Planning ahead to keep your site’s search-engine rankings intact is better than trying to fix the problems that a newly redesigned website can have. It may take some time up front, but knowing which areas of your site factor into SEO before you redesign can save you time in the long run.
These are a few of the aspects of your website that play a role in SEO performance:
Navigation: Savvy website owners keep their sites up to date with fresh content, but may not be updating navigation menus at the same time. Plan for a content management system that allows you to easily change your navigation to not only accurately reflect the site’s content, but also to help visitors and search engines easily understand your site.
URLs: Your site pages’ addresses are one of the most important sources of information for search engines. There are quite a few SEO tasks associated with URLs, so you’ll want to research this carefully. The basics include making sure your URLs will be editable so that you can make them descriptive. Your CMS may automatically assign a URL to a new page that makes little sense to site visitors if it doesn’t include text that helps describe what the page is about.
Headers and footers: Diligent website creators can tell when a site’s header or footer didn’t get the SEO attention it needed. These two sections of a web page are relatively easily tweaked to support good SEO. In top area of pages, pay attention to phone numbers, which should be in text rather than images so that search engines can read them. Meta content, such as page titles, should be editable in your new system so that you can include your keyword phrases. In footers, you’ll want to include the name, address and phone number of your business, particularly if you cater to local customers.
Mobile-friendliness: A responsive, mobile-friendly site ensures that your site works for all types of users on all types of devices. While mobile considerations used to count mostly for a great user experience, they now matter in site rankings. Search engines such as Google continue to increase the importance of mobile-friendly factors in their overall site ranking algorithms, so this is one area you shouldn’t ignore.
Be prepared prior to launch.
From 301 redirects that help ensure you don’t lose any good SEO attached to pages on your old site, to hiding your staging site so that you don’t end up being punished for having duplicate content online, there’s much more you can do to keep your SEO rankings and site traffic healthy. For more information, download our free SEO Checklist For Launching Your New or Redesigned Website.