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SEO Strategy During a Website Redesign or Migration

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Site Traffic | Posted on 16-07-2015

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If you’re thinking about redesigning your website or moving it to a new domain it’s vital that you take the time to consider how that’s going to affect your search ranking. It’s possible that you will lose a significant amount of your traffic if you don’t migrate your website properly. Learn the steps that you should take to keep everything running smoothly and to preserve the life of your site.

Protect Individual Pages

The first thing that you have to do is take the time to list out all your website URL’s so that you can ensure that you’re redirecting each one of the pages properly. Even if you aren’t moving your site to a new domain, it’s possible you will be changing the URL of individual pages of your website. Any page that is going to move to a new domain and get a URL change has to be redirected using a permanent 301 redirect.

Redirecting your website in this way will help you avoid losing any traffic from individual page search rankings. It will also help preserve the overall SEO integrity of your new site. You can use a tool such as Screaming Frog to get all the URLs on your current website so that you can make sure every single page you have is being accounted for.

Make Sure Google Knows What is Going on

If you’re planning on making a dramatic change like switching to a new domain name on your website, it’s important to let Google know something is coming. Go into Google Webmaster Tools and submit a sitemap for your new website. This gives them a heads up so that your new content will be indexed faster and so you don’t have to worry about waiting for weeks or months for Google to finally crawl your website before you start getting your old traffic coming to your new website.

Reclaim Backlinks

One area that many website owners don’t really think about damage being done with a website change is all the lost backlinks. When you have links heading back to your website, those links are pointing to pages that may no longer be there. Even with the 301 redirects in place you don’t want links pointing to your old webpages anymore. Use a link auditing service to figure out which backlinks you have going to your website and which ones are the most important. It’s important to start changing any of the links that you have control over to your new website, and start sending requests for changes to all the webmasters in charge of the rest. This process can be very time consuming, and you’ll likely lose some of your links in the move, but it’s important to preserve as many of them as you can to protect your SEO rankings.

Audit Your Site before Making Changes

Conduct a full SEO audit on your old website and see which things are good about it and what are bad. Taking the time to evaluate your old site will help you understand what changes you should make to improve your SEO results even more. Look at the things on the list below and change everything that you can to improve the new site.

  • Look for missing H1 tags
  • Searching for missing page titles
  • Try and spot duplicate H1 tags
  • Make sure there is an XML sitemap
  • Check the site speed for improvements
  • Check for duplicate and missing meta descriptions
  • Look for image alt text
  • Check that there is a Robots.txt
  • Search around for any duplicate content on your site
  • Look to see if there is a good URL structure
  • Check for canonical tags

Look through all those factors and make note of any changes that should be made to the site. It’s easier to make many of these changes when you’re first building a website. Take this opportunity to make improvements and you’ll likely see a boost in your site rankings pretty soon rather than the slap you’re probably worrying about.

Back it all Up and Tie up the Loose Ends

Before you make a complete migration make sure that you are backing up all your website data. You don’t want to lose any posts or page content that you have. You also probably don’t want to lose theme information, pictures or anything else on your old website. Back it all up using cloud storage or an external drive and you’ll have the information in case you ever need it. Even if you don’t end up using it, it’s still good to have a backup just in case.

Finally you should look through your new website for any broken links. That means both backlinks and internal links. When you move pages you’re likely to corrupt at least a few links no matter how careful you are. Monitor your organic search traffic carefully after you make the switch to see if it’s negatively affecting your rankings, and also work hard to get all your pages indexed over time.

Do all of these things and you should be just fine with your next website move. It all probably sounds like a lot of work, and that’s because it is, but the work will pay off for you by helping to preserve your search rankings and your traffic.

Avasoft Solutions offers web design, search engine optimization, social media optimization, and pay per click advertising. Contact us today!

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