A good website redesign strategy is required to take advantage of the latest technology and trends. Redesigning your website is not without risk. All to often, the website makeover results in a dramatic downturn in search engine rankings!
Don’t underestimate the value of the existing indexed pages… or the benefits of current organic SERPs. The web design strategy plan and checklists should take careful account of the current status of the existing website.
Website Redesign – Strategy & Project Planning
Rather than just rush headlong into the web redesign / rebuild process, an assessment of the good and bad elements of the original site should be made. Include consideration of SEO aspects. To preempt major problems, running the rebuild idea past a freelance web designer with decades of experience makes sense… I provide free, no-obligation website SEO audits.
Design Changes & Threats to SERPs
It’s important to understand that a current search engine rankings can plunge off the charts as a consequence of a website redesign! Why is that? Failing to plan is planning to fail – and you must have viable strategies to contain the threat to rankings.
Website Redesign & Permanent Page Redirection
Without an accurate page redirection chart that specifies where the old content went, search engine spiders will be left wallowing in a puddle of 404 Page Not Found errors.
- Top-Ranked Pages – must be identified and protected
- 301 Redirection – reroute current page file names to the corresponding new page’s name. Not doing that means all indexed content will suddenly generate 404 Page Not Found errors, and be deleted purged from all search engine’s index. Next comes total loss of all internal Page Rank. That’s followed by all client’s Bookmarked page links being lost… Finally, all “deep links” to internal content will be lost…
- Preserve the Optimised On-Page Content – move previously optimised page content to their new page counterparts.
- Image ALT Tag Text – copy the old text to the replacement images
- Meta-Tags – copy Title tags, Description and Keyword meta-tags to the corresponding new pages
- Site Maps – provide and listing both XML and HTML Sitemaps
If this is not done, search engine spiders and bots will be forced to restart from scratch. If they are forced to re-index and reassess and the website, and you’ve not protected the positive elements, a plummet in rankings is assured! Having your ecommerce website design project go down the drain can be distressing. Contact me if you need WordPress tech support to ensure these elements are addressed.
Is Google Still Needed?
Whilst there those who wish that Google was irrelevant, that does not make it so. Ignoring the guidelines provided by the planet’s most influential search engine is not the way forward.
Perhaps when you’re a household brand name, you won’t need search engines to route new clients your way. But for now, to garner an increasing supply of new visitors from Google et al, you’ll have to play by the rules of engagement… None of us can alter global reality to fit our own perceptions – we either adapt… or become irrelevant! Any reputable NZ web design agency should know this stuff…
Redesigned Website’s SEO Needs
Achieving SEO benefits requires that there be overall targets to shoot at…
- SEF-URLs – Search engine friendly URLs or Page File Names should be explicit, and keyword-rich, independent of Titles or Headings
- Titles: independent and unique page Titles are essential.
- Description Meta-Tags: independent and unique page descriptions are essential.
- Keyword Meta-Tags: independent and unique page keywords
- Image URLs: image file names should incorporate targeted keyword phrases
- Image ALT Tag Text: dynamic based on file name with manual over-ride is ok. Keyword rich image file names are important supporting elements of page content.
- Menus – each item controllable, independent of page Headings, with manual hyperlink titles
- Headings – formatted in H1, H2, H3 HTML tags, independent of menu name
Include Core Files in the Redesign Process
When redesigning your web site, be sure to address the underlying elements that ensure good indexing and visitor experience.
– Robots.txt: with a link to the XML sitemap
– Sitemap: XML, plus HTML
– Custom 404 Error Page: standard page template, full menu etc
Make sure that the BASIC Hosting issues are sorted;
– www vs. non-www: use full canonical domain name, prevent duplicate content indexing
– Hosting: correct country TLD – or correct country hosting