How To Not Let SEO Rankings Drop After Site Redesign
Want to get your website redesigned but don’t want the SEO rankings to drop? Here’s your one-stop guide on avoiding ranking drops during a website redesign.
According to HubSpot, GoodFirms, a B2B research firm, found that 73.1 percent of web designers believe visitors leave a website because it’s not well designed.
A separate study from Stanford suggested that 75 percent of users judge the credibility of a business based on its website’s design.
These facts should urge you to make sure your website has a perfect design.
But here’s the thing about website design—what looked good and worked great for the user experience in the past might not remain as useful in the future.
As trends change, so do user expectations about how your business website should look and feel. That’s why getting a website redesigned regularly is equally important.
Before you rush to find a website designer for redesign services, you should also know the following things:
- According to WebFX, a website redesign can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $75,000.
- If you get your entire site redesigned, it can take an average of three to six months.
- Also, if you’re like the average webmaster, a website redesign will negatively affect your SEO to some extent.
So you may think to yourself, “I will be spending time and money getting my website designed again, and yet, I will have to suffer SEO loss.”
Well, that can be true if you do not practice caution while getting your website redesigned.
However, with a proper website redesign, you will get a fresh look and feel for your website. You will also get a lot of SEO advantages, a reduction in bounce rate, and an increase in traffic and qualified leads.
7 Ways To Avoid or Minimize SEO Ranking Drops
Here are seven effective, actionable ways in which you can minimize or entirely avoid SEO ranking drop after a site redesign.
1. Create a List of Your Existing Web Pages
It is important to start by taking an inventory of all the pages on your website. Once you know how many pages you currently have and how they are structured and arranged, you can easily create revamped site architecture.
Having a list of all your existing web pages will also help you make sure none of the pages suffer an SEO ranking drop during or after the redesign.
2. Find Keywords You Rank for and Optimize New Copy for Them
Several SEO tools, such as Keyword Explorer, can help you find all the keywords your website ranks for.
While creating a new content copy for your revamped website or updating the copy, make sure you properly include the ranking keywords.
This will help you avoid losing authority and ranking for the keywords that have the most value for your business.
3. Create a Test Site
How do you think your users will feel if they frequently see your website go down for maintenance and update?
Do you think they’ll wait around for you? Or will they instead go to your competitor’s site?
The latter is more likely, isn’t it?
Also, downtime for your website will negatively impact your SEO.
To avoid that, you should create a test site, called a staging site, to get your website redesigned.
You can use the staging site to implement all your design, structure, and content changes. Once everything is over, you can transfer the changes to the original website in one go.
This will ensure minimum downtime.
4. Noindex Your Test Site
Do you want the content on your original website to end up flagged as duplicated by Google?
Well, that can happen if Google also indexes your test site.
When you implement the changes on your original website, Google will consider it a duplicate, and the test site will rank higher.
That’s something you don’t want. Thus, to stop Google from crawling your staging website, make sure you noindex it.
To do that, all you have to do is use the disallow tag for your development staging server in the robots.txt file.
5. Audit Your Redesigned Site
Once your new website is ready, carry out an audit for the site (on the staging server itself). Here are the things that you should check for:
- Meta title and meta description on all pages
- Canonical tags on all pages
- Alt tags for all images
- Relevant Structured Data Markup (also called Schema markup) on all necessary pages
- A proper robots.txt file
- Correct sitemap.xml and sitemap.html
- The use of proper keywords on all the pages
- The use of internal linking tactics
Once you have ticked all the boxes in the checklist, only then should you make the redesigned website live.
6. Set Up Redirects
Often, when you get your website redesigned, you need to change the URLs for some pages. This means the new content will be available through the new links and the old ones.
Well, that’s what often causes the most SEO-related issues.
The old URLs can continue to exist, which can cause duplication and site indexing issues.
Or if the URLs get deleted, they take users to blank 404 pages which is bad from a user experience point of view.
To avoid either of these SEO and user experience issues, you should make sure you add proper 301 redirects.
With these redirects, the old URLs will take the visitors to the relevant new pages or to the homepage if there is no similar counterpart.
7. Set Up Google Analytics and Search Console
Here’s the thing about SEO: there is so much to do, so we often skip some of the most vital parts.
And one such essential aspect that you absolutely cannot skip is setting up Google Analytics and Search Console. Failing to do that will result in you not getting desired reports and data about your website’s performance, traffic, and SEO.
So get started with SEO-centric website design today.
With that, you now know all the key steps to follow to avoid SEO ranking drops during and after a website redesign.
Begin revamping your website today!