You redesigned your website with the best of intentions: improving user experience, enhancing your SEO potential, or adding an ecommerce page. The challenge with a website redesign is recognising the changes that decrease your search ranking. Here are some of the most common SEO problems that happen while redesigning a website, and strategies you can use to mitigate them:
1. Your Copy Doesn’t Reflect Your Keyword Strategy
A website redesign typically involves changing the copy so that it fits the new brand and its messaging. Of course, in situations where messaging has more impact on your business’ bottom line, this isn’t a problem; however, if you’ve had success with your keyword strategy then changing on-page content can have an effect on your business.
Determine which pages of the site bring you the most traffic – and this is important – that convert into sales. Consult with your SEO experts to get recommendations on new keywords that fit your brand messaging and your overall SEO strategy.
2. You Changed Your URLs or Permalink Structure
Changing your URLs and permalink structure is a big deal. In general, this change should not be made without a good reason and a considered strategy. Typically, the URL changes that are made include:
- Moving content from a subdomain (http://blogsubdomain.website.com) to a subfolder (http://website.com/blogsubfolder);
- Changing the page slug, for example going from http://website.com/p=4016 to http://website.com/blog-post-name.
This issue can cost you significant search traffic for a long time, so unless your website really needs it for functionality or usability then you should avoid changing your URLs. It will also affect any external links you have pointing towards your high authority pages so be sure to set up permanent 301 redirects to pages with link equity.
3. Too Much Fluff, Not Enough Substance
Scrolling parallax websites with full-width images are very trendy in website design. That may be great for user experience and branding but they are nearly useless for SEO. The Google crawl spider does not see images, so if all of your text is embedded in images you will be losing out on valuable SEO juice. It’s in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines: Avoid converting text to images.
Keep the beautiful photographs but don’t forget to prioritise useful and rich content that your users will find helpful and interesting. If you truly do prefer to have landing pages with little to no text, start a blog or news page that links to those landing pages to help with search engine traffic.
4. You Let Spiders Crawl Your Site Before It Was Ready
A major SEO mistake in website redesign is allowing the staging site to get on Google’s index. An incomplete website looks bad for user experience, a factor that Google considers when ranking websites. What you should be even more cautious of is the chance you will get slammed for duplicate content on the main site and end up losing your search engine ranking.
This mistake could mean that when you launch the new website it will be knocked out of the rankings by duplicate content. Any temporary pages or staging websites should be password protected or be noindex, nofollow, and disallowed through the robots.txt file.
Don’t take your Google ranking for granted. Even if it isn’t a major part of your business, search engine rankings offer a steady flow of business, so it’s important to keep them on your side. Give these SEO mistakes full consideration to avoid losing your current rankings when redesigning or building a new website for your business.