How to Redesign a Website Without Losing SEO
To redesign a website without losing SEO: Optimize images, conduct a full pre-migration crawl, keep the development side crawlable and indexable, and more.
Every website will need to be redesigned, updated and improved at some point. More than likely, these updates will take place on a routine and continual basis for the remainder of the site’s life. Updates are made to serve modern consumer preferences, adapt to new technology and trends, and to better serve business needs, updates and expansions. Website construction is complicated, and the focus tends to fall on visual updates and designs, commonly leaving SEO as an afterthought.
There are a few steps you can take to guarantee your redesign will not impact the SEO of your site.
1. Leave the development environment crawlable and indexable
To ensure proper indexing and to appear in search results, it is crucial your new site is “crawlable.” There are a few steps to take to make sure this happens. When creating your new website, do not duplicate content from other sites or other pages on your website. Enable compression and browser caching, avoiding landing page redirects. You should also publish new content regularly. If you are changing URLs, be aware of any redirections or inbound links. You will want to use a 301 redirect – not a 404 page.
2. Optimize Images
You will want to optimize every image used on your website. For starters, you will want to make sure all image names are adding to SEO, avoiding general names like ‘Image1.jpg’. Also check to see if the image’s size format is suitable. Lastly, you will want to include descriptive captions and an image site map.
3. Perform a full crawl after migrating the live website
There are quite a few areas you will want to look into when performing a full crawl on your website: web, sitemaps, analytics, backlinks and URL lists. Not only will you uncover SEO drop-offs, but you should utilize the crawl to test your site on different platforms – from desktop to tablet.
4. Know what works and what you want to change
It is important to understand what already works in your current site’s SEO while also having a detailed plan for what you are going to change. Analyze how long users spend on specific pages, the percentage of bounce backs and how many conversions are made on each page.
As your sites continue to evolve, it is important to be mindful of how design interacts with SEO. Taking steps to incorporate best web design practices will ensure your new page will not only look better – but rank better too. Our team has taken on a diverse set of website launches, updates and redesigns. From launching BW Travel Zone, an interactive content hub and blog on behalf of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, to redeveloping AP Construction’s website to take advantage of industry-specific SEO strategies, Ideas Collide is ready to help you get your website where it needs to be.