How to Retain Your Rankings After A Website Redesign
Every website deserves a new face once in a while. However, doing this can ruin the hard work you have put into your SEO so far. SEO is whatâ€™s bringing you your ratings, rankings, and ultimately, the cash flow into your account. You do not want to forget about it when changing your website or migrating it to a new platform. In fact, itâ€™s a good idea to put it first when starting a new project. Itâ€™s recommended by Google that websites go through an overhaul every now and then in order to stay fresh. After all, people love new things.
The following list shows the reasons clients usually want to redesign their websites:
BEFORE YOU START
Know that a website can sustain substantial losses when redesigning or migrating if the SEO isnâ€™t done correctly. A good idea is to set your website up on a temporary URL while working on it because using the live one can cause a lot of problems. Your hosting provider should be able to help you with this. In some instances, they can even do it for you. Keep in mind that you need SEO in order to bring traffic to your website. This will help you to work with it when redesigning your website.
Step 1: Select better web design, better platform, and better hosting for any website change
Pick one thing and stick to it. You donâ€™t want to overwhelm your website with too many changes at once. A better web design will go a long way to getting new traffic. However, if you want a new platform, go with that instead and keep the old design. The new web hosting is also a choice and if you want to try that, forget the first two for another time. When making these changes, make sure you only change the design of your website. Changing text can lead to a false change in rankings. Once the new website is launched and you know what your rankings are, you can then make more dramatic changes to it. The more changes you make, the more the rankings you have will change; though they can be false changes. The way your rankings come is important to notice. The first few days will bring about a change either way. You need to keep in mind that these rankings will even out after a few days. However, a total overhaul will change rankings dramatically and it may not be for the better. So make sure you only change one aspect of your website.
Step 2: Consult your SEO provider if you have one
An SEO provider will help you set up everything you need in order to get your website rolling. Your SEO provider will take care of the SEO part of the website redesign. He or she will provide all of the SEO content that you need to take with you on your new design. Make sure your SEO provider is let in on the plans at the beginning. This way, he or she can start the process of managing your SEO content right away and doesnâ€™t have to catch up at the end. This will ensure that your SEO content comes with you as you do your revamping. Remember to keep your SEO provider in the loop at all times. He or she needs to know what the project is so that they can keep on top of your SEO.
Step 3: Create a Full Website Backup
Make sure you have a full backup of everything on your website. Know it well. Create backups of all of your URLs and links. If any of those have changed, you have to notify search engines where they have gone to or you will lose your SEO power. Everything drops when old links lead to nowhere and donâ€™t generate organic search traffic, rankings, revenue, and sales. Donâ€™t forget your subdomains. There may be links on there with inbound traffic that you didnâ€™t even know about. These are important to note because they may be giving you traffic that you didnâ€™t consider. Any traffic coming into your website is a good thing. However, you want to make sure that the traffic coming in is of a substantial portion. This means that the traffic coming in is interacting with your website. If people are just coming and leaving, this isnâ€™t good traffic.
Step 4: Moving your website or platform or hosting
Moving your website or platform will let you start again. However, you want to do one or the other. Moving your website or platform will take a lot of time and energy. If you want to host, do that after the other things are completed. Make sure you have all of the pages from your old website on hand. When switching to the new website, do it all at once. This will help expedite crawling.
Step 5: Setting up Permanent 301 Redirects (page or domain level)
Analyze your inbound links. You want to know where theyâ€™re connecting to and from. These pages must be migrated if you change your URL structure. Using 301 redirects when going from your old URLs to your new ones is vital. 301 redirects are very important from an SEO standpoint. They help with your search equity. Keeping the same URL structure as your old page is helpful here. It will keep you from issuing 301s. If you can avoid this step, then you will be saving yourself a lot of hassle and time.
Step 6: SEO Audit and SEO implementation
Auditing the site is a step that will help you see what the search engines do and donâ€™t like about your site. Though there are tools to do this with, it is recommended that you do it yourself. Look for things like duplicate and missing title pages, page titles below 200 and above 512 pixels, duplicate or missing H1 tags, duplicate and missing meta descriptions and those over 923 pixels, image alt texts, canonical tags, and canonicalization, and broken internal and external links.
Step 7: Notifying Google & Search Engines about the Change
Make sure that everything is running as itâ€™s supposed to be when going live with the new website. Check all of your links again just to be sure. After this is done, log in to your master tools and verify the new website with Google and other search engines. If itâ€™s still verified, great. If not, verify it again. This will let Google and all of the other search engines know where to find your new website and that itâ€™s up and running. Within the master tools, use Fetch as Google and Fetch and Render. This will ensure that Google can read the website. Should everything be fine, re-submit everything to Google. You can do this by hitting Submit to Index. You also want to check your robots, using the Robots.txt tester. This allows or doesnâ€™t allow search engines to access the website. You want to make sure that search engines can access your website through this file. Finally, re-submit the XML sitemap to Google. Should your URLs have changed, this will help search engines index the new website faster. It will also be good for your rankings. Speaking of rankings, you want something that monitors them. A program can do this for you. A change in rankings in the first few days of a new launch is normal, so donâ€™t get too concerned if a drop is seen. Also, donâ€™t get too excited if an increase is shown. They will level out on their own nature to a normal degree after a few days.
One Common Problems to Solve
One of the most common problems is communication. Be sure that everyone on the team has all of the same information and is on the same page. Make sure they all know about the SEO strategy. Always keep the communication open. Also, look for missing Metadata. You donâ€™t want search engines guessing what should go in the open space. In addition, look for missing content. Put it where it should go. And remember to implement redirects. They need to be in place and work as directed.
To conclude, changing the platform or design of your website is a normal process in keeping your website updated. You want to stay fresh. People love new designs and are more likely to keep coming back to your website if it has a new look and feel to it every now and again. However, you want to make sure you keep up with your SEO. This is important because you already have the traffic coming in through the SEO set up on your old website. You want to ensure that you keep the traffic, and money, coming in through the new website as well. Remember to work with your team and especially your SEO provider to make this happen. Communication is a must. So is working with SEO from the beginning of the project. The whole team working together on the project is important so that your SEO stays intact, making your entire project worth the revamping itâ€™s going through.