SEO Tips When Redesigning Your Site

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Melissa De Oña
Published Aug 2020
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During the redesign of your website, you don’t want just to boost your SEO rankings – you don’t want to lose ground either.

A redesigned website with a thorough SEO audit is the best of both worlds as you make it easier for both Google search bots and potential customers to navigate your website.

Audit What’s Working & Underperforming

Some of the biggest things, that you’re most likely already tracking, that impact your site’s SEO performance are:

  • Keyword rankings
  • Number of backlinks
  • Domain authority
  • Alexa Global Rank
  • Site speed
  • Intrusions of viruses or malware
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on page

The design of your new website will influence most of these. If content in your new website visually isn’t where your customers expect it to be, you can expect them to spend less time on a page.

Still need to setup Google Analytics? Install Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights or add a tracking snippet using javascript following the instructions from Google.

Set-up Temporary Pages for Edits

Avoid editing the live version of your current website before it’s ready to be seen by your customers. The proposed new site should be self-contained on a separate temporary website or stagging site. Don’t index this site on search engines while editing.

This way everyone’s clear on what’s different within your redesigned site and can approve content structure, brand positioning, and other items vital to your site’s organic performance.

Use a tool like SEO Crawler to compare the proposed new site with your current website. By crawling your sites, you can ensure your URLs are well structured, and pages have no broken links.

Provide 301 Redirects & Clear 404 Messages

If you decide to change the URLs and/or domain on your updated website, you’ll need to let the search engines know through 301 redirects. If you don’t, Google will penalize you and customers will leave your site sooner, damaging your rankings and domain authority.

When setting up 301 redirects, make it a good customer experience. Each old page someone lands on should take them to the closest version of the new page-not just your new home page.

For a new website on WordPress, you can add redirects using the Simple 301 Redirects plugin.

If someone gets lost on your new website, you can help them by having a clear 404 not found message. On your 404 page, keep the site’s menu visible and provide links to your homepage or to go back to the previous page they viewed.

Use Google Search Console to check for broken links and reported 404 errors that Google’s webmaster tools has found.

Create XML & HTML Maps For Your Site

When you’re ready for the new site to index on Google, you can also submit the XML sitemap through Google Search Console. For when your site visitors can’t find a topic through your main navigation menu or using search, you can provide a URL sitemap on the bottom of your website. This contains a list of links to every page available on your website.

Optimizing Content for Organic Search

Before the site is live, go through every aspect of your new site including:

  • Page title: shown in the search results before someone clicks on a specific result
  • h1s, h2s, h3s: These heading tags beginning with h1 as your main headline indicate both to visitors and Google what your content is about. The h1 should contain one or more of your targeted keywords.
  • Keywords: Your targeted keywords should also appear in the rest of the content along with the URL. If your content is actionable or educational, the keywords within it should come relatively naturally.
  • Image optimization: Include image titles and alt tags to help search engines understand what an image contains.
  • Site speed: You can also help your site’s load speed by compressing images. Image compression tools including Optimizilla or Smush for WordPress are quick, easy ways to do this. Speaking of site speed, you can ensure your site doesn’t go down or load slowly during traffic spikes. Use a trusted host like WP Engine.

If you have more questions on your site’s SEO, contact us…we’d love to help!

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