Maintaining SEO, or search engine optimization, during a website redesign is tricky to handle. Search engines are constantly scouring the web for updates to content, making it important to manage changes and stay relevant.
Usually during a website redesign, code and pages are altered. This makes it vital to properly handle the updates to your website so SEO and growth are not affected negatively.
Let’s take a look at 6 quick tips you can use to stay on top of your SEO while undergoing a redesign.
1.Create a URL Backup
A lot of the changes that are made during a redesign affect your website’s URL re-structure. With all of the work you’ve already put into SEO, don’t risk losing your standing: The URL structure of your website can be easily downloaded through plugins, such as the updated sitemap on the Yoast SEO plugin. This creates a backup, just in case there is an issue with the new changes.
2.Use a Temporary URL
Under the same premise as the first tip, completing your redesign on your existing website can cause problems. The best way to avoid visitor and other potential issues is to set up a copy of your site under a temporary URL.
Doing this also allows you to check the status of your current website and make sure that it is fully optimized – you can review broken links, features, and update your CSS.
Once the redesign changes are complete, you can switch the domain or update your website with your new changes.
1.Fix 301 Redirects
301 redirects are one of the most important parts of SEO maintenance because they’re what the search engine uses to recognize that URLs have been changed; a 301 redirect will redirect your old URL to your new URL. If the redirect is done incorrectly, the search engine won’t be able to find your website and will result in a 404 web page not found error.
A change as minor as adding a hyphen to your URL’s slug can impact your SEO if the 301 redirect is not performed properly.
In order to make sure this is completed correctly, a 301 redirect can be performed manually through .htaccess file, or made easier using redirect plugins on Wordpress.
2.Check for Broken Links
Have all the previous steps been completed successfully? Now is the time to check if the changes you made to any broken links were updated. Google Webmaster tools are an easy way to perform a broken link test. If you do find any broken links, make sure they’re fixed in a timely manner so your SEO ranking won’t be dinged.
3.Verify that your New Website Will Appear in Results
Sometimes, if you’ve hired a developer or designer to complete your redesign, they’ll turn off fetching so the search engine won’t be crawling your website during the updates. Make sure the crawler is resumed so your website will pop up in searches.
Select the “Fetch as Google” option under crawler, then click the “Fetch and Render” option. If both tests return positive, that means your website is entirely crawlable.
It’s also a good idea to ensure that your redesigned website is verified. This can be checked through Bing and Google’s respective webmaster’s tool. Double check to make sure your website is claimed.
The last step is to re-submit your website URL and XML into Google’s (and Bing’s) index. Clicking the “submit to index” button will submit it. Submitting your updated sitemap will allow your new website to be crawled by the search engines.
Finally, it’s important to know whether or not your redesign was effective. You can monitor this through your top keyword rankings, for which there are many SEO tools and plugins available.
If your website traffic slows down quickly, then it’s important to understand what’s happening and find a solution. If there’s significant growth, it’s important to learn why, so you can repeat your tactics in the future.
Search engines are constantly crawling our websites and updating their rankings: Make sure your redesign works in your favor.