How to Maintain SEO Rankings After Redesigning a Website
Article by Cyd Cruz
Graphics Design by Ryan Rivera
When it comes to gaining traction for your online business, ranking up on search engines is difficult enough. That said, redesigning your website may often lead to removed or changed content, internal link structures and URLs, among others. Unfortunately, website redesigns are inevitable in most online businesses, especially once you gain more traction, presence and audiences. Although it may cause your rankings to shift, there are practices and methods that you should keep in mind. These practices and methods will help maintain SEO rankings of your website after a redesign.
5 Ways to Maintain SEO Rankings After Redesigning a Website
1. Identify and carry over SEO elements
If you practiced good SEO methods on your previous site, then you would want those to carry over to your redesigned website. Crawl through your old pages and take note of the elements you’ve implemented like meta descriptions & tags, headers, titles, etc. It’s important to carry over these practices to your new website in order to maintain your good SEO standing.
As soon as you’re done with the analysing process, document them in an easy-to-access file. Tick off the requirements that work fine as well as the ones that you would like to keep. That way you can work on fixing or improving your content, saving yourself the trouble of doing it later on. In doing so though, don’t change up the ones that are performing well unless you need to amend obvious mistakes. Also, keep a record of your legacy site’s top keyword rankings and loading speed for both desktop and mobile platforms. Maybe even a copy of your crawl data safe and your search console data! All these will provide you with a frame of reference post-migration.
2. Maintain layout and structure
The layout of a page plays an important role in its success when it comes to rankings. Websites that are easier to navigate and explore ensure that your user’s journey through your site is smooth and pleasing. Never forget the importance of user experience, or UX for short. Unless your page layout is an obvious eyesore and causes a lot of confusion for your users, then try to maintain its structure and carry it over to your new website. Low click-through rates and high bounce rates on your website will force search engines to rank it poorly.
URL structures are also important since it serves as your website’s address. When adding new pages, always ensure that the URLs are consistent with your present structure. This helps to preserve your website’s uniformity and convenience. Updating the interlinks on your page is also important when deciding to change up your URL structures. This will help avoid the confusion from a user’s end that comes with clicking on broken links during their navigation. It would also be in your best interest to avoid dropping your existing URL structure for a new one. Unless of course your website has changed what it normally offers. Changing URL structures will make you lose a large amount of traffic from inbound links.
Reviewing your site’s internal link structure is also important. Good internal links are the foundation of your website’s link equity flow, more commonly known as “link juice”. Make sure that your website’s architecture isn’t too deep. Having users click too many times from your homepage to get to another page might result in bad user experience. Moreover, search engines will demote pages that are “too hard to find”.
3. Redirect your URLs to new website
Always remember that there are users who rely on their browser’s history to return to previously visited pages. What happens if one of them decides to come back to your website, only to find out that it’s gone? Another thing you have to consider when redesigning your website is the redirection from your old URLs to new ones. Redirects work for both your human users and search engines, it’s a good idea to keep track of all the URLs that need redirecting. List them all down and when you’re done with the redesign, crawl through the new site. Ensure that every necessary change and redirect has been properly implemented.
There are two kinds of redirects, a 301 and a 302, summed up as permanent redirects and temporary redirects, respectively. 302 redirects send users to a new page or site while yours is still in the process of a redesign or update. Knowing this, it should be carefully used since it can also damage your site’s SEO. 301 redirects, on the other hand, sends a message that a page or site has been permanently moved. This kind of redirect transfers inbound links in the process which undoubtedly helps you maintain SEO rankings.
4. Implement on-page SEO to maintain ranking
Obviously, a redesign will probably cause your website’s rankings to take a hit. One thing you should consider doing is to immediately implement high-impact on-page SEO practices to your site. This is to ensure that your temporary loss of visibility is minimal and lessen the negative effects of a redesign. A few of the many high-impact on-page SEO elements are as follows:
- Robot-friendly URLs
As mentioned before in this article, URL structure is important for your website’s SEO. You may ask yourself this question: What exactly is a robot-friendly URL? To put it bluntly, it’s basically a URL that’s clear and simple. It usually contains keywords relating to the content of the given inner page.
When building your URLs, make sure that they properly embed the elements found within and use the correct separators. In addition, it might also be worth your time observing the proper length, which is 115 characters or less. Having longer URLs might result in Google refusing to index it.
You should also insert keywords to your URL which properly reflects the page’s contents. Keep each URL unique too in order to avoid duplicates.
- Meta title and description
A meta title and description is an important element for both search engines and users. These elements form the headings of entries in search engines. Meta title is alternatively known as title tags or page titles. Meta description will give you a brief summary of what the page is all about in your search page whereas the meta title is displayed in the title page of a browser or on other open tabs. You see those clickable blue links that show up in SERPs? Those are the meta titles. Having them properly implemented as well as meta descriptions, will do wonders for your SEO.
- H1 Tags
A single webpage can have multiple tags, but the H1 tag is usually the first header tag that’s visible. Different from the meta title, H1 tags show up to the user while they’re actively browsing a page and acts as a beacon for search engine crawlers to provide information on what the contents of the page are all about.
- Optimised keywords
SEO keywords, as the name suggests, can be keywords or phrases found within your web content. These keywords help make it easier for people to find your website through search engines. Acting as one of the main elements for SEO, optimised keywords attract your target audience to your site. Not only that, but they also attract search engine bots. Proper usage of your SEO keywords will result in SERPs ranking your pages higher.
- Restore internal links
Since we’re tackling the importance of robot and user-friendly URLs, you might end up making changes to your link structures. This will be beneficial for you in the long run, but it might result in broken links in your content. Keep a meticulous record of all the changes you’ve made in your link structures and ensure that your internal links still lead to the proper landing pages.
The implementation of these SEO elements will undoubtedly result in a lot of work and a number of technical knowledge. It would be best for you to call for the assistance of a professional web design agency to handle this. Don’t worry, with the help of Verz Design, you can breeze through this step and let us handle it!
5. Reinstall your SSL to maintain SEO rankings
An HTTPS is a secure version of the HTTP. It is the primary protocol that sends and receives data between a website and a web browser. A website redesign will most likely result in you losing your website’s SSL. “What is an SSL?”, you may ask. An SSL is the protocol used by HTTPS to encrypt communications. This ensures that your website’s private information, along with your users’, remain private.
Read more: Why do websites need SSL certificates?
Since safety and data privacy is a huge priority for a lot of search engines, focusing on your new website’s security functions and protocols will not only ensure that your website starts ranking quickly again, but will also look more trustworthy to your users.
Verz Design is here for all your website redesigning needs
Website redesigns can be a daunting task for anyone who isn’t used to the basics of web development. Luckily, Verz Design holds more than a decade’s worth of experience in servicing more than 3,000 active clients. From simple website redesigns to complete overhauls, our team is well-versed in ensuring that your websites maintain SEO rankings!
If you’re still having doubts on capabilities, check out what our clients have to say about our quality of work!
Thinking of redesigning your website for a wider target audience? Verz Design has your back! Give us a ring at 6841 1680 or email us at [email protected].