It can be a challenging task, to redesign a website without losing SEO that you have worked for over the past years. But let’s first explore why a website redesign is nevertheless a necessary step to future-proof your service-based online business.
Outdated Design Means Losing Google Rankings Longterm
A website redesign is always overdue when a site is looking outdated. Your website is the gateway to building relationships with potential clients. However, if your website’s design looks outdated, it can negatively impact their first impression of you and your business.
You might still benefit from great google rankings today, but once people enter your website they will quickly leave if it does not wow them. This increases the bounce rate of your website, which will eventually mean that you are losing your current google ranking and traffic.
Mobile Friendliness Is The Best Medicine
With more and more people using their mobile devices to browse the internet, having a mobile-friendly website has become crucial.
But not just because potential clients will view your website on their mobile phones and quickly leave if it does not work properly. Also, Google’s algorithm gives preference to websites that provide a better user experience on mobile devices. Therefore, ensuring that a website is mobile-responsive, with a design that adjusts to any screen size, is one of the main reasons why a website redesign is essential to prevent losing SEO long-term.
Page Speed Is The New SEO
Learn more here: 11 Red Flags That Your Website Needs A Redesign
Step-By-Step Guide To Redesign A Website Without Losing SEO
However, it is out of the question that a poorly executed redesign can negatively impact your website’s search engine rankings, leading to a drop in traffic. That’s why I am going to explain the most essential steps you should follow to redesign a website without losing SEO.
1 – Create A Backup Of Your Existing Website
Before you start making any changes to your website, you should create a backup so that you have a copy of your current content, pages, and data. In case anything goes wrong during the redesign process, you can always revert to the previous version of your website. If you don’t have backups in your WordPress backend yet, use the Updraft Plugin.
2 – Conduct A Website Audit
Audit your current website before starting to redesign it. The audit should include a review of your content, meta tags, website structure, sitemap, and overall performance. The aim is to identify any issues that negatively affect your current website’s SEO performance, including technical errors, duplicate content, broken links, and slow page speed.
Then analyse what is positively supporting your current SEO, including your rankings for different keywords and phrases. Which website content attracts the most organic traffic? Where are the highest conversion rates? This will help you understand which pages and keywords are currently driving your online business. Is your website working hard enough for the success of your online business?
Do the same for content that is doing alright but could perform better. Here it is all about what you can improve to gain more and more higher rankings for important keywords in the near future.
Backlinks are another crucial factor in SEO, with Google using them to assess the relevance and authority of your website. When redesigning your website, analyse your existing backlink profile, identifying any low-quality or irrelevant links that may be harming your SEO rankings. Consider disavowing these links and implementing a backlink strategy to build high-quality links to your new site.
You can use all this information to ensure that your entire website redesign process focuses on maintaining or improving your current SEO strategy.
3 – Develop And Execute A Website Redesign Plan
Based on the results of your website audit plus SEO analysis, you need to develop a comprehensive redesign plan that takes into account all the necessary changes to improve your website’s functionality and user experience while maintaining and increasing search engine rankings.
Several things matter when aiming to redesign a website without losing SEO.
- First of all, the overall structure of your website is crucial. A well-structured site with clear navigation makes it easier for potential clients to view your offerings. And for search engines to crawl and index your pages! When redesigning your website, consider implementing a clear hierarchy of categories and subcategories, with relevant content under each section.
- The structure of your website’s URLs is an essential factor in SEO. A clear and concise URL structure helps search engines understand the content of your pages better. When redesigning your website, ensure that your URLs are short, descriptive, and include relevant keywords.
- Take the opportunity to review and optimise your existing content, adding new or refreshing old content where necessary. Ensure that all your content is informative, engaging, relevant, and keyword-rich, but without stuffing your pages with excessive keywords.
- Don’t change any keywords or articles that are driving lots of traffic to your website. But start optimising pages and content that could do better. Search for relevant keywords and add these to the content.
- The metadata on your website, including title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags, provide search engines with essential information about your pages. When redesigning your website, ensure that your metadata is optimised, with relevant keywords and a clear description of the content on each page.
4 – Redirect Old URLs
Whenever possible, you should keep existing URLs, in particular the ones that drive the most traffic to your website. But if you need to rename pages and page titles including SEO titles, e.g. to optimise the structure of your website, watch exactly what happens to the URL.
One of the most critical steps to redesign a website without losing SEO is to ensure that any old URLs are redirected to their corresponding new pages. Use 301 redirects to avoid any broken links (404 error pages) and to preserve your current rankings. Make sure you don’t lose any of the important backlinks due to a changed URL.
As a safty net, set up a proper 404 page with links that send people back to the most useful pages and therefore keeps them on your website for longer. Always think of reducing your bounce rate, which measures people who leave without engaging with your website.
5 – Update Your Sitemap
Once the redesign is complete, you need to update your sitemap (and robots.txt file if not using a SEO tool) to ensure that search engines can crawl your new site and index its pages correctly. Submit your new sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing. This will help to ensure that your redesigned website is discoverable by search engines and that your rankings are not negatively impacted.
6 – Monitor The SEO Performance Of Your Redesigned Website
Finally, it is essential to monitor your SEO rankings and traffic stats after the redesign process to ensure that your new website is still performing well. If you notice any significant changes, investigate the cause and make adjustments. You should also continue to optimise your content so that your website is always up-to-date with the latest SEO best practices and keyword stats. This will maintain great rankings in the future.
Conclusion – Redesign A Website Without Losing SEO
In conclusion, redesigning your website can help to improve your online presence and enhance user experience. However, it is essential to ensure that your redesign efforts do not negatively impact your SEO rankings. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can redesign your website without losing SEO, ensuring that your new site is both functional and optimised for search engines.