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18.09.2023 Search Engine Land

Website redesign checklist: Retaining and improving SEO

Redesigning a website often has a negative impact on SEO. Learn how to factor organic traffic into your redesign to retain and improve SEO. The post Website redesign checklist: Retaining and improving SEO appeared first on Search Engine Land. - A new website should be an opportunity to improve SEO, conversion rates and digital marketing as a whole. Unfortunately, it can also be an SEO disaster if not carefully managed.  This article outlines the main areas you must consider when redesigning a website to ensure you retain (and improve) your SEO. If retaining and improving your SEO is a priority for your new website, then your first job is to understand how to integrate SEO into your new site from day one.  As a primer, “SEO and website design: How to build search engine-friendly sites” will provide you with the background knowledge to build SEO into the fabric of your website redesign.  A cautionary tale Maintaining traffic during a redesign can be tricky. Google’s John Mueller was asked if there is a way to prevent traffic loss during a redesign, and he had a strong, simple answer – no.  During my career, I have seen many new, expensive, mission-critical websites that have wholly decimated important and profitable organic traffic.  However, one project has always stuck with me among the many horror stories. The website was for a small multiple sclerosis (MS) charity. The charity promoted a natural approach to helping with MS and, as such, was not well-funded.  The site had gradually built organic traffic over several years but desperately needed a visual overhaul. After a protracted website redesign involving two companies over 12 months, the new site finally launched. Everyone was super excited about taking things to the next level.  And then this happened: Organic traffic dropped by over 90%.  This was not simple turbulence – the traffic stayed low.  Excitement turned into panic.  After a month of waiting for things to improve and receiving no support from either of the web design agencies involved, we got the call and took it on as a pro bono project. To try and resolve these issues after the fact is difficult.  It is hard enough if you consider your organic traffic from the outset – but to try and reverse engineer the problems is far more difficult.  Where SEO has not been considered, any number of problems may make recovering traffic problematic.  Fortunately, with much pain, wailing and gnashing of teeth, we recovered around 90% of the traffic. But it was painful for all involved.  Two years later, we helped architect a new site and weave SEO into the website planning, enabling the charity to supersede historic organic traffic.  With this site, we were careful to establish clear SEO goals and track SEO KPIs, so we understood what worked and used that to inform the website planning.  The SEO website redesign takeaway is simple – failing to plan is planning to fail.  Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on. “> “> “> Processing…Please wait. SUBSCRIBE See terms. function getCookie(cname) { let name = cname + "="; let decodedCookie = decodeURIComponent(document.cookie); let ca = decodedCookie.split(';'); for(let i = 0; i

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