How to Redesign Your Website Without Destroying SEO

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Levi Wardell, one of the Directors of Strategy at WebMechanix, explains how you can redesign your site without losing SEO. He offers 3 major webside redesign SEO considerations when preparing and communicating with your development team. Follow this checklist and you will be ahead of the crowd, while avoiding major drops in traffic.


Hey there, I am Levi.

This is WebMechanix. Let’s talk some shop.

Listen, a question that has come up quite a bit recently has been around new website designs and SEO.

So I thought I would talk a little bit about that, and some of the more important things that you should be paying attention to when this happens because the least, the last thing you want really is for your rankings to go down or for you to lose traffic.

So, I thought I would cover three or four really important key things that you should pay attention to. Know that they’re not the only things, but with this list, it’ll get you 80 to 85% of the way there.

If you want to know the rest of the list, you’re interested in how we deal with these things here at WebMechanix, give me a call, shoot me an e-mail, and I can talk through ’em in more detail. All right, so the first thing is to keep it all in context, okay? How much of your business relies on organic traffic?

Do the leads that you get from your website come through organic or through something else, okay? It’s really important when you’re having discussions with your design team or with your developers around what you want to do with the site, that they think about it in that context.

“Hey Jimmy, this is really important because 75% of the business that we get comes through our website. So those changes that you want to make, do they improve that or do they hurt that?”

So share that context with your team, okay? Make sure that they’re working within the same frame of mind that you are. The second thing is your content and keyword pairings, okay?

Understand what the important topics are that you rank well for and that are driving… Traffic and leads to your site, okay? Now once you have that, it’s really important that you understand what groups of pages pair up with those topics, because as I’m sure you are doing if you’re interested in redesigning your site and most people do, is one of the first things you talk about and you think about is how can we cut down all of that extraneous or outdated content and really streamline the UX of our site?

Well, you wanna make sure you don’t go too far because Google loves content, because content proves that you’re an authority on whatever it is you’re talking about.

There are a couple of instances that you will want to just cut content out, but… Whenever you do that make sure that you’re replacing it with something that may be timely or is relevant. So if you have a product that you’re not offering anymore, you’re obviously not gonna want to you know, A, rank for that product and drive traffic to something that doesn’t exist anymore or maybe your content around that is out of date.

Maybe it’s a year or two old and you just need to update it, so keep those things in mind, but most importantly, keep a close eye on the content topics you have and the content that is driving traffic through those.

You want to make sure that you’re not cutting out important content that is working hard for you now. The next thing I want to talk about is mobile, all right? A lot of times, people don’t pay close enough attention to the mobile UX in a redesign.

They think it’s really cool to put a new hamburger menu in place and to just do something with the menu so that it fits in there on the mobile site. Well, you may or may not know that Google is actually paying attention to the mobile version of your site using a completely different algorithm now.

How you rank in mobile may be very different from how you rank in desktop. So pay close attention to that user experience, pay close attention to how your, your content flows within the mobile version of your website, and ensure that you’re not missing any major steps there or have any gaps that might be filled on the other side but are missing for mobile.

So, the last thing I want to talk about is actually a few different things all bunched into one, and that’s the technical side of SEO. Make sure that you’re paying close attention to the load time. There are a lot of really cool, if you’re doing WordPress, there are a lot of really cool new templates that have a ton of stuff on the back end that allow you to very easily plug and play or drag and drop different components of your website. Well, those different things can actually add a lot of code to the back end of your site, and that can actually harm how fast your pages load.

That’s just one example. There are a lot of different things, but pay close attention to load time and the speed of your website. In addition to that, and I think this is probably the most important thing on the technical side. If you don’t need to change your urls, please don’t. Leave them as they are. If you do need to change your urls, make sure that you use a tool, something like Screaming Frog, to get a full list of all the urls you have, and any of those you’re changing, you’re creating 301 redirects for.

Now that’s gonna be done a little bit differently depending on what system you’re using, what CMS you have in place and where you’re going with that, so make sure you talk to your technical folks, your developers. Hey I need to get a list of 301s built. Can you help me do that?

And they can probably point you in the right direction. So just to recap, make sure that you’re doing this in context of your business, ‘kay? How much of your business relies on your organic traffic.

Next, make sure that your content and your keyword topics are paired and you have a good understanding of what’s driving that traffic and making sure that you’re not cutting out content that is important to your business, ‘kay?

After that, make sure that you’re paying close attention to mobile and the user experience there, and not just having your mobile version be a bolted on version or some sort of wonky add on. It’s actually something that’s deliberately put in place just like your desktop. And finally the technical, especially your 301 redirects, and your load time.

With that, you should be in pretty good shape, but like I said, there are some other things to keep in mind potentially that… May not have been covered on this, and I think we may do another video just on the content piece alone, ’cause that can get kinda complex.

But at any rate, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. My name is Levi Wardell. I’m one of the Directors of Strategy here. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

Video Info:
Creative + UX
Data + Tech

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