How to Redesign a Website Without Ruining SEO

It’s far too simple to lose your SEO while redesigning a website. An example of what may go wrong is as follows:

  • Decline in traffic and ranks
  • Reduction in link equity
  • Broken pages
  • Pages that load slowly
  • Poor mobile performance
  • Broken internal links

Fortunately, avoiding these and other frequent problems only requires adhering to six easy guidelines.

Store a Copy of the Previous Website

Simple to miss, but potentially quite helpful. If something goes wrong, you can always restore the original website thanks to a backup. Request that the website’s developer be ready for this backup plan. The changes will then go into effect fairly immediately if they just redirect the domain to the folder containing the previous website. Additionally, watch out that they don’t replace any existing databases. Creating a backup for yourself won’t hurt. If you use WordPress or a comparable CMS, look for a backup tool offered by your hosting company or use a plugin such as Updraft.

Test Site for Mobile Friendliness

The easiest method to make sure your new site complies with Google’s page experience requirements is to test it for Core Web Vitals (CWV) and mobile friendliness before it goes live.

The truth is that a website redesign can have a significant impact on the mobile experience, responsiveness, speed, and stability of the site. Certain design errors, like overuse of animations or improper layout scaling on mobile devices, will be quite obvious. But other flaws, like unoptimized code, may be more difficult to identify.

Conduct a Pre- And Post-launch Site Audit

Your website’s SEO problems are found by an SEO audit. Additionally, if you do it both before and after the launch, you will be able to quickly identify any potential new issues brought about by the redesign. Especially the important ones, such as unwanted index pages.

Maintain the Previous URL Structure

We refer to the arrangement and formatting of web URLs as the “URL structure.”

Changing that structure through an unmanaged process may result in:

  • Redirects that go to inaccessible or nonexistent pages are known as broken redirects.
  • Broken backlinks are outside references to pages on your website that have been relocated or deleted.
  • Broken internal links are internal website links that are broken, making it more difficult to navigate the site and find content.
  • Orphan pages are pages that are difficult for consumers and search engines to find since they are not connected to your website.

Naturally, unless you’re quite certain you know what you’re doing, you should stick with the previous URL structure. You will need to set up some redirects in this situation. In addition, remember to use Google Search Console to upload a sitemap so that Google can index updates to your website more quickly.

Advice from Komdigit

In addition, Google suggests creating a fresh sitemap when adding numerous pages at once. If that applies to your redesign project, you might wish to take that action.

Maintain Significant Organic Pages

Redesigns frequently involve content trimming of some form or the willful removal of previous content. However, you must maintain the pages that are already ranked highly, no matter what you do.

One explanation could be traffic, but since these pages are already ranking, there’s a good chance they have some backlinks that you could lose.

The top pages report is an inventory of all the pages on your website that are ranked in the top 100, automatically sorted by traffic, and supplemented with SEO statistics.

Reduce the Number of Changes Made to Ranked Pages

Finally, exercise additional caution when making changes to these features if the new design forces major alterations to your top-ranking pages:

  • Changes to the text, title, and H1 keywords might affect how relevant the page is for related searches. For example, if you start removing the phrase from the important sections of the content, a product page that ranks for “kick scooter for kids” may lose that.
  • Content depth: Any changes made should be made with the intention of better meeting user demands, adding value, or making already-existing information more clear (i.e., search purpose). Remember that Google favors content that puts the needs of users first and is helpful, rather than necessarily clever or convincing copywriting.
  • Internal links: While removing or altering a few internal links shouldn’t be detrimental, you should exercise caution and consider whether making any specific changes may negatively impact your ranking. Remember that internal links support both Google’s understanding of the context of pages and the flow of link equity.

Final Thoughts

Even while a complete site makeover could seem like a good time to do SEO, you should consider the traffic and backlink equity the website has already acquired. You won’t know what worked and why, or perhaps more crucially, what didn’t work and how to correct it if you make too many changes at once.

In actuality, SEO is always about trying new things. Though you can make educated guesses, you can never be certain of what will transpire.