How to Avoid an SEO Calamity with Your Next Website Redesign

First of all, I like the phrase calamity. Second of all, web site redesigns are all too typically the reason for an SEO calamity. You know, lack of rankings, site visitors, and, gulp, gross sales!

One of the commonest web site redesign errors is to go away SEO out of the method till the final minute. You spend tons of money and time solely to get to launch and somebody says “what about SEO?”

SEO is a consideration that ought to be a part of your earliest web site redesign conversations. The first query, “do we want an entire redesign?”

A Completely New Website Or Just Some Improvements?

Before you sink tons of time and cash into an entire overhaul of your web site, ask your self if it’s utterly crucial. Why do you assume you want a very new web site?

Sometimes you do, for instance:

  • Your web site is constructed on outdated know-how that can’t be up to date
  • You’ve overhauled your model and wish a very new look
  • You’ve outgrown your present platform, i.e. Wix or SquareSpace
  • You want to merge a number of web sites

If you’ve gotten to the purpose the place your present web site can’t merely be “up to date,” maybe you do want an entire overhaul. But I’d argue that the necessity for that is rarer than most companies and entrepreneurs assume.

The great thing about CMS platforms like WordPress is which you can replace the theme with out utterly overhauling the whole web site. You can do quicker-to-implement, incremental modifications to the web site that also have an impression on the positioning high quality, similar to…

  1. Improve web site velocity, velocity is a large UX and SEO issue
  2. Improve cellular usability
  3. Optimize photos
  4. Update shade theme or different design/branding parts

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel simply since you’ve grown uninterested in your present web site. Make small modifications and concentrate on enhancing the person expertise.

But if an entire web site overhaul is unavoidable, begin with a dialog about UX, content material, and SEO.

Every Successful Website Redesign Includes SEO

SEO is essential to the success of an internet site redesign undertaking, not only for the rankings, but in addition as a result of SEO forces you to assume past your desires and take into consideration what your target market desires and wishes from you.

Elements of SEO ought to be woven into your general web site redesign plan. For this submit, I need to concentrate on the commonest duties to embody in your redesign undertaking planning…

  1. Website SEO Audit
  2. Content Audit and Planning
  3. Technical SEO Audit and Planning

Website SEO Audit

Even when you hate your current web site, there’s info in there that may inform your web site redesign plans, serving to you to construct a greater and extra profitable web site.

Website Performance Baseline

An audit ought to take a look at the next to set a baseline to work from…

  • Bounce fee – whether or not an individual stays in your web site after clicking from Google or… bounces.
  • Time on web site – extra time on-site means your content material is participating and the positioning is simple to use.
  • Conversions – this might be orders, inquiries, signups, the person taking motion you would like them to take.
  • Unique guests – precisely because it sounds, solely counting every customer as soon as as opposed to every time they return.
  • Return guests – this can present you ways helpful the positioning is that if folks select to come again.
  • Pageviews – realizing which pages are hottest helps inform info structure and content material technique.
  • Platform and browser – not as vital however good to know for testing.
  • Mobile versus desktop site visitors – I’d argue this isn’t as vital because it used to be with mobile-first ranking, however nonetheless good to know.
  • Location – will provide help to with your native SEO technique. Also, when you solely promote within the US and 50% of your site visitors is from India, that may be a drawback you want to handle with some nationwide SEO efforts.

All of this stuff can be found in Google Analytics, assuming you’ve this setup and it’s been accumulating knowledge for some time. Gather knowledge from the previous yr and use that as your benchmark on your new web site.

Advanced Website SEO Audit Tools

Here, we all the time suggest taking it a step additional with a instrument like Ahrefs or SEMRush. With these instruments, you’ll be able to take a look at…

  • Domain authority – present you the place your web site sits competitively.
  • Backlink profile – that is essential when it comes to figuring out what content material to maintain and what 301 redirects you’ll want. More on these in a minute.
  • Website audit – I do know that is what we’re already speaking about, however SEMRush can do an entire crawl of your current web site and get you all types of helpful knowledge like web site well being rating (essential for Google Core Web Vitals, extra on this under) and present beneficial SEO priorities.

Of course, these instruments will provide you with a bunch extra knowledge, however what you really need to set up here’s what is working and what isn’t. Otherwise, you might be redesigning your web site primarily based on the feel and appear alone, or, even worse, guesses.

Keyword and Competitive Analysis

Again, utilizing a instrument like Ahrefs or SEMRush, you may get extra essential knowledge not accessible in Google Analytics. These instruments, in contrast to Google Analytics, will let you know the key phrases your web site is rating for in addition to the key phrases your rivals are rating for.

It can seem like this…

This will probably be very eye-opening for some. You could also be rating for phrases and phrases that aren’t a goal for you. Or perhaps you rank for model phrases alone, like firm or product identify.

