So you’re taking the plunge and you are finally ready to redesign your website. You think I need to get my CMS set up, my wireframes drafted and any and all technologies implemented. I
need to get countless images and high-resolution logos. Then someone mentions SEO. You think oh – SEO can wait, this is something I can do post launch when I have more money, time, and resources. But what you don’t realize is how a SEO strategy really should drive the redesign of your new site.
So why is SEO so essential to your website redesign? It’s because SEO focuses on the optimization of your website navigation and architecture, URL structure, CMS/platform, images, content, and more – all so you can get found through search engines. And let me ask you this: if your website can’t be found, what’s the use of having it in the first place?
Implementing a proper SEO strategy now will take a fraction of the money and time that it may cost later if you wait to take it seriously. Below is a list of recommendations, tips, and best practices for you to take into consideration as you plan to build out your new site.
Benchmark your Current Metrics
Do a report on your site to determine the monthly average visits/visitor/unique visitors, bounce rate, time on site, top performing keywords, indexed pages and top performing pages. This will show you the strongest areas of your current site, and those are the pages you want to keep when doing the redesign!
Navigation & Page Hierarchy
Search engines will not be able to crawl websites whose navigations are not well organized, which could hurt your site’s organic rankings. Make sure you have a hierarchy and internal linking structure that makes sense so you have a proper foundation for your site.
Planning Your URL Mapping / 301 Redirects
If your site structure is changing, the then URLs will probably be changing too. If this is the case, then it is crucial you draft a page-mapping plan to ensure all old pages redirect to the appropriate new pages. This will help maintain traffic and will help keep the weight from old URLs to new.
How your content is formatted and organized in your new site will be critical for its success on search engines. Make sure your content is well organized, makes sense to readers, and is optimized with meta data, internal/external links and all images have appropriate alt tags.
You want to make sure your website is able to be crawled, and having a CMS platform that is incorrectly configured can be very expensive to fix (or in some cases, you may have to start from scratch)! While doing research on what platform you are going to use for your site, make sure it is SEO friendly before you chose to purchase.
All in all, there are a number of different areas that can affect your website’s potential if they are not addressed during a redesign. With the proper goals and SEO strategy in place, you can overcome these concerns and lay a strong base for future SEO growth.