Every business person realizes how important it is to redesign their website from time to time. It’s like a restaurant – if the design and menu are the same for years, it will eventually become boring. But, a reconstruction implies that some of your pages won’t work properly or will disappear at all.
“But what about backlinks to those pages? What if people click there and see an error? They won’t come back! All my SEO efforts will just go down the chute.”
No, they will not if you use the following techniques. Web redesign is a lot of work, so you don’t have to worry about optimization if you prepare well and notify about the relaunch. Soon enough you’ll come back to building relevant backlinks and greeting people on the new website!
1. Try New Design Solutions on a Staging Website
Don’t experiment and implement changes one by one for a long time on the main website. This will show that the source is unstable now and many people will drop out to look for similar websites.
Instead, use a staging platform for a site redesign. You can use another domain or a localhost/WordPress hosting for that. Make sure to noindex the pages so that Google Search doesn’t show them instead of the currently operational version.
Also, remember that you can always outsource web and graphic design, having a professional team to look for new solutions. Discover more here and start looking for an agency as soon as you realize you need one.
2. Make Sure to Back Up What You Have
One of the best website remodel tips is to back up what you have. If you have a piece of content that ranks very high and somehow it’s lost during the reconstruction, you can restore the page in a couple of clicks if it’s backed up.
Update the copy every week to be sure you have everything necessary. Such a careful approach ensures you don’t lose critical content responsible for your ranking and Domain Authority.
Having an original sitemap ready is another wise decision when remodeling.
3. Create Redirecting to Other Pages
Especially in the case of WordPress websites, you will need to use redirection at some point. Your site is evolving, and visitors deserve proper navigation, right? Here are the two main types of redirects you should use:
301 redirects are permanent. They are very good for SEO website development since they can transfer backlinks. This is the main type that is used in most situations.
302 redirects are temporary. They are suitable for providing visitors with a great user experience in spite of all the changes going on while you’re remodeling the website.
Also, you may have backlinks that bring a lot of traffic where the pages are missing now. You need to redirect them to similar pages. If you don’t have time for that, delegate link building process to a professional service. There, a team will create new backlinks for you and help handle the missing content.
4. Create Explanatory 404 Pages
It’s OK if you lose some pages after renewing the site layout and design. To communicate with your visitors about this, you can create original 404 pages. Nobody likes such surprises, but you can make the page interesting and add features like Search so that they can continue to browse the website.
Explain that the site has a new design and the content should be in a new place. Also, leave a link or two to the main page and, say, FAQ section. Thus, you’ll talk to both the users and search engines that can continue browsing the website.
5. If You Miss a Page, Recreate It
This is crucial for all pages that brought you a high ranking. Create similar pages within the new version of the site. The best-case scenario is that you don’t lose any pages or content. But if it happens, do damage control as soon as you notice the change.
A site map of the original website will be very useful in this situation.
Also, consider making the layout of the new site very similar or identical to how it was. It’s not only helpful for visitors who have been to the web source before but will also help you maintain the SEO advances you’ve achieved.
6. Monitor SEO Metrics in the Process
designwebkit.com describes the role of an SEO specialist in web design very well. Make sure to include website redesign SEO into your plans. Here are some of the things to monitor:
- Ranking over time;
- Span score;
- Domain Authority;
- Current keyword ranking;
- Backlink portfolio;
- Global rank;
- Organic traffic, etc.
Remodeling an existing website is a daunting task because any small mistake may lead to problems with traffic, optimization, and rankings. Make sure you approach the process carefully and collaborate with professionals that will create an astonishing new design without the losses in audience or place on Google SERPs.