Tips on redesigning your website without impacting the SEO
When redesigning your website, it is important to ensure that the hard work you have put into building up your Search Engine Optimisation isn’t affected. There are certainly things that can damage your SEO in the process of redesigning your website, therefore, understanding how to avoid such issues is important to ensure you don’t lose key organic traffic. Mistakes can result in penalties and even cause search engines to no longer view the website as the relevant answer to queries.
1. Don’t change the name of an image that ranks well
Images names can be an important part of improving the SEO on a page as the image can be named a relevant keyword and search engines will use this information to decide where a certain page should rank, therefore meaning image names are linked to the SEO. If images are replaced with new images and renamed this can affect the SEO, especially if the new name is something completely irrelevant, such as ‘image73725.png’.
2. Don’t delete pages or change the URL
It is likely that a website redesign will mean that some pages are no longer needed, however an experienced web designer would know that it would not be a good idea to go ahead and delete them. The same goes for changing the page URL, which is likely to negatively affect the SEO of these pages which already rank well in Google. The pages may also have inbound links – which you could lose the SEO value from if they no longer exist. Another problem could be that the pages may have been bookmarked by visitors, which means if they attempt to revisit the page, instead they will reach a 404 page which isn’t a great customer experience.
The best alternative to deleting pages is to redirect them to pages that already exist, and when changing URL, it is best to redirect the old URL to a new one. A 301 direct should be used as this lets the search engine know that the page has been permanently moved.
3. Perform a re-crawl after migration to and from the development environment
It is likely that some errors will occur when migrating to and from the development environment and then sending it back to the live server once any changes have been made and tested.
It is important that pages are checked for links that may be pointing back to pages in the development environment. There are tools that a good web developer can use in order to crawl every link within the website.
Once the website is migrated to the live server it is important to review all the links to external sources as links pointing to the development environment will appear as external links, which should in fact be internal links. Corrections can then be made on these. This step is crucial when migrating in any direction to avoid potentially very damaging errors.
4. Make sure you complete a function check
It is important to physically test functions to make sure they are working properly once the website redesign has been completed and moved to the live server.
Mistakes can happen if testing is not completed. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, releasing something which is not tested is risky.
5. Find an experienced Web Development team
An experienced web development team will know how to safely redesign your website without making the mistakes that could lead to a low-quality website with damaged SEO. If you are interested in redesigning your website and want to ensure it is done safely in order to prevent damages to your SEO, ThinkEngine can help. Find out more here.