Every now and then, your website might be in a desperate need of a revamp. However, if youâ€™re not careful, even the smallest of changes can wreak havoc on your websiteâ€™s SEO rank. Therefore, you need to do some research on what to avoid, as well as what course of action to take to make this transition as smooth, effective and non-harming for your websiteâ€™s authority with search engines. With this in mind, here are several principles you need to adhere to at all times.
1. Crawl your new website
The way in which Google indexes your website is by using Google bots to crawl it and check if thereâ€™s any irregularity. What a lot of website owners are completely oblivious to is the fact that they too can do this with the right tool. Apart from being able to crawl your own websites, these tools can help you learn a bit more about websites of your competitors. This form of all-inclusive data collection can, therefore, become a great didactic method, when it comes to efficient website redesign.
2. Proper information architecture
Prior to migrating your website, you need to make sure that you conduct a thorough sandbox test in order to make sure everything is in working order. In order to prevent this test from creating a temporary issue with search engines, you need to make sure to add no-index to it as soon as possible. Then, you need to focus on your information architecture and reexamine your breadcrumb navigation, URL naming conventions and the overall website hierarchy. Proper identification of these changes should be a starting point, in order to ensure the future SEO integrity of your e-commerce website.
3. Look for a professional aid
As a sort of a side-note, you might be able to skip a lot of this trouble by simply hiring professionals to do this redesign for you. By finding the right web design company, you can take care of your websiteâ€™s SEO in the safest manner, while still working on progressing your brandâ€™s digital footprint. In other words, it will provide you with visual, thematic and functional consistency while not harming your SEO in any way.
4. Consistently measure your rankings
Chances are, you already have a tool through which you measure your rank, so make sure that you are able to track changes that follow every change you introduce. Similarly, to what weâ€™ve previously discussed, even some of the minor changes can cause a significant backlash and this is something you constantly need to be on the lookout for. To make the long story short, check your websiteâ€™s rank every time you make a change to its structure.
5. Differentiate between links
In general, there are two types of links on your website. The first group consists of manually created links, inserted into the content the old-fashioned way, while the others get dynamically generated by your e-commerce platform. Needless to say, you need to be accountable for any manually created link. Apart from this, you should also avoid internal redirects if at all possible. Fortunately, as you can see, the rules of the game are pretty straightforward.
6. Watch out for missing pages
It is not that uncommon to have a missing page or two as an immediate effect of your migration. This can happen if a page falls out of navigation, has an URL that is named inconsistently with current conventions or for several other reasons. Luckily, checking this is not that hard and all you need to do is crawl your website and check if it consists of the identical number of URLs. If not, count the difference and then revise your changes in order to see what went missing.
7. Post-launch monitoring
When you are finally satisfied with the results and believe that your website is now ready to launch, your real work only begins. From that point on, you need to consistently monitor its performance, its rank and any unexpected changes that occur, even if they are positive in nature. Moreover, seeing as how it is quite likely that you will be tweaking your new website in weeks and months to come, make sure to use the no-index tag on them until youâ€™re 100 percent sure that they are not going to harm your platform.
While we already mentioned the importance of no-index tag, several times before, it is vital that we do it yet again. Having Google crawling your website while itâ€™s in development can be simply devastating for your rank and your websiteâ€™s authority. Therefore, you should never let them see the work in progress but only the end result. In other words, before you make any change, you need to ensure that it is tested in a safe environment.
Chloe Smith is a cycling enthusiast and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success. When sheâ€™s not working, sheâ€™s probably somewhere cuddled up with a good book, and a cup of lemongrass tea (or more honestly binge-watching the newest Netflix hit show).