This is part 1 of a 3-part series.
So here’s the situation. Your business website has been around for many years. It’s established in the industry and has achieved a prominent position in the search engines. You’ve implemented SEO in the past, which has improved the organic traffic to your website immensely. Organic visitors now account for 60% or more of overall website traffic and the conversion rate has been impressive. Overall, things are going great when it comes to the website and the results that have been achieved.
Then, you get the notification from the higher-ups that the decision has been made to redesign the business website. If you’ve contributed to the success of the website, this can be a very scary thing to hear. If things are going so well, why mess with it? Why bother touching a website that generates an impressive number of visitors and conversions? While it might be frustrating to hear that a website redesign is in the process, in some cases it is necessary.
A business website is an important reflection of the business itself. From a branding perspective, it makes sense to do a “refresh” every few years. No matter how great the actual content on the website is, the look of the website is just as important. If the website looks like it was designed in the dark ages of the Internet, it may convey that your business is out of touch. Or in some cases, the navigation and overall layout of the website just isn’t as user friendly as it should be. Whatever the reasoning is behind the redesign, it’s just important to keep SEO in mind when moving forward with the process.
If this situation sounds at all familiar and if your business is currently considering redesigning the website, make sure to look at it from an SEO perspective. Consider the following questions to ensure that the website redesign process doesn’t kill your SEO:
Is the content changing?
The content on your website is the most important component of the site from an SEO perspective. The search engine spiders don’t care about the visual element of the site. All they care about is the text copy that they can “read.” If you’ve found organic SEO success, it’s due to the fact that your site has great content that is well-optimized and search-engine-friendly. This is important to consider before making any drastic content changes. Create a spreadsheet that outlines for each URL whether the content is staying the same, changing, or being consolidated with the content from another page.
Does keyword research need to be revisited?
If any of the content on the site is being changed or if new pages are being added to the site, keyword research will need to be a part of the website redesign process. Before launching the new pages of the site, conduct keyword research and optimize the site content and meta information for each. That way, the new pages of the site have been optimized from the get-go. When the search engine spiders visit the new page it will get crawled and indexed properly if it includes the correct keywords. A website redesign/re-launch is also a good opportunity to revisit keyword research, even if the content on the page isn’t changing. If you haven’t done any keyword research in a few years, there’s a good chance that there may be some new keyword opportunities.
Stay tuned for more questions that you should ask yourself when redesigning a website in Parts 2 and 3 of this series.