This is the last part of a three-part series.
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series we explained why it is important to look at a website redesign from an SEO perspective. This final installment includes a few more questions to ask yourself when undergoing a website redesign in order to save SEO efforts in addition to a conclusion.
Did the meta information transfer over?
The title tag of each page is very important for SEO purposes. It’s one of the first things that a search engine spider sees and it’s also the clickable link on the search engine results page. The title tag should include keywords that are relevant to the page. While the meta description and meta keyword tag don’t hold much SEO value it is still best practice to include them. The meta description is what appears under the title on the search engine results page. The copy is what convinces a searcher to click on the page or not. In addition to the content on the page, the meta information also needs to transfer over from the old site to the new site.
Is the sitemap updated?
It’s best practice to submit a sitemap to the search engines. This ensures that they will find your site in order to crawl and index it. Whenever you are making changes to your site like adding or removing pages or when you are completely redesigning your site it is important to create a new sitemap and re-submit it.
Are Analytics properly in place on the new site?
In order to measure the performance of your website it’s necessary to have Analytics set up on the site. The industry standard is Google Analytics, as it is a free tool that is provided by Google – arguably the king of the search engines. When moving from the old site to the new site it’s important to add the Google Analytics code to every page of the new site. This way you are able to see all of the data within Analytics from day one and easily make comparisons from the old site to the new site.
When approaching the website redesign process, it’s important to consider SEO from the very start. The work that is involved to save SEO efforts can take many months depending on the size of the website. It’s best to plan it all out ahead and hire an SEO firm or SEO consultant to assist you throughout the process.
It’s also extremely important to make sure that the web designer that you are working with understands what needs to be done from an SEO perspective and is willing to work with an SEO partner. SEO isn’t always on the mind of a web designer. They are typically much more concerned about the look and feel of the site, even though those are things that the search engine spiders could care less about.
Once the new site is launched, it’s advisable to keep a close eye on the website and how it is performing. Monitor tools like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and SEOMoz every day to ensure that there are no technical errors on the new site and that traffic has remained steady.
In conclusion, by keeping SEO in mind from the start of the website redesign process you will ensure that the transition from the old site to the new site is a smooth one in regards to organic website visitors.