Factors to Consider Before Redesigning a Website to Avoid Ranking Drop

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Once every few years, based on statistics and website analysis, it is necessary to make a redesign to improve its usability!!

Why?

It leads to an increase in conversions and, as a result, to an increase in positions.

Very often, when switching to another design, owners and webmasters forget that this task can result in some risks.

Therefore, you should not approach this issue dismissively. Also, make a website redesign extremely carefully so as not to lose what has been done in website ranking.

Website design and usability have become extremely important in recent years. It has been empirically proven that the more pleasant and convenient the interface is, the higher the likelihood that users will stay on your resource.

Therefore, adding new features and changing the appearance for a more convenient one in the long term will lead to an improvement in the website’s position in search engines due to behavioural factors and an increase in conversion.

It is difficult to do a website redesign on your own and difficult to understand without experience. So, here, we recommend you to hire the website designing agency that can help you to redesign your website to the best.

When Does Your Website Need Redesigning?

The website redesigning is needed when:

  • There are functional errors

They will interfere with your visitors, which will negatively impact your SEO promotion.

  • Usability issues

If your visitors find it inconvenient to use the website, this will definitely affect the number of permanent audiences.

  • The current design is outdated

Generally, the companies redesign approximately every two years. If the design and functionality of your website have not changed for more than 3-5 years, then it is time to do it, since trends on the Internet are changing rapidly.

  • You have used template design

There is nothing wrong with it if the website is needed as a “business card”. If it is supposed that it should generate income, modify it for your own project.

  • Your competitors’ websites are better

You will get more visitors if your project looks better or outperforms competitors at least in some way.

The website redesign does not have to be radical, with global changes in appearance and functionality. Especially if you already have good positions in search results, traffic and your regular audience. Major changes can negatively affect all of this. To avoid the loss of traffic and regular visitors or customers, implement changes gradually, test the correctness of the new functionality and track the reaction of people and search engines to be able to quickly respond to falling positions.

SEO Approach for the Website Redesign

The best way to avoid most of the problems associated with a website redesign is to prevent them initially. It is not a bad practice to audit a website before redesigning it. It will solve obvious problems before and avoid them after the design change.

  • It is necessary to make a full backup of the website and the database. This will help to return everything to its place if something goes wrong.
  • Measure the starting positions of the current site (traffic, positions for key queries, the number of conversions, bounce rates, etc.)
  • Make a list of redirects to be done if you are planning to change the structure of the website, save the old URLs, for example, download a sitemap (sitemap.xml) or parse the website with programs and upload all URLs to an Excel file.
  • Save the old Title and Description, h1. It is very important. Also, it is advisable to transfer them without changes.
  • Fix unnecessary 301 redirects and get rid of 404 response pages before redesigning and restructuring your website.
  • Move the test website to a temporary URL
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The redesign of the website always takes some time, and while the new design is in the process of implementation, the current site should work properly. After the new design is ready, you can already transfer the changes from the temporary URL to the main website.

Note: If there was a significant redesign of the website, then transfer the old website to the test temporary address so that after the design change, you will have quick access to the old design, structure, and texts on the website.

What Factors Can Help to Hold the Website Ranking While Redesigning

WEBSITE STRUCTURE

Changing the structure of the website is the first thing that can negatively affect the position in the search results. Perhaps some of your visitors or customers have bookmarked certain pages. If the address of this document is changed, then when entering it, the user will receive only a 404 error instead of the expected information or product.

Therefore, for those pages that had to be moved, use a 301 redirect. This will help you maintain a good ranking in search results.

You might want to tinker with the page URLs on your website to make them more readable for users. In this case, you also cannot do without a 301 redirect, which will help you not to lose what you already have with the old URLs.

If you plan not only to change the structure and URLs but also the main website address itself, that is, the domain name, then you cannot do without a 301 redirect. Don’t forget to tweak it from all the old pages to new ones.

To make the changes noticed and indexed by search robots as quickly as possible, upload them to an XML sitemap and add them to Webmaster Tools from Google.

NAVIGATION

Undoubtedly, navigation is one of the most important elements of every website, so the slightest change in it can affect its position in search results.

