Writing by Brick Marketing in SEO
It’s important to keep your website current and looking “fresh”. If your website looks like it was designed back in the days of dial up Internet, people will assume that your business is outdated too. When it comes to your website, looks count. Best practice is to redesign your website every 5 years or so. One important thing to keep in mind throughout the redesign process is your SEO. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t think about their SEO until it’s too late.
If you are in the market for a web designer, the best option is to find one that has a technical understanding of SEO. In our experience, these designers are few and far between. There are exceptions to the rule, but typically a good design firm is good at one thing- design! Same thing goes for an SEO firm. An SEO firm understands SEO but is rarely good at putting together a great looking website. Some designers may offer SEO as an add on service thinking that it’s a way to get some additional income, but our recommendation is to stay away from that kind of SEO service.
Your next best option (and the more realistic one) is to get your web design team and your SEO firm on the same page from day one. Schedule a call with both teams to get everyone up to speed. When redesigning a website, there’s a lot of work done on the back end of a website, which is where the search engine spiders crawl. Many SEO issues go undetected during a redesign process because things continue to “look” good. Remember, the search engine spiders don’t care about how the site looks, it’s about the content, URL structure, and how things are set up within the meta information and code.
Some warnings/specific items to keep an eye on to preserve SEO in the redesign process:
The content management system
If you are making a switch, it’s always best to go with an established CMS like WordPress or Drupal. Don’t use a designer that insists on using their own proprietary CMS. If you part ways you will be able to easily find another developer that understands the system and can implement changes for you.
Back up your site
Back up every aspect of the site before making changes. That way you will preserve everything “just in case”.
The URL structure
If you are changing your URL structure you will need to 301 re-direct from the old page to the new page. This will help preserve the trust of the old URL. You don’t want your website to include broken links. Not only is it bad for SEO, but also from a usability perspective. After new pages have been created and re-directed to, remove the old pages to avoid having a duplicate content issue.