Don’t Overlook These SEO Steps During a Website Redesign

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Website redesigns often make sense every couple of years in order to keep a website fresh and relevant. If you’re considering a redesign, it’s important to pull your SEO provider into the conversation as early as possible. If you aren’t working with an SEO professional, it’s a smart idea to hire one now.

The design of a website is important from an SEO perspective, but what’s even more important is the text content on each page – something that web developers and designers aren’t too concerned about, which is why critical SEO steps are often overlooked during a redesign. Don’t let it happen to you! An SEO professional will ensure that the developer takes the following steps before pushing the new website live:

Keep URLs exactly the same or 301 re-direct

The newly designed website URLs must be an EXACT match of the URLs of the old site, including any extensions. For example, if the pages of the old website had a .html extension, the pages of the new site must have it too. If the new URLs aren’t an exact match, visitors from existing links across the web are going to land on 404 pages and any link trust that has been gained will be lost completely. If there is a legitimate reason to change URLs during the redesign process (such as if the current URL structure is messy), the old URL should be 301 re-directed to its corresponding, new URL. A master 301 re-direct document should be created that outlines which links need to be re-directed and where they will be re-directed to. If any web pages are being removed, those links should also be redirected to a relevant page to preserve link trust and send the visitor to an active page.

All meta information needs to be transferred

Leaving off optimized meta information is a huge mistake that web designers often make. Meta information text tells the search spiders about what’s on the page. If an optimized title tag like “Global Manufacturing Services” that accurately describes the page becomes something unhelpful like “Services”, it’s going to lose a lot of SEO power. The meta description doesn’t carry any ranking weight but it is very important from a click through rate perspective, so that needs to remain intact, too.

Transfer all H tags

As search spiders crawl web pages, they’re taking note of what the most important text on the page is. After the title tag, the H tags are most important. H tag text stands out from the rest of the text, which is why it needs to be optimized. These H tags should all transfer over from the old website design to the new website design.

While these are just a few of the SEO elements that should be considered during the redesign process, they are arguably the most important. We see website designers overlook these steps all the time since their focus is on aesthetics, not so much on SEO. That’s why it’s imperative to have an SEO professional in on the redesign process. A fancy new website is great, but not if it’s not delivering any organic traffic!

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