Nowadays Flash is becoming more and more available, as a result of which it is more and more actively used by webmasters. Flash allows you to bring extravagant designs to life that cannot be realized using other technologies.

Despite its merits, Flash has significant drawbacks. For example, a superbly designed website made in Flash has poor accessibility and usability. Besides, if you use Flash thoughtlessly, you can harm your website’s position in search engines.

Of course, if your website is very popular and authoritative, thousands, if not millions of links lead to it, then you don’t have to worry about this, but calmly replace your regular website with a Flash website.

So, if you want to end up with a website that has an excellent design, which can be implemented using Flash, and high availability and usability, then you must adhere to the principle of the ” Golden mean “, i.e. create an HTML website, and implement some design elements using Flash.

Also, such a website will be indexed by search engines without any problems and will be able to occupy decent positions in the search results.

CONTENT

In the overwhelming majority of cases, a website redesign does not entail changes to its content. Therefore, try not to change it, because this can affect the position of the website in the search results.

If there was a need to update the content of the website, try to make sure that the density of key phrases, their location, link anchors and other important elements of the new pages coincide with the previous analogues.

If at the very top of each web page, above the header, the text was placed that reflects the essence of a particular page (usually this text is created for search engines so that they immediately understand what a particular page is about), then do not forget to transfer it to new pages.

RELATED:  5 Things To Consider When Redesigning Your Website

META/TITLE TAGS

Be sure to transfer all meta and title tags from the old pages to the new ones. Do not forget to move the meta-tag description or website description, or snippet, as it makes the users find your website through search engines, see a short, meaningful description of a specific page under the name of the site.

Meta-tag keywords for a long time no longer affect the ranking of sites in large, leading search engines, therefore, it is up to you to transfer it or not. Take this step very seriously, because this step is one of the most important.

GRAPHIC LINKS

Modern search engines do not experience difficulties with clicking on graphic links and indexing them. The problem is that such links are less effective than regular text links.

Text links are much more effective due to the ability to compose their anchor (link text) from keywords. As for graphic links, the only thing that can be added here is the Alt attribute, and its effect is incomparable with the effect of ordinary text links.

TRANSFORMATION

Do you expect your conversion rates to be higher or lower? Your post-launch audit should spot any new bugs and ensure that the website is being crawled and indexed correctly.

Some important factors to check after launch:

  • Robots.txt (websites run incredibly often, preventing crawling of the entire site, or an important section that was hidden during development)
  • Submitting a Sitemap in Google webmaster
  • Index coverage report in Google Search Console
  • Testing the redirection implementation

Performing two thorough checks is essential to minimize risk. Any major threat to your rating will be identified and addressed before launch. At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of ​​how your website’s performance will evolve.

IMPACT MEASURE

Before launching a new website, make sure your web analytics and ranking tracking records reliable baseline data for your site’s KPIs. Also, make sure your new website has web analytics, goals, e-commerce, webview set up correctly.

Concluding Remarks

Creating and managing the website are two different things. At one point, the website demands redesigning. But, the important point to consider here is that while carrying out the process of redesigning, the website ranking should not drop. Otherwise, the years of hard work will get washed. So, check out this article and know the factors that you can follow to avoid it. Let’s revise what we have covered in this write-up.

  • Prepare well: Fix the initial data, conduct an audit, create backups.
  • Make changes gradually and track user reactions. If this is not possible, do everything on a copy of the site that is closed from the index and test everything thoroughly before delighting users with global changes.
  • Make a map of redirects and an informative 404 error page to reduce the number of bounces and reduce the drawdown on-site positions in Google.
  • Check the correct transfer of content and metadata, if indexing is open in robots.txt if new sitemaps are made.
  • Add up-to-date information in the webmaster’s panel and control the performance of goals in the metric.
  • Track changes and take into account the opinions of users.

Hopefully, you liked this article. If there are some queries and suggestions, then, let us know in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!!

About The Author

Viviana Folliero is a Manager at Awebstar, a leading website design agency in Singapore which is dealing with web design & development, mobile app development, SEO, social media marketing and more. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Awebstar.com.sg.


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