We recently relaunched a website for a new client, which included updating its design and CMS platform as well as improving functionality. As with any site relaunch, a major concern was what effect it would have on the site’s search engine rankings. So we followed a set plan to avoid common SEO mistakes by keeping these things in mind:
Don’t Abandon URLs
Inevitably, with a website relaunch, some URLs will change. Instead of abandoning URLs, utilize 301 (Permanent) redirects to help search engines find the page at its new location. Plus, if one of your site’s pages is bookmarked or committed to memory by a happy client, and you don’t use a redirect, this customer will land on a 404 page. While these 404 pages can work to your advantage sometimes (see below), 301 redirects afford a seamless transition for the content and pages that matter most to your customers.
Mistake: Changing URLs for pages that have inbound links which are indexed by search engines
Solution: Use 301 redirects to direct both search engines and users to your new location
Don’t Forget Housekeeping
Sometimes 404 pages work. Use them to your advantage by removing pages and content that are no longer needed in your new environment. Essentially, use them to clean up your website. And you can make them fun while being useful. Check out these great examples compiled by Creative Bloq.
Mistake: Leaving old and unnecessary content on your new website
Solution: Design custom 404s to inform customers that the page has been removed while pointing them in the right direction (creatively)
Don’t Skip Adding New Content
Adding new content to a redeveloped website will boost SEO. It also will add professionalism and authority to your site. But the work doesn’t stop at the initial relaunch. To keep your site relevant and updated, adding fresh content on a regular basis is necessary.
The best way to keep staff on track with publishing new content is by creating – and following – an editorial calendar. Publish new blog posts weekly or monthly and push them out in social media. Every few months, add a new case study and delete an older one. Annually review evergreen content and refresh as needed. Schedule at least six months – a year is optimal – of publishing and see your SEO results rise.
Mistake: Launching a new website without the addition of any new content
Solution: Add blogs, case studies, updated product descriptions, or staff bios to the new site and update content regularly following an editorial calendar
Don’t Forget Your Keywords
This seems like a no-brainer for SEO, but a website relaunch is a time completely revisit the issue. Redetermine the key words and phrases that are most used by your customers by using web analytics tools and reports. Once your have your list, incorporate the key keywords into the site redesign by adding them as HTML page title tags and Meta description tags.
Mistake: Forgetting that keywords can change and not taking the time to revisit them
Solution: Run some simple reports, make a new list of keywords, and add them to the new site
Do Consider a Relaunch
If your company has had the same website for more than four years, it could mean that it’s time for an overhaul. Redesigning your website can have an enormous positive impact on your company’s online presence.
Ready to take the next step in boosting your business’ growth? Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.