Are you thinking of redesigning your website but you fear that you may lose your SEO ranking? Well, there are many website owners who fear to redesign their websites for the same reason. It actually makes sense because nobody would wish their time and efforts in raising the website’s ranking to be for nothing!
However, the fact is, individual’s tastes and liking change over time and the longer you avoid redesigning your website, the more outdated your website will appear. Therefore, you need to redesign your website without losing SEO to ensure the site remains up to date and appealing to visitors. In addition, newer website design techniques usually improve website speed, functionality as well as user experience on your website.
Thus, new website redesign strategy can not only change the appearance of your website to a modern and up to date look, but it can as well make the site visitors happy, and you know happier users are potential leads that can result in sales.
In this post, you will be taken through a step-by-step guide on how you can redesign a website without necessarily losing your SEO rankings.
1. Create a Backup of the Current Website
Always ensure you create a backup of your existing website before redesigning it as a precautionary measure. The backup includes your website’s theme files, database, and plugins. By doing so, if in any case, things do not go as planned, you will be able to revert your website to the previous version.
2. Develop a “Site Under Maintenance” Webpage and Setup the New Site on a Temporary URL
As a website owner, you wouldn’t wish your site visitors to view broken webpages while visiting your site. Therefore, it’s good you create the site under maintenance webpage for the period you will be redesigning your website. You can easily create maintenance webpage using SeedProd plugin for WordPress.
Avoid carrying out the redesign of your site on the current website. Ensure you copy your website on a temporary URL. The other option would be for a web hosting company that has a cloud VPS hosting to do it for you.
3. Test for Broken Links in Your New Website
After you complete redesigning the new site, you should make sure you check if there are broken links and correct them. You can make utilize XENU, which is an open-source tool for testing the validity of links.
4. Make a List all Webpages from Your Previous Website
While redesigning a website, it is apparent that you may need to change the URL structure or slug or a webpage, however, it is as well of great significance for you to let search engines such as Google to understand that you have made the changes.
If you do not do so, you can be sure it will affect your website’s SEO rankings, lower your domain trust and consequently lead to you losing your site traffic.
Therefore, the solution is to make a list of all the URLs of your old site and the simplest way to achieve that is to take your sitemap and store it in a text file format.
5. Create 301 Redirects
You will have to create 301 redirects between your site’s old and new URLs. For instance, if your old site had a “Contact Us” webpage whose URL was “www.mywebsite.com/contactus.html.”
If while the website is being redesigned, the URL was changed to “www.mywebsite.com/contact-us.html” – it would be necessary for you to create proper 301 redirects to make sure that the two URLs function well and you do not your website SEO rankings achieved from your old URL.
6. Switch to the Latest Website
Switching to the new website all at once is crucial, particularly after the effort of designing your new site. At this point, you must ensure you switch to the latest version of your site all at once.
Alternatively, if your new website is big, you can switch to the latest version of your site incrementally. However, Google’s ideal method is to change all at once because by doing so, you will expedite crawling.
7. Carry Out Verification of the New Website Using Google Search Console
The moment your new website goes live, you must ensure its working correctly. At this point, it’s also crucial for you to test for broken links once again.
After which you should use your webmaster tools like Bing and Google to check if your site is verified. If you discover it is not verified, do so and check how both Bing and Google to index your new site.
8. Check Robots.txt
At this point, the other key thing to do is to for you to check your robots.txt file with the help of ROBOTS>TXT TESTER found under crawl. Webmasters utilize robots.txt file to permit or block access to search engines to your site wholly or in specific webpages. Therefore, if misconfigured, robots.txt may block access to search engine crawlers.
9. Sitemap Submission
Since your new website has an altered structure, ensure you submit the site XML to both Google and Bing for easy crawling.
10. Monitor Your Site Changes
Lastly, it is crucial for you to closely monitor the new version of your site and identify any potential for growth. Monitor the performance of your keywords and adjust them using the latest digital marketing trends with the help of many SEO services available allow you to monitor your keywords.
To redesign your site without losing your SEO rankings may be a difficult task if you do not have a clear road-map of carrying the process. Ensure you research thoroughly before you embark on making a new design for your site.
Make sure you monitor the newly redesigned website and ensure you have corrected any errors you may come across on the staging site prior to taking the new design of your website live.
You will as well have to perform site audits regularly until such a time when you are sure that there aren’t any more errors appearing on your website.