Website Redesign and SEO



Website Redesign and SEO
12 August 2020
There are many reasons why it might be necessary to redesign a website. In most cases, it’s done to match the current trends, tailor the page to mobile devices, data updates, or product/service range. Usually, when talking about a website redesign, we mean rather serious changes, therefore, it’s worth knowing which site elements need to be taken into consideration to prevent decreases in traffic.



Website redesign - when do you need it?

A website redesign is usually one of the greatest challenges faced by SEO specialists. Technology is constantly changing and pages that are up to date with the latest trends are likely to systematically increase their conversion rates. There are numerous warning signs informing that a website needs to be redesigned. The most important ones include:
  • website design - aesthetically unattractive websites not only deter users but also tend to cause numerous technical issues. Outdated subpages are usually unresponsive and slow down the website. Consequently, users believe that such pages aren’t developing in order to stay up to date with technological novelties.
  • high bounce rate - it’s a clear indication that the present form of your website needs changes. High bounce rate means that people visiting your website didn’t actually browse it but simply left it just after seeing the landing page. Therefore, you can assume that users don’t really enjoy spending time on your site, its loading time isn’t satisfying or there are some other issues.
  • no mobile version - if there are any problems with browsing your website on a smartphone, tablet or any other mobile device, then you should immediately redesign the page. More and more people use the Internet on mobile devices, therefore, responsive web design is a must in today’s world of modern websites.
  • website loading speed - if this element doesn’t meet your expectations, you should also consider a website redesign. Websites that work really slowly or load too long get on users’ nerves. Moreover, in the case of online stores, this factor can have a significant impact on the number of finalized transactions.
  • rebranding - very frequently companies decide to change their image which necessitates website redesigns. The update may concern a company name, the scope of offered services or key products. This point also refers to the implementation of a new logotype and color scheme representing the brand.

Website redesign and migration

When discussing website redesigns, it’s also necessary to explain how they differ from website migrations. As it’s been previously mentioned, redesigning any website involves changing its image, templates, or functionalities. On the other hand, website migration takes place when the whole page is moved to a different CMS or Internet domain.
A website redesign and migration are two completely separate processes. Nevertheless, both of them require a proper approach, especially if you want to keep the website visibility and traffic at the same level.
To learn more about a website migration, its stages, and types, go to our previous entry:

Website redesign and its influence on SEO?

Making your website design more modern, improving its functionalities, and adjusting it to current trends should be combined with proper technical SEO activities. First and foremost, a website redesign is supposed to help you increase the visibility and conversion rate of your page. There are many elements that have to be taken into account if you want to avoid decreasing your website traffic. Keep in mind the principles of search engine robots’ operation and remember about proper redirects that will allow you to transfer the power of links. The ability to reconcile users’ expectations with proper website configuration and optimization is the key to success.

Website redesign - the essentials

Any attempt to interfere with a website, especially with its structure and URLs, entails a considerable risk of lowering its position in Google rankings. In order to prevent the negative consequences of such actions, it’s worth focusing on SEO at virtually every stage of a website redesign. Below you can find a concise list of a few most important aspects that should be carefully analyzed and implemented.

Redesign plan and evaluation of website condition

Before conducting any website redesign activities, it’s worth spending some time to thoroughly analyze its current condition. This will allow you to determine the weakest and strongest elements of the site which will consequently be helpful in devising an appropriate strategy. To facilitate the process, you can take advantage of website audits. Thanks to them, it’s possible to establish which website elements need immediate modifications, what functionalities should be implemented or deleted and which subpages or elements work perfectly and don’t need any changes. While analyzing and assessing the condition of your page, take advantage of tools such as Google Analytics or Search Console. Statistics scrutinizing longer time periods enable determining which subpages are visited the most frequently and appeal to the users’ tastes the most. As far as these subpages are concerned, any updates should be implemented carefully to avoid negative impacts on the website's visibility on Google. Other factors that significantly affect the SEO process and have to be kept in mind when redesigning any website include:
  • unique page titles,
  • meta descriptions,
  • image alt attributes,
  • proper site map and robots.txt files,
  • website optimization for relevant key phrases,
  • the use of H1 and lower headers,
  • internal linking,
  • correct URL structure.
It’s necessary to remember that the website shouldn’t be indexed by search engines when the changes are being implemented. This can be easily ensured by a proper configuration of the robots.txt file. Thanks to it, you’ll be able to prevent the indexing robots from accessing the whole website or a few subpages. Remember that as soon as the redesign process is completed, you should immediately allow robots to access the page. If you don’t do it, the robots won’t notice the changes or they’ll index the developer website version. This, in turn, may lead to the creation of duplicate content.

Redirects, internal linking and URL structure

Website redesigns are very often associated with the necessity to modify URLs. In such cases, the implementation of appropriate redirects is a must. A proper approach to the problem has a significant impact on the SEO process. Creating 1:1 redirects (link:link) is the most advisable solution. Permanent 301 redirects are helpful in transferring the majority of a given link power to a new address. This way, search engine robots are informed about the place where given content has been relocated. Any errors, incorrect redirects or the lack of redirects have a very negative influence on the website position on Google. When discussing URLs, it’s necessary to remember about internal linking. Internal links make it easier for search engine robots to analyze which subpages are the most important and how they’re interlinked with the remaining website elements. If you decide to change the structure of your URLs, it’s also crucial to remember about modifying internal links so that they correspond to the new addresses. Otherwise, users and bots will encounter many error notifications resulting in your website plummeting in the rankings.

Content and keywords

While conducting activities related to a website redesign, it’s necessary to take into consideration all the existing content, especially the one that hasn’t been optimized. Instead of deleting such texts, simply modify them. It’s also crucial to make an in-depth analysis of phrases that generate the greatest traffic to the site. You should use them as a guiding light while creating new content aiming at attracting new potential customers or clients.

Visual aspects and responsive web design

The redesign of the functionalities and layout of the site should meet the expectations of potential customers. Intuitive and user-friendly interface and design are extremely important for both website visitors and Google robots. Ensure the proper structure of the menu and the whole website. Take advantage of eye-catching colors and make sure that users can easily switch between individual subpages. Every year, Google puts an even greater emphasis on responsive web design. More and more users browse the net and finalize transactions with the use of mobile devices, therefore, the responsiveness, meaning that the website renders well on both smartphones, tablets, and laptops, is really crucial.

Testing and monitoring of modifications

After completing the redesign process, it’s necessary to index the site. Constant monitoring of changes is also an essential step. Thanks to it, you’ll be able to easily detect any possible errors or problems at an early stage. Consequently, you’ll quickly fix any issues and limit their negative impact on the website position on Google.

The home-take message

A properly conducted website redesign shouldn’t significantly decrease traffic to your site. Although at the initial stages you’ll probably observe rapid changes in Google rankings, it’s totally normal. After all, search engines need to understand what has happened and get familiar with the new version of the website. An appropriately redesigned and optimized page usually quickly reaches its previous positions or is ranked higher than its old version.



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