What Not to Miss Out While Trying to Preserve Your SEO after a Website Redesign

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While one part of the game in online marketing is to get the visibility in search engines to generate organic traffic, another important aspect is to make the users who visit stick around and browse the contents and convert their interest to a transaction. According to Inc users tend to form an opinion about your website in just 0.05 seconds and decide whether to stay on the site or abandon it. The appeal lies not only in the aesthetics that should be contemporary and suited well to your niche but also in the contents that should be relevant, researched and written well, and serve to satisfy the search intent. This also means that the website looks and structure need to be refreshed once in a while to retain user interest and improve the site experience. However, if you are not careful, a website redesign exercise can cost you the SEO Plan that you had carefully built up from scratch. A few practical tips for preserving your search engine rankings while undertaking a website design overhaul:

SEO Plan

Evaluate the Need for Website Redesign

When you undertake a website redesign, it should not be based on whimsy but should only be done if there is a real need for it. This means that you need to take a very close look at your website and important metrics to get an idea of what is wrong and needs to be fixed. Using Google Search Console and Analytics, you should analyze important metrics like the pages that get the most traffic and the pages that convert the best besides the pages that underperform in SERP rankings. You also need to find out who your target audience is, where they are arriving from and where they are headed, what do your website visitors want, what you are offering them, what the extent of the audience engagement is, and whether their search intent is fulfilled. This will help you to decide  which step should you take to preserve rankings ? Finding an answer to these vital questions will enable you to identify the areas of the website that you should focus on for the redesign exercise from the perspective of the users.

Conduct a Competitor and Industry Scan

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when considering a website redesign. Trying to do everything right from scratch will invariably take far more time than you would normally have. Instead, look for inspiration from the best practices implemented by your competitors on their websites or even by the leaders in your industry with who you may not be competing against at this stage. The idea is to find out the reasons behind their success and also to ensure that your site design looks and performs professionally. Among the most important areas that you should pay attention to is the user experience offered by your competitors and industry leaders – important aspects include navigability, site organization, and color schemes, use of images and graphics, and placement of CTAs. Another vital aspect is the flow of content and the logic behind the flow. If you can establish why content has been placed where it has been, you will also know the important considerations that a visitor has for satisfying his search intent. Try to learn from sites that are designed simply, yet offer their users all they are seeking with very little effort or complications.

Does Your Content Serve the Purpose?

Apart from the aesthetics and the site structure, content is a very important factor behind the success of websites and your marketing effort. You need to find out whether the content can satisfy the users’ search intent and plug the gaps during the website redesign. You have to ensure that the content is relevant, current, and original and that the standard of presentation is very high and designed to appeal to users who might be distracted or indulging in multitasking. From the perspective of SEO, every page has a function and you should ensure that the content and design ingredients work in tandem to achieve those results. It is important to offer a seamless experience to your users by creating a meaningful flow of content. You will be rewarded with reduced bounce rates, improvement in the CTR, prolonged dwell time and improvement in your SERP rankings. One of the very important aspects of high-quality content is the absence of errors, factual, grammatical, punctuation or spelling as it gives a very poor impression to users. It is also vital that the published content has the depth users are looking for and is not thin content spun into a large volume. Make sure that the content is original and not plagiarized from other websites as Google will downgrade such duplicate content and drive your rankings down.

Optimize the Website for Mobile Devices

A site redesign is a perfect opportunity for optimizing your website for mobile devices. Already more than half of the internet traffic is being generated by mobile users, and Google is giving preference to mobile-optimized sites in its ranking so if you have a legacy site that does not display well on mobile devices, you are losing out on valuable sales opportunities to your competition. Mobile optimization is not only about ensuring that the site displays properly on the smaller screens but also its usability. The site’s navigability should be inspected and adjusted while the clickable buttons should be made large enough for use by mobile users on the go. The content needs to be trimmed and large blocks of text removed to make it easy for mobile users to grasp the content.

Conclusion

While you have virtually unlimited options for implementing innovative website designs to impress your visitors and raise the level of engagement, you should find out how the redesign would benefit users and the business and not how good it looks. While you should make your website design as appealing as possible taking into consideration the preferences of your target audience, the exercise should also be data-driven so that you can cater to the most important aspects that need catering to or to preserve most valuable existing SEO.

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