The look and feel of the websites nowadays has changed considerably in the small window of a decade. The redesigning of a site is the call of the hour for most sites as it is mandatory to keep the site updated, inviting and in trend. An archaic website design limits the traffic and fails to attract the right kind of people. However, the act of redesigning a website comes with its own share of setbacks as it a momentous change which can disrupt already smoothly running wheels of SEO for a website, which in turn significantly reduces the search traffic after the website is re-launched.
Different business owner approaches this in different ways. Some prefer to get the website redesigned first and then get an SEO expert involved, while some like to involve both the SEO expert and web designer from the beginning of the process. The later seems to be more convenient, as the former can lead to expensive site design changes that could have been easily implemented during the design process. It most cases, it is difficult to correct issues after a website is launched without fundamentally rebuilding the site again. Hence, SEO should essentially be part of the site architecture and the design process rather than something, which is sprinkled generously on to the website at the end. Hence, one is walking on thin ice when it comes to redesigning.
Let us explore some SEO steps, which should be considered during a website redesign.
All Content should be Indexable: In order for a web page to be ranked in a search engine, web crawlers must be able to index it. A web crawler is a program or automated script which browses the internet in a meticulous and automated manner. They forage for data and deliver that data to the search engine servers, where it is assembled and stored. However, crawlers are picky and can only index certain types of data. In order for a particular content to be indexable, it must be formatted in a way that is compatible with the crawlers’ particular requirements. The content should be written in HTML and should contain alt tags. The video or audio content in a website should also be indexed and include a written transcript on the website. In addition, restricted pages which are only accessible via a form or password, are not indexable, hence it is advisable to avoid them when possible. One can get an indexability report prepared in order to ensure the content which is being put are going to be indexed.
Optimization of Content: Redesigning often involves reassembling how the on-page content is arranged. Content can be changed, deleted or rewritten to abide by the new site structure and design. The SEO ecosystem is forever evolving and the content requires to be upgraded over time, especially if it has been a couple of years since you last updated your site. Redesigning is the perfect to update your on-page SEO so that it conforms to the current best SEO practices. In order to optimize the content, the first step is to optimize keyword density. To achieve optimal keyword density, each piece of content should focus only on one or two highly significant keywords, and these keywords should appear only when it makes incidental sense. It might also be a smart decision to reevaluate the keywords themselves and think about whether those keywords are relevant to the services which are offered by the company.
Reformatting URLs: It is advisable to keep URL structure the same wherever possible. In unavoidable cases where a site’s URL structure needs to be changed, one has to conduct an immense 301 redirect mapping campaign. In addition, crawlers fail to pass to the URLs that have inadequate URL structure. Usually, following hierarchy must be following for a SEO-friendly URL structure:
Protocol, Domain, Top-Level Domain and then category, page, named anchor, extension
Fix Broken Links: The consequence of a site redesign will inescapably include broken links, which are hyperlinks that point to an unavailable web page, is terrible for SEO. The crucial thing to be done after redesigning is identifying all of your site’s broken links, then fix backlinks and inbound links with 301 redirects. A 301 redirect permanently redirects a broken link to its new, fully functional counterpart and transfers most of the original link’s ranking power.
Customize 404s: 404 pages are sometimes unavoidable in a website, as deleting a page results in a 404-error page and part of redesigning a site requires taking out unnecessary elements. 404 errors do not directly affect SEO, however, it is still an inconvenience and affects the overall experience of the user in a website. 404 pages does not have to be so blatant and can be customized to be interactive and entertaining. Including a page which the user can understand and which explains what happened and link back to the homepage can decreases bounce rates by a huge number.
By keeping a close watch on the above-mentioned factors, one can rest assured that even after redesigning the website, a brand can still be on top of the SEO game. These are some of the repercussions of a redesigning project which needs to be taken care of so that the website continues to the draw the traffic like it used to before it was redesigned or more. The natural course for every website is to change and develop, responding to the dynamic and fluid nature of life – just like we do. Therefore, it is only natural that we revamp our websites every few years to keep it updated.