Whilst a website redesign may mainly be in order to have a better looking website with new elements to it and so on; you’ve got to remember about the background elements too.
The background elements are what will actually assist people in finding your newly improved website. Without considering the background elements, there’s no point in improving the foreground elements as people won’t be able to find you. Do not forget that there are technical aspects to a website redesign, too, and that these aspects cannot afford to be missed out.
The background elements are what will actually assist people in finding your newly improved website
Search engine optimisation is website optimisation put into place in hopes of improving search engine rankings. Improving search engine rankings simply means that you optimise your website to include keywords and SEO friendly phrases that match up to searches that your audience and/or potential audience uses. Search engine optimisation, essentially, enables your website to be seen more.
However, mistakes can be made during search engine optimisation. Here are some to avoid during your website redesign…
Mistake 1: Not thinking about it from the start
It’s easy to only focus on the actual redesign and making your website look nice, but it won’t do you any good only focussing on this from the beginning. From the very start, you must focus on SEO keywords being integrated into your website.
You need to ensure your website is as discoverable as it can possibly be
When it comes to starting your redesign project, even when planning it, you need to have SEO in mind. If you forget to think about SEO from the very beginning, the work you do to your website will go to waste. You will have spent so much time building and/or rebuilding your website, without integrating any SEO friendly keywords in. It’s essential to integrate these keywords as without them your website isn’t going to be as accessible as it should be.
Think about it this way - when you’re baking a cake, you get all the ingredients before you even begin. You get all the decorations necessary to finish it off. Well, a website redesign is similar. SEO friendly keywords may be the icing and decorations to finish off the website, but you don’t start baking a cake without them. It’s necessary to have everything you need for a website redesign, before you begin the actual redesign.
Forgetting to think about SEO from the beginning can lead to a much less effective impact
Mistake 2: Not doing an audit of your current site
Even though you’re planning on redesigning your whole website, it will be beneficial to do an audit on your current site. There may be elements that work extremely well on the current website that you can keep; but without performing an audit, you may forget these elements and remove them.
You can measure and audit specific metrics on your current site, too. These may include:
Top performing keywords
Total number of pages indexed
Total number of pages that receive traffic
Number of visits/unique visits
In terms of these metrics, you’re measuring the effectiveness of your current website and seeing what works and what doesn’t. You can then go on to improve these certain sections or pages.
Having all this collated information allows you to make more informed decisions on what is best for your website. You will have a full understanding of the results from each page and how each page performs. With this knowledge, you can further investigate what it is on each page that enables it to perform how it does. This investigation simply enables you to utilise what works on your new website; maintaining these good performance elements, surrounded by a whole new website/page redesign.
An audit simply confirms what works on your current site and what can be transferred to the redesigned site
Mistake 3: Keyword stuffing
Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing. Google can read when you’re obviously keyword stuffing, and your rankings can be affected massively through the use of this outdated approach. Google much prefers keywords that work well in a piece and are there naturally, rather than forcefully.
Keyword stuffing, essentially, is only good for lowering your ranking
Each web page really should focus on just one keyword. This keyword can then be included on that web page 1-3 times within the copy, but so it still reads naturally and doesn’t seem suspicious to readers. You need to also make sure that the keyword is included in your page title, meta description and H1 text.
Keyword stuffing is most probably one of the worst things you can do in terms of search engine optimisation. All it will achieve is your ranking on Google decreasing; which further leads to less and less people finding and seeing your website.
Mistake 4: Not setting up 301 redirects
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. Whether you’re changing domain names, restructuring your URLs or consolidating content in your website redesign - setting up 301 redirects is vital to ensuring any SEO from your old URLs gets transferred to your new URLs.
If you fail to set up 301 redirects for pages you move or delete can result in a decline in rankings. Alongside this, it can cause a great deal of 404 (Page not Found) error messages for your visitors. These error messages can deter visitors from revisiting or continuing to browse.
