Don’t Forget About SEO During a Website Redesign
Choosing to have a website redesign done is a big decision. Although it’s a decision that you need to carefully evaluate for your Omaha business, it may be exactly what needs to be done in order to get the results you want from your online efforts.
When businesses start thinking about a new website design, its appearance is often the main element that’s on their mind. While it definitely makes sense to want a site that looks great, there are other elements that should be considered as well. In addition to thinking about the structure and functionality of the new design, you also need to take your current online presence into account.
Specifically, you don’t want the new website redesign to sabotage any rankings your business has already established in Google. Since countless businesses have inadvertently sabotaged their search engine rankings by rolling out a redesign, we want to cover some of the most important factors for ensuring your Omaha business doesn’t make the same redesign mistakes:
Start with a Thorough Assessment of Your Current Site
If your current site has been online for quite awhile, it’s normal to not even know how many total pages it contains. In addition to looking through your CMS or file directory, you can also see how many pages Google has indexed by using site:yoururl.com as your search. Since the results of this search will show all of the pages that Google currently recognizes and ranks from your site, it’s a good idea to put all the URLs into a spreadsheet. This will ensure that no important pages or URLs are overlooked prior to rolling out the new website design.
Evaluate Your Existing Inbound Links
Links from other websites are one of the key factors that determine how well your site ranks in Google. While many of your site’s inbound links are likely pointed at the homepage, chances are at least some of the links point to other pages on your website. Since those links point at specific URLs, it’s important to identify them in advance. Doing so will enable you to avoid changes to your site’s URL structure that may trigger ranking problems.
Understand How to Use 301 Redirects
In some cases, changing pages or the URL structure is necessary for a SEO redesign. While diving right into those changes could spell disaster, as long as you follow the previous steps, there’s a way to implement these types of changes without losing the SEO authority your site has already built.
The solution is to use 301 redirects. A 301 redirect is a way to tell Google that a previous page has moved to a new URL. Not only will this prevent Google and visitors from hitting 404 pages in an attempt to find a page that used to exist, but using a 301 redirect also means that the credit for any inbound links pointing at a previous page will be transferred to the new ones. While needing to use numerous 301 redirects may cause some temporary ranking fluctuations, everything should return to normal in a short amount of time.
In terms of implementing this type of redirect, there are two main options you have for your new Omaha business site. If you’re using WordPress as your CMS, there are multiple plugins that make it easy to implement 301 redirects. Otherwise, you will need to manually edit a web hosting file named .htaccess and add each redirect that you want to implement.
Ensure the New Design is Properly Optimized for SEO
Not only is a redesign a chance to give your site a new look, but it’s also a chance to specifically design for SEO. By aiming to not only protect your existing rankings but actually improve them, you’ll be able to maximize the ROI of your new design.
At Big Red SEO, there are several key factors we focus on in order to design for SEO. The first is properly structuring the site. Taking the time to carefully plan out a site’s structure will allow to Google to crawl all of it and understand which pages are most important. Another factor we emphasize is proper keyword research and internal linking.
How fast a site loads is another important factor for enabling it to rank well. The other key factor we emphasize is ensuring a site loads properly on screens of all sizes. We accomplish this goal by utilizing responsive design. Not only is responsive design good for visitors, but it’s actually the design strategy Google officially recommends for mobile optimization.
Use a Sitemap to Cover All Your Bases
If you make sure to follow all the steps we covered, the website redesign for your Omaha business should be able to go live without causing any major search engine problems. However, since Google is far from being perfect, it’s always a good idea to take extra precautions.
The best precaution to take in this case is submitting a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools. By taking the time to create and submit a sitemap, you will be able to give Google a comprehensive list of all the pages it should crawl and index. The exact approach you take to completing this process will depend on whether or not you’re using a CMS like WordPress. Once a sitemap has been successfully submitted, it will provide ongoing updates to Google whenever a new page is published on your site or other changes are made.
Work with Experts in SEO Friendly Design: (402) 522-6468
Even though successfully rolling out a website redesign requires quite a few steps to be completed, the good news is you don’t have to choose between a new design or maintaining your site’s rankings in Google. Instead, selecting the right partner to work with on this project can enable you to have both. Since Big Red SEO has extensive experience redesigning sites in a way that protects their rankings, we’d be happy to help with your project. All you need to do to get started is call us at (402) 522-6468 so we can discuss your specific goals in detail.