3 Critical Website Redesign Mistakes That’ll Kill Your Search Rankings & Traffic

3 Critical Website Redesign Mistakes That’ll Kill Your Search Rankings & Traffic

So, you’ve decided to give your website a complete makeover. Perhaps you want to spruce it with high-quality images, graphics, and animations. Or you might want to improve the user experience to generate more leads and conversions.

You’ve already got a team of designers and developers working round the clock to revamp your website. But amidst the rigmarole, you could be missing out on the crucial aspect of SEO.

The primary purpose of a website is to amplify search engine visibility and attract organic traffic. If your website has been around for a while, you’ve likely already started attracting hundreds of daily visitors.

What happens when a redesign changes your website’s URL structure, leaving these visitors in the dark? The last thing you want is to jeopardize your website’s search engine rankings in a bid to make it more attractive or user-friendly.

That emphasizes the importance of following website redesign SEO best practices to preserve your position in search engine results pages (SERPs).

We’ll outline a few crucial SEO mistakes you should avoid while redesigning your website in the following sections. Let’s jump right in.

1. Making Changes to a Live Website

This one’s a no-brainer. You don’t want search engine crawlers or human users to come across incomplete web pages. Nor would you like to affect your website’s performance, speed, and usability while revamping it.

So, it’s best to avoid rolling out any changes on your website while it’s live. Instead, you should consider using a staging environment to develop the new website and migrate it to your hosting server once it’s ready. Any standard web hosting service will let you use a staging environment to make changes to your website.

Alternatively, you can use a temporary URL to build your new website. All you need to do is register a different domain name, purchase a hosting plan, and copy your existing website. Once you’ve made the required changes, you can migrate your new website to the original hosting server and URL.

Make sure you use a “noindex” tag for the temporary URL to prevent search engine spiders from crawling and indexing your redesigned website before it’s ready.

2. Adding Images With Random File Names

When you’re redesigning your website, one of your primary goals is to make it more visually appealing. That means you’re going to add a ton of new high-quality photographs and infographics to various web pages. Also, you might replace existing website images with more attractive ones.

Many developers forget that images play a crucial role in search engine rankings. Inserting images with irrelevant or random file names and alt tags into a web page will diminish their SEO value.

Any experienced SEO expert will recommend that you use descriptive and meaningful file names for images and other media. It’s equally crucial to craft relevant and easily understandable alt text descriptions for each file. 

Make sure you include the target keyword in the alt text as well. It’ll help search engine spiders understand the images’ content and include it in relevant image search results. Also, it’ll make your website accessible to users with visual impairment.

3. Ignoring 404 Error Pages

Website redesign SEO guidelines dictate that you create 404 error pages for broken URLs. Even if you set up extensive redirects from old web pages to new ones, visitors will still come across a few broken links on your website.

A 404 page displays an error message informing visitors that the URL they’ve requested isn’t available. A common mistake that developers make is restricting the use of 404 pages to error messages. 

Telling visitors that they’ve landed on a broken link isn’t enough. You also need to help them find the necessary information on your website. Otherwise, it’ll increase your website’s bounce rate and take a toll on search engine rankings.

It’s wiser to use your 404 error pages to nudge visitors in the direction of new content. Include links to related blog posts or product pages.

Or you could add a link to the home page. Also, it’s a good idea to display your website menu on the error page. It’ll enhance the user experience and encourage visitors to browse your website.

Final Thoughts

Besides avoiding these typical website redesign SEO mistakes, it’s also crucial to track your website’s rankings, traffic, and engagement rates after you’ve revamped it. Also, check your backlinks and reach out to the owners of the linking domains with the relevant URLs of new web pages.

The end goal of your website redesign strategy should be to strike a balance between making it attractive and retaining its SEO value.