8 Tips for Effective Website Redesign
A lot can go wrong during a Website Redesign. From traffic losses to negative audience feedback, any issue can adversely affect important metrics. To prevent the biggest problems, you can follow these tips on redesigning your website with SEO in mind.
Use Descriptive Links
Marketers and designers everywhere understand the importance of CTAs or calls to action. A good CTA tells the search engines which site content is most important. Try to provide a context in CTAs. For instance, a link that says “Find out more about our web design services” is more descriptive than one that simply says “Learn More.”
Reduce Overall Link Numbers
Descriptive links are important, but the overall number of links matters as well. Every link on a web page reduces the link equity that can be used on important pages. However, the problem can be mitigated when designers avoid over-linking to pages with little SEO value.
Use PDFs Wisely
Google and the other search engines are reluctant to send visitors straight to PDF pages. This can be detrimental to PDF content, as it’s a common format for detailed information like specifications, research, and whitepapers (which the search engines love). While it’s okay to have content in PDF format for effortless offline consumption, integrating it into a page can greatly expand a site’s new content footprint.
Moreover, if others link to the page rather than bypass it and link straight to the PDF content, owners can improve the site’s link ranking. If a Website Redesign involves using a PDF file as a lead generator, which is quite common on sites selling services and software, consider integrating content samples into the body of the page. This not only benefits the search engines, it helps potential customers determine whether they want to offer their contact info to download the remainder of the content.
Check Analytics Thoroughly
A redesign often entails a shift in information architecture and content strategy. Before revising a site’s navigation, review its analytics. A long-forgotten page may be working as a landing page and thereby generating valuable free, organic traffic. Such pages should retain a sitemap presence so the search engines can keep indexing them. During the analytics check, the site owner or designer should re-evaluate the site’s goals. Some pages do more than just generating traffic; they drive real results for the business. If this is the case, the page should be elevated rather than simply retained.
Be Careful With Subdomains
While IT departments often make domain decisions, there are SEO and marketing factors to consider as well. Google and the other search engines consider subdomains as independent domains and, as such, they have little initial SEO equity. If a site owner is considering adding a content-rich platform such as a forum or blog, they should add it in the form of a primary domain subfolder. This strategy can help the primary domain gather the SEO equity.
Be More Responsive
Every web designer or marketer knows the world is increasingly mobile, but many fail to realize a site’s level of mobile friendliness is an important SEO factor. Google’s approach is known as responsive web design. Responsive websites adapt to a user’s viewport size so they get the same experience on a smartphone as they do on a conventional computer monitor. If a site owner is considering this approach, responsive design can give customers a good experience while satisfying Google’s requirements.
Use Webmaster Tools
It may seem counterintuitive to resolve a site’s current SEO issues before undergoing a redesign, but the sooner the site gets on firm footing with the search engines, the better off it will be. Install Google’s Webmaster Tools (or Bing’s counterpart) to determine how well the site is indexed by the search engine. If major errors are found, they should be fixed immediately. The best time to act is now, especially with SEO. Search engine optimization can take a significant amount of time, and site owners should start the countdown as soon as possible.
Give Thought to Content Creation
While it may be tempting to give a copywriter full creative control, it may not always be the best idea. It’s important to carefully choose phrasing and words, especially when trying to encourage people to find a business. If the site’s promo copy doesn’t match customers’ views of the company’s products and services, it may not attract the search engines’ attention, and the site’s reach could be limited.
Website renovations can be difficult, but they’re also worthwhile. It would be disingenuous to suggest the considerations listed here are the only SEO things to consider when redesigning your website, as there are many others to think of as well. Matters are further complicated by the ever-changing SEO landscape, but a digital marketing agency can provide advice, suggestions, and direction.
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