This is a guest post from Amanda DiSilvestro of HigherVisibility
Optimizing your website takes a lot of time and energy, so it’s important that you don’t let all of these efforts go to waste when it comes time to revamp the layout and design of your site. Just because you want things to look nicer does not mean you want to start over when it comes to Google rankings, so you have to follow a few precautions to save yourself the headache.
Unfortunately, many companies and blogs are quick to change the design of a website with the assumption that SEO will transfer over. In some cases it might, but in other cases you have to manually make sure that your SEO is surviving. This leads to that inevitable question: When thinking about SEO, how do I know what to keep and what to let go when it comes to a redesign?
Top Things to Consider When It Comes to SEO and a Re-Design
Keeping your SEO from the old site in place for the new site is actually very easy when it comes down to it. Simply consider all aspects of SEO and determine what needs to stay (pages and content with a high CTR) and what needs to go (pages cluttering up the site). A few suggestions of things to consider include:
• 301 Redirect Backlinks. This is the most important aspect of SEO and re-designs. You want to make sure that you setup 301 redirects for all of your pages because it not only directs users to your new pages, but it passes PageRank. This is of course only necessary if the URL structure is going to change from that of your old website.
• Inbound Link Check. By checking to see which pages have inbound links associated with them, you can double check to make sure that those links are being passed to your new website. A 301 redirect should ensure that this happens, but it’s always good to do a check beforehand in case something goes wrong.
• Indexing. You want to make sure that the Google bots can crawl and index your site, and the way to do this is to create a sitemap .xml file. WordPress offers some great plugins that I have used in the past that will help you get started.
• Tell Google. There is actually a section of Google Webmaster Tools that allows you to give them a heads up that you’re completing a redesign. If you’re moving domains, let Google know in order to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.
In the end it’s really all about 301 redirecting your pages and then tracking your SEO in Webmaster tools from your old site to your new site. If you can make these things happen and really pay attention to the changes that occurred in your SEO, you should be good to go. It’s important to realize that Google doesn’t want you to lose your SEO successes, so there are things in place to help make sure that doesn’t happen.
Do you have a story about your SEO suffering when re-designing your site? Any tips for those looking to avoid an SEO loss? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
About the Author
Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO services company.