7 Principles for Redesigning Your Website (Without Hurting Your SEO)
It is easy for any website to become unwieldy and difficult to manage, both for the webmaster and the visitor. As your business grows and evolves, your site must adapt, but with everything else going on your company, you might simply add new pages in a fairly haphazard manner. Over time, your site can become clunky and dated. While some websites can simply be tweaked, many times a complete redesign is the better option.
Before you start building your new site, however, it is important to sit down and consider how the redesign will impact your SEO. Anticipating issues and designing solutions is always better than trying to fix problems after they occur. Here are seven principles to keep in mind throughout the redesign process.
1. Site Structure
Your site’s structure, or the way it is laid out, is a very important part of SEO. One of the biggest mistakes people make during a redesign is to reduce the number of pages. By all means, get rid of pages that have thin content or unfixable structural issues, as well as those that duplicate better, higher-quality content. For the most part, though, it is better to keep those pages and set up 301 redirects to the new and improved pages.
Changing your website domain can hurt your website’s search engine rankings unless you plan a strategy in advance. If you don’t migrate your old website to the new one all at once, then you’ll have similar or identical content in two places so search engines will likely ignore the new duplicated webpages. The best approach is to hide the new website using the “noindex” meta tag until you’re ready to flip the switch. Then make sure to 301 redirect all of the old webpages to the new webpages on the new domain. This will ensure you don’t lose your webpage rankings during the migration.
Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.