If you’re a business owner, you understand how a website is crucial for your brand. Having a good website lets visitors be converted from prospects to full customers. Part of that is having a website with easy navigation for them to have a good user experience. However, there will always come a time when a website doesn’t suit your needs and current situation. Luckily, there is something that can help, which is a website redesign.
Most aspects of a website are drastically altered during a redesign. Even things like search engine optimization (SEO) are affected. This is also a common misconception that SEO for a website is a one-and-done process when the reality is it’s not. If a website redesign is mishandled, then the SEO will affect the site’s growth in the long run.
In this article, we will guide you through website redesigns without affecting your SEO. Read on below to learn more.
Working on a Temporary URL
It sounds like a tremendous amount of work, but it has to be done. Website redesigning also affects the URL re-structure, so you need to download the URL structure of your old website. If you don’t back it up, your website ranking will be affected.
The new website should also be developed on a temporary URL, not on the existing one. If you do, it causes major problems for you and your website’s visitors. Because of this, you need to copy your site to a temporary URL to start making the necessary changes. Alternatively, you can switch the domain name once the changes are made.
Testing the New Website
Before starting the redesign, it’s recommended that you do an end-to-end checkup of your website. The checkup takes a look at various aspects such as broken links, CSS, and other features.
The next thing to do is conduct 301 redirects between old and new URLs. Let’s say you have an “About Us” page on your old website, and the URL was “www.yourwebsite.com/aboutus.html”—the new URL might be something like “www.yourwebsite.com/about-us.html.” The 301 redirects will make sure that both URLs work, and it ensures that the SEO benefits you gained from the old URL won’t be lost.
Not doing a proper 301 redirect will lead to the search engine giving 404 errors, meaning this step is crucial and must not be overlooked.
Moving to the New Website
From here on out, it’s a matter of making sure that your efforts are successful.
It’s recommended that you use Google Webmaster to check for broken links. If there are any, you have to fix them immediately to retain your site’s SEO.
Crawling the website is also vital for more positive results. If you’re not sure that it’s crawlable, use the “Fetch as Google” option under the crawler. After that, click on the “Fetch and Render” option. If both tests show positive results, then your website is completely crawlable.
During redesigns, there’s a chance that your robot.txt file can get corrupted. To know if it has, simply use the “robot.txt” option under crawl.
You also have to ensure that the redesigned website is verified, and you can do this by logging into the webmaster’s tool provided by Google and Bing. If verification is lacking, you need to redo it to claim your website. Finally, you have to re-submit your website’s URL into Google index by simply clicking on the “Submit to Index” button.
At this point, the only thing left to do is to submit the website XML to Google and Bing. After submitting your new website, it will be crawled in the following hours. You must then keep an eye out for the changes and the rankings of your keywords and remedy issues if you notice little to no growth.
Redesigning a website is far from easy, especially if you want to retain the SEO benefits from your old website. The information detailed above will help you in your website redesigning efforts, so be sure to follow them. If not, then your efforts will be wasted because you might have to start from scratch.
Internet Zone I is a digital marketing company that specializes in web development. We believe that all businesses must have the chance to grow in the digital space, which is why we offer other services such as SEO, video creation, and managed web services. Contact us today to learn more!