Redesigning a website can be a great opportunity to tighten up your website Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Whether you are in need of new website traffic or looking to build on current traffic, it’s important to always keep your current SEO standing in mind.
If any of the pages on a site already draw substantial traffic or rank for relevant keywords on major search engines (i.e. Google or Bing), as a business owner, you definitely want to keep these five factors in mind in order to maintain current levels of traffic while pursuing more site visits and conversions.
- Site Architecture
Robots or crawlers index the layout, links and content of websites. In turn, search engine algorithms rely on this data to rank well-organized sites over less optimized websites with broken links and redundant content on result pages.
Business and site owners should account for every page on the old site and determine whether to carry over, redirect, modify or delete these pages. An updated XML sitemap facilitates indexing of a redesigned site.
- Content Changes
It is important to try to preserve the content of pages that draw the most traffic. Moving content to a new page can drive down visits and search engine result page rankings.
It may be advisable to wait to significantly alter or update popular content until after a redesigned site has been indexed.
- Keyword Rankings
Exercise caution when changing the content or location of pages that rank for relevant keywords. In general, each page should focus on a single keyword with variations of the keyword (i.e. “floor” + “floors” + “flooring”) for SEO purposes.
Making a keyword map is helpful for determining which terms and phrases to target on particular pages.
- Meta Data Migration
Check to see if a new content management system (like WordPress) or web design platform has a different default meta data format than the previous system. Page URLs, title tags, meta descriptions, headers and alternate text for images define the role of each page and affect its rank.
Site owners can use an automated tool to gather this information from the old site and optimize these descriptors during a redesign.
- Updated Backlinks
A link to a website that appears on a site that a search engine considers authoritative may raise the ranking of the linked site. Site owners have several options such as carrying over these pages to a new site, redirecting the URL to a relevant page on the redesigned site or requesting to have links updated.
Keeping these 5 factors in mind during a redesign can preserve traffic to popular pages while making the changes necessary to boost your keyword rankings in search results.
Our web design and SEO specialists at Sprout Media Lab work with small & medium-sized businesses to boost keyword rankings, website traffic & leads through conversion-friendly website redesigns – let us help ensure your website gets the ultimate makeover, while preserving your local SEO standing. Call our experts at (800) 617-6975 or visit us online at SproutMediaLab.com.