Maintaining your site’s organic traffic through a redesign is an art form akin to a Michelangelo sculpture. If done incorrectly, redesigning a site can cause current keyword rankings to slip, backlinks to break, and previously generated leads to get lost somewhere in the mix.
With the stakes so high, how do you keep a website SEO friendly after a relaunch?
Website SEO Maintenance Tips
While there’s no magic formula that guarantees your site won’t lose its standing with Google, here are tips to help you maintain SEO performance and allow you to avoid a few common pitfalls along the way.
Tip #1: Consider Whether You Need a Redesign or a Refresh
If your website is still producing a significant number of leads, it makes more sense to refresh certain pages rather than to start from scratch. Though these words sound similar, a redesign vs. a refresh have different approaches and goals.
Here’s what we mean:
- A redesign is just as it sounds: it’s a restructuring of your website’s navigation, layout, graphics, images, URLs, and custom features. The purpose of a redesign is to provide you with a clean website design that’s easy for both users and search engines to navigate and engage with.
- A refresh is less of an overhaul of your site and more of a “spring cleaning” approach. So, rather than redesigning every page with new content, graphics, and features, you may choose to only optimize certain pages that have the potential to generate more leads or ones that aren’t performing as well as others.
Perhaps, through a website audit, you discover that one page is ranking for keywords that you either don’t want or terms that have nothing to do with your service/industry. You may decide to go back and update this page with relevant keywords and resources, as well as optimized meta and headers to help steer its rankings in the right direction.
If only a few pages need updating or start to lose traction on keyword rankings, the worst idea is to redesign the entire website—especially when only a fraction of the site needs your attention.
Tip #2: Monitor Your Site’s Internal Links & Redirects
If a highly linked page on your website is suddenly replaced with a page that includes little to no internal links, the page’s ranking will likely fall. The same applies to replacing a page containing pillar content with one that has minimal content.
Here’s another scenario that could affect SEO rankings: if you have internal links throughout your site, and you don’t factor these “loose ends” into the new design, your rankings will surely take a hit. That’s because when you redevelop the site’s structure/navigation, you could end up with 404 errors if proper redirects are not put into place.
In addition to checking on internal links, be sure to also conduct a backlink audit, especially if you’re changing URL structures.
Tip #3: Keep Keywords and Content Aligned
Understand which keywords each page ranks well for before creating new site content. If a page ranks high for “poppy seed muffins in Minneapolis” and the new content is all about blueberry scones in Cincinnati, you’ve effectively thrown away organic leads for that page.
It’s okay to rewrite a page’s copy with fresh, updated content, but keep those high performing keywords within the context of the narrative. Otherwise, consider creating a new page for new keywords.
The Importance of Ongoing SEO Maintenance
Redesigning a website should be a fun, strategic process for your business. However, it’s important to fully understand how a redesign will impact your current website’s performance and to take the necessary steps to ensure a seamless crossover.
And once you do launch your new site, your work still isn’t done. Staying updated on how your new site is performing and how users are entering/exiting or engaging with each page is a never ending task.
This is what we refer to as ongoing SEO maintenance. Yes, this includes blogging, landing page creation, alt tags, meta, etc. But it also means keeping an eye on what’s working, what’s not, and what needs refreshing, too.
Say, for instance, you’re trying to rank for certain keywords, but it’s not returning the type of ROI you wanted. It might be an opportunity to pivot your strategy and harness the power of long-tail keywords instead to generate the type of traffic and rankings you’re after.
SEO maintenance allows you to stay flexible and in control of your marketing strategy, so your website works toward, not against, your goals. You can monitor and keep track of your site’s performance on your own, using Google Analytics, Arhefs, or other SEO tools, or you can hire a team of marketing experts who know how to interpret this data and will help you make informed decisions about your organic and paid marketing campaigns.
At Brandography, we offer custom dashboards and other reporting capabilities to help you stay in control of your ad campaigns and marketing spend. To learn how we can help, contact us today for a consultation.
Whether you need a website redesign or refresh, we’ll help you ensure it’s optimized and working properly, so you don’t risk losing the rankings you’ve earned over the years.