How do I keep SEO rankings after a website redesign?
This is a great question because I get many phone calls from businesses that redesigned their website and lost a lot of rankings on Google. In this situation, their income is freefalling and it’s sometimes difficult (or it takes time in months) to restore the situation.
Obviously, people are in a hurry but not Google…
Here are a few points I would give:
- If possible, keep the same platform. If you were on WordPress, stay on WordPress. WordPress is the best platform for SEO but that’s another discussion.
- If number 1 isn’t possible, try as much as you can to have the same URL structure on all the pages of your website as the one you had before.
- If possible keep your meta titles and meta descriptions the same for all pages.
- If number 2 isn’t possible do 301 redirects but if you do so, you can be sure that you will lose “link juice” if there were a lot of external links pointing towards the former URLs. This means your SEO will be weakened.
- If possible, use the same texts or similar texts. That’s a little less important than the previous points because copywriting might improve conversion rate but still, your copywriter needs to know how your targeted market reacts psychologically and how Google algorithms react to the text. This is an art and a science!!!
- If you delete pages, make sure that no 404 error appears if someone tries to reach the former page. The former page should redirect (301) to another existing page like your homepage or a similar page.
- You can change images and if you can, rename them similarly or even better than the old pictures.
Some might say: “Nick, I want to CHANGE my website, not keep it the same”
Of course, if you can’t or don’t want to follow the points above, your mission, products or services might have changed a lot.
In this case, do you still want to rank for the same keywords? If the answer is no, then be ready for a drop, it’s normal! If the answer is yes, you should follow those points.
On your new website, you can keep all the aspects that are stated above and improve user experience and interactivity so that the conversion rate will improve without losing your rankings (traffic).
After all traffic + conversion + loyalty = money. Why lose free traffic from SEO when you could minimize its loss?