There can be several reasons to revamp your website. For instance, it might have been a few years since you last updated your website, or maybe it’s because your website marketing strategy has changed in the past days. However, whatever the reason might be, it is essential to make a solid plan before redesigning your website or migrating to a new CMS completely.
One of the prominent concerns that come with this process is going through the whole redesigning method without losing the current SEO. While there’s a common misconception that SEO only needs to be done once, that is not entirely true. Once you start making the numerous alterations to your website without any execution plan, no matter how small they are, they can negatively impact your SEO and affect your brand’s long-term online growth.
On the other hand, when done correctly, redesigning a website can also work in your favour by effectively strengthening its SEO. In this article, we’ll provide you with a detailed guide on how you can have a major website redesign without losing SEO!
Step 1 – Take Inventory of Your Current URL Structure
The first step that several people dismiss or neglect is to download the current URL structure of their website. Redesigning a website means many changes will be occurring in the near future, which might also affect your URL re-structure. That’s primarily why it is best to back it up, negating the chances of impacting your website ranking mistakenly.
Step 2 – Redesign Your Website on a Temporary URL
One of the most crucial things to remember when redesigning a website is that you should never make any changes to your current URL directly. The reasoning is simple – it might cause your visitors problems at the time, and there’s also a chance you might encounter issues with your website in the long run.
Keeping this in mind, the best approach would be to copy your site and transfer the content onto a temporary URL that you can use until you’ve made all the required changes. Another alternate route would be to switch your domain while you’re making the alterations.
If you’re facing problems with these techniques, it can be in your best interest to use a hosting agency that can do it for you professionally.
Step 3 – Audit Your Website
Once you’ve copied your old website to a new URL, it’s time to do a thorough end-to-end checkup. This includes inspecting multiple aspects of your website, looking for broken features, links, and CSS. This step is necessary as it’ll help you understand exactly what needs to be changed and which alterations should be your foremost priorities.
For maximising your website appeal, you should get in touch with an SEO agency that can help you identify the gaps that might be harming your website SEO.
Step 4 – Redesign, But Don’t Reinvent
Redesigning a website doesn’t mean you need to change all the crooks and corners of your webpage. Instead, it is best to keep your focus only on changing the structure that needs to be updated or revamped due to the current SEO trends. Anything more will only damage your current SEO ranking rather than boosting it.
So, along with the defects you scrutinised in the last stage, make it your prime concern to make a list of items that you should not touch while re-structuring and redesigning your website.
Step 5 – Implement Proper 301 Redirects
There’s a significant chance you would not want to remove any pages or change the URLs that are already doing well. However, if you must, you can implement proper 301 redirects to ensure you don’t lose the SEO benefits that you were getting from your previous page.
What a 301 redirect does is that if someone tries reaching your website using the old link, this functionality automatically redirects them to the new page without showing them the ‘404 web pages not sound’ error. Moreover, Google doesn’t downgrade your previous SEO when you implement the 301 redirects.
Step 6 – Set Up Your New Website Using a Staging Environment
You now have a game plan to act on, and you’re ready to redesign your website. However, there is one vital precautionary measure that you would have to remember while redesigning your new website. Make sure you’re not messing around with your live site as it can prematurely set pages live or even encounter duplicate content on search engines index.
To prevent these issues, you should ask your development team to set up your new website using a staging platform meant for testing the live environment without actually launching the pages.
Step 7 – Take a Leap of Faith and Jump
Once you’ve finalised all the plans for your website redesigns and redirects, it is time to make the jump to your new website. However, if your website is big, you should make timely incremental changes instead of doing it all in one go for retaining your SEO ranking.
Step 8 – Ensure the Redesigned Website Success Rate
The next step is to ensure that your website runs smoothly and doesn’t have any broken links or features. If found, you’ll have to make quick changes for fixing them to avert a penalty.
To do this, you can utilise efficient tools like Google WebMaster that enables you to check if there are, in fact, any unresolved issues on your new website.
Step 9 – Monitor the Changes
Lastly, it is crucial to monitor your new website’s changes, looking for any potential growth. Moreover, you should also keep a check on your primary keywords’ rankings. It is a basic standard to keep tabs on your website’s SEO for at least two to three months, even if it performs well in the initial month after launch.
Failure to adhere to the discussed principles and steps always result negatively as you lose your hard-earned organic SEO from the past.
If you’re unsure where to begin your website redesign without losing SEO, we’re here to help you out. Connect to TopRankings for our SEO Migration services that solely focuses on optimal SEO strategies to establish a dominating online presence for your website.