a strategic page, removing target keywords, changing the overall message and word count or changing the overall message and focus of the page. These implementations can significantly reduce rankings. 

Connect the Dots

When do you decide on your new website’s architecture and hierarchy? Very early on- and Search Engine Optimization must be considered then. 

When do you finalize new URLs? Generally, somewhere toward the middle of the project, SEO must be considered at the time. 

When do you write and finalize new content? In the middle or late stages of the projects, SEO needs to be considered at that time.

The SEO Action Plan for Website Redesign 

As we all know, in the SEO action plan for a website redesign, you need to capture all your current keywords rankings, organic search traffic and conversion data of every URL.

You can also go back a year, breaking your data out monthly. Use this data as a benchmark in order to evaluate how your new site performs after launch. From day 1 of the project, ensure your new website has clearly identified strategic SEO pages. For this, you can add fresh keywords and competitive research. 

On the other hand, create a sitemap with SEO input for your new website that includes every page, the complete hierarchy of all pages, the final URL paths for each page and the name. It helps SEO and will make the new site easier to navigate and scale as new content is added.

Now you need to give content writers complete SEO inputs before they begin writing. They will require guidance on title tags, heading tags, meta description, keywords, internal links and word count.

Plus, provide designers with input on SEO best practices for responsive layout, design and page speed. Large, inefficient graphics frequently cause slow page loading, which is detrimental to both SEO and user experience.

You always need to confirm that the developers are considering SEO impact on a very wide range of technical points. It will include the importance of HTTPS, render-blocking, canonicals, resources and robots.txt configuration. 

When new URLs are involved, extreme care must be taken with the setup of 301 redirects, as they lead Google crawlers from the old page to the new one.

Google Page Experience: The SEO-Website Redesign Connection is About to Get Bigger

Google just introduced the “page experience signal” as a new feature. This is a significant attempt by Google in order to increase the importance of user experience in its ranking. Google  will put more emphasis on the UX-related factors:

  • Safe browsing (no malicious or deceptive content)
  • HTTPS
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Non intrusive interstitials

CWV is a new ranking factor that takes into account:

  • How can a user access an intranet with a web page instantly and easily? 
  • How instant a web page loads.
  • How visually steady a page is when people are using it.

With the web redesign, decisions clearly will have a greater impact on SEO. When designing a redesign, these signals need to be taken into account as early as possible.  Without up-to-date and knowledgeable input from SEO specialists, web design terms could easily underestimate the importance of:

  • How ASP, PHP and other server-side code are crafted.
  • Which content management system to choose.
  • How photos are made and delivered to users
  • How CSS and other client-side code are created.

Aside from this, if organizations bring SEO into the revamping project from the beginning, the result will be not only a site that maximizes ranking but one that always maximizes user experience. 

Content, the traditional driver of SEO rankings, remains fundamentally essential and will continue to be. But a poor user experience frustrates and angers many users even if the underlying content is great.

Google does not want frustrated or angry users, nor do you if you have a business website. 

Cultivating SEO: Web Redesign Teamwork

In some companies, web redesign project leaders and other team members are leery of working with SEO professionals. 

This is a holdover attitude from the day when SEO insisted on heavy keyword usage, densely packed content above the fold, and other techniques that made websites hard to read and sometimes hard to look at.

Those days are long gone, however. 

Google’s page expertise initiative is proof positive that high rankings will depend more on the right content delivered with the best possible user experience. It puts the goals of SEO and web design in perfect harmony or at least near-perfect harmony. 

There will be a time when issues will have to be resolved.

For instance, search engine optimization may want to prioritize a particular product or service page in navigation and hierarchy. At the same time, leadership regards that page as not being quite so central to the overall brand message.

The Solution returns us to the article’s opening.

SEO requires you to be involved in the redesign project from the beginning. If there is upfront agreement on which web pages are strategically essential for search engine optimization, where each of those pages belongs will become much less controversial.

With this, it is simple to see how essential it is for SEO experts to ensure organization leadership, developers, designers and content creators know the business value of those target website pages. Solid analytics baselines, consistent communication and goal setting will keep SEO fully engaged throughout the redesign procedure and will assist minimize negative impacts on SEO performance.

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