There’s nothing quite like a website redesign to refresh your content and information, test out a trendy new look or colour scheme, and propel your SEO momentum.
If you are considering a site overhaul, here are some common pitfalls and how to avoid them, in order to protect the SEO rankings you’ve worked so hard to build up.
Architecture changes and lost links
Creating new pages, deleting outdated ones, moving content around, changing menus and navigation –any of these can lead to broken links or annoying 404 errors, but doing them all at once as part of a total site overhaul can spell disaster.
The best way to prevent lost links and preserve the user experience is to leave old page URLs alone. If you must change them, you can use a plugin tool to automatically detect and set up 301 redirects, so visitors can always find what they’re looking for.
Excessive redirects and slow page loads
While 301 redirects can be an effective solution to migrating page content and changing URLs, too many permanent redirects can significantly slow page loading time. Load speed impacts both visitor experience and page rankings – if your site takes too long to load, your SEO rankings will suffer.
You can use a redirect mapping tool to help identify 301 redirects over the life of your site and then implement a strategy to help eliminate as many as possible.
Content updates and optimisation interference
It’s obviously necessary to update content now and again, yet constantly changing content will interfere with metadata, site optimisation and keyword targeting. Removing content from ranked pages essentially eliminates those earned rankings, making it much harder for customers to find you.
Avoid sacrificing performance for aesthetic. Consider refreshing old posts and pages, not replacing them.
A huge problem with site redesigns is that they can jeopardise your cash flow by stopping what’s working. Changing how visitors move through your pages, get information, make purchases or find you in search engines can have a massive impact on your bottom line.
The best way to protect your SEO progress is to implement site changes slowly, a little bit at a time, to give you more control and a better sense of how redesigned elements are affecting your pages and your rankings.