The answer is YES, absolutely. If your website developers are not experienced in SEO, then you should include an SEO team in the website redesign process.
It is also possible to lose all your natural, organic SEO visibility if certain steps aren’t taken.
Because many of my clients have been with me for over 10 years, many of them have redesigned their websites one or more times since I initially started working on them. Hence, I have quite a bit of experience in maintaining and improving the SEO results as websites morph from HTML to AXPX, PHP, WordPress, Joomla, Wix, and SquareSpace.
But sometimes, even though I’ve asked to stay involved and be consulted in the re-design sometimes a web development team is busy focused on the redesign and neglects to contact me. In these rare cases, I’ve been able to re-work the website in the immediate days and weeks after the new site is launched. This blog post is simply outlining some of the things to look out for, to prepare for.
When Redesigning your Website, Keep Some Things the Same
Keep Web Page File Names the Same
The “file name” is the name of the file that appears in the URL (not necessarily the “name” of your page.) If your “About” page file name was /about.html then a new html site should be about.html. Or if you are switching technologies to a CMS (content management system) like WordPress then it would be /about/.
CMS TIP: Changing Content Management System THEMES
The beauty of WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace, and many other content management systems is that they allow you to change your theme (the look of the website), but the file names, titles, and content remains the same. So to a search engines… nothing has changed!
Keep Web Page Titles the Same or Consistent for Standard Pages
There are very few standards in web technology, but the Home, About, Products, Services, and Contact pages are relatively standard. If your old website “About” page title was “ABOUT”, now is not the time to change it to “What We Do”. Keep it the same, “ABOUT”! Note: fonts, bold, and italic settings don’t matter.
When Redesigning Your Website, Prepare for Optimal Images
Your website developers will be asking you for content, i.e. copywriting and images. Many high-resolution and large-size images can slow your website down. Even though there are many automated solutions to optimizing this is an excellent time for you to get in at the core essence of your SEO.
Whether you take your own photos, purchase photos, or download royalty-free copyright images you should do these 3 things:
1 – Rename Your Images with a keyword
When you send your images to your website designer, rename your images to something meaningful. This will not only help your website developer to quickly identify which image goes on which page, but it will also help your SEO.
TIP: Also consider keeping part of the name the same as the royalty-free naming structure. That way if you are ever accused of stealing an image you can so “no I downloaded it from xyz.com” – assuming that is a verifiable website.
Ask Your Website Developer to include Redirects
The URL of each web page of your website is indexed by the search engines. Hence if your “About” page was www.mydomain.com/about.html and remains the same, there is no need for a re-direct as the URL is exactly the same. However, if your “About’ page has now changed to www.mydomain.com/about-our-company/ then you should ask for re-directs.
Your web developers might ask you to create a hierarchy of your website and match the old pages to the new pages. Then they will take this information and create the redirects for the appropriate technology. Note: if you have a lot of changes and the old pages will come up as 404 page not found errors without a redirect.