Looking at that towards what your rivals are rating for will provide you with a good suggestion of what key phrases are vital and which can be lacking out of your present content material and SEO efforts.

The column above labeled “CPC” is telling you what these key phrases price in a PPC marketing campaign. This will present you their recognition and in addition provide help to with budgeting if PPC (paid search, paid social, and so on) is a part of your digital advertising and marketing plan.

Content Audit and Planning

Content Audit

The backlink and key phrase evaluation ought to vastly affect your content material technique transferring ahead. The backlink evaluation will let you know what content material of yours is most linked to and common.

This reveals you what content material works and what doesn’t.

It will even provide help to when it comes to organising your redirects (extra on this in a minute).

The key phrase evaluation will present you what key phrases you have to be writing for. If you might be rating nicely for phrases and phrases and need that to proceed, then you already know you’ll want extra of that kind of content material.

If there are phrases and phrases lacking from the key phrase profile that you really want to rank for, you already know you’ll want a plan for growing that content material. For extra on content material audits, I wrote this easy-to-follow information for a simple content audit that works.

Content Planning

Once you’ve a really feel for the place you stand with your content material, you’ll want to do the next…

  1. Create a sitemap primarily based on key phrase evaluation and person wants. In different phrases, create a sitemap on your new web site that comes with the key phrases you’d like to rank for but in addition will make sense and make issues simple on your target market.
  2. Create a listing of content material you have to at launch and content material you want to create within the subsequent 3-6 months. Content is an internet site undertaking killer. Make your content material wants checklist early, be sure to have the content material staff to pull it off, and stick to your weapons on deadlines.

Wow, solely two issues! But we each know that this can be a lot of labor. If you begin your web site construct with out not less than realizing your content material plan, you’ll run into delays and probably further prices.

Also, early on is an efficient time to begin planning for growing an internet site with experience, authority, and trustworthiness. Google calls this E-A-T. More on Google E-A-T right here.

Technical SEO Audit and Planning

While it’s all the time a good suggestion to run a technical audit in your current web site, for this submit, I’m speaking a few technical audit of the brand new web site. If you’ve concerned a strong SEO staff early on within the course of, then the audit could also be not more than easy spot-checking.

If you’re already down the highway of redesign and SEO is simply now coming into the image, I’d extremely suggest that an SEO or SEO staff take a great onerous take a look at your new web site earlier than it goes reside.

Technical SEO Elements

Specifically, you need to be searching for the next:

  1. Schema markup. This is essential for SEO success, with out it your rankings will undergo. Schema markup is form of a cheat sheet to assist Google to return extra helpful outcomes for customers within the SERPs (search engine outcomes pages). Here is a great overview of the importance of schema markup.
  2. Google Core Web Vitals. This is Google’s method of telling you ways shortly your web site masses and is usable from the SERP. You can get this knowledge utilizing one of many dashboards talked about above or Google’s Search Console. Here’s a great overview of Google’s Core Web Vitals. You will even need to just be sure you host your website on a business class server that is fast.
  3. Page expertise. Core Web Vitals is a part of the web site’s general “page experience.” It additionally elements in mobile-friendliness, secure looking (no malware, and so on.), web site safety (HTTPS), and intrusive interstitials (Google hates intrusive adverts and pop-ups).
  4. Meta tags. Make certain your new web site has the suitable web page title tags, makes use of the correct of heading tags, and consists of different meta tags like alt attributes, hyperlink attributes, and so on. More on SEO meta tags from Ahrefs.
  5. XML sitemap. Make certain you’ve included a purposeful XML sitemap. This makes it simpler for Google to crawl your content material. Here’s a good post on why XML sitemaps are important.
  6. 301 redirects. You will implement these if you launch the web site, so take the time to assessment them and just be sure you have redirects from all outdated content material to their counterpart in your new web site. Sometimes you may get away with utilizing a plugin to deal with this, however the smarter strategy is to assessment all outdated hyperlinks and assign redirects for all pages you would like to not get misplaced. Not implementing 301 redirects will mainly imply that each outdated hyperlink will produce a 404 error and you don’t what this! Here is a great guide on 301 redirects.

So, Is SEO Crucial Right from The Start?

I hope you agree that leaving SEO out of your web site planning goes to end in a foul time.

There is numerous work that wants to occur earlier than a designer even thinks about your new format.

I’m not saying design will not be vital, however I’m arguing, very strongly, that SEO ought to be a part of the method, from begin to end, and past. I’ve seen the results of not heeding this warning, and they’re typically very dire.

Am I being an alarmist? Perhaps. But wouldn’t you slightly be secure than sorry? Do you really need to be the one liable for dropping rating, leads, and cash?

Don’t fret, there are lots of wonderful SEO corporations on the market who can assist you thru this.

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