Failing to set up 301 redirects will lower your ranking
Over time web pages build up SEO value. Getting rid of certain web pages can have completely negative results as you will automatically lose all of your SEO history and the rankings that came with it. Even if you want to get rid of that certain page, a 301 redirect will enable search engines to find the new page - but the SEO on the old page will remain the same. This means that all the SEO that has previously worked, will still work!
Mistake 5: Failing to consider your URL structure
Search engines actually prefer URLs that make it very easy to understand what the web page is about. Your URLs need to be easily decipherable and easy for search engines, such as Google, to read. Alongside this, it’s always beneficial to include relevant and researched keywords within your URL, as your URLs will actually play a large role in your SEO.
Make sure your URLs are easy to read and understand
There’s one general rule when creating your URLs: use dashes between words. Dashes are recognised as separators, so search engines automatically separate all the words within your URL. This is necessary as it means your URL will appear when people search a single word that’s used within it, as well as appearing if they search for a group of words that’s used in the URL.
Use dashes, not underscores
Mistake 6: Leaving suspicious backlinks
Getting backlinks from trusted websites is one of the best ways to boost your ranking in search engines. However, backlinks from suspicious websites can have seriously negative consequences. If Google suspects spammy and low quality sites linking to your site, your rankings will more than likely suffer - known as negative SEO.
Backlinks from trusted websites automatically improve your ranking
When redesigning your website, it’s a perfect opportunity to investigate your backlinks and remove any that are suspicious or spammy. Links that could be seen as suspicious or spammy are ones that are from unrelated sources, micro-sites, false sources and more. It’s important to eliminate any links that fall under these categories as it will negatively affect your rankings and SEO value.
Mistake 7: Not implementing a responsive design
Not all of your website users are going to look at your website on a desktop. This is why it’s extremely important to ensure that your site is responsive for all devices. Being responsive for all devices simply guarantees that your website and each individual web page displays the same information in the same way no matter which device your website visitor is using. In fact, the only thing that changes is the styling - controlled by CSS.
A responsive design makes it much easier for search engines to crawl your pages, as well as retrieve your content. Making it easier to crawl the web pages indirectly helps search engines to then index more of the content on those web pages.
A responsive design is beneficial not only to search engines, but all website visitors
Mistake 8: Not unblocking search engines from crawling your site
Often, people may block search engines from reaching their site when redesigning until it’s fully complete. If you fall under that group of people, you must remember to unblock them before your launch. Failing to unblock them will, obviously, mean your newly built website won’t show up in search engine results.
Before launching your site, it’s important you check and double check everything is ready for search engines to crawl. Search engines need to be able to find and crawl your pages to ensure people can actually visit your site.
If you block a search engine at any point, remember to unblock it so it can actually see your site
Mistake 9: Not adding analytics
If you audited your previous site before redesigning it, you can measure the analytics for the old against the new and see how the improvements have benefitted the site. Even if you chose not to audit your old site, it’s important to have analytics on your new site to see how it’s performing and what could be improved.
You can measure a multitude of metrics within an analytics tool; all of which will assist you in making informed decisions about all the aspects of your website. It’s always good to track your performance and see what elements on your website are being viewed the most or disregarded the most. Without analytics, you can’t track this.
If you don't add analytics, you can't see the performance of your website
Mistake 10: Not thinking like a human
As with every piece of content you put on the internet, you must add value to your website. Your website needs to be crafted to help your visitors and give them the best experience they could have. Ensuring visitors have good experiences supports your brand in developing a positive reputation.
You must add value to your website
Search engines nowadays want you to deliver answers, rather than results. This goes for visitors too. Visitors are wanting answers that are humanised and developed, rather than answers that are average and insubstantial. If you want to ensure to keep your answers, and whole website for that matter, humanised and natural visitors will trust you more and have confidence in you.
Even though SEO is extremely important - which has been made clear - it’s also important to remember that SEO is just a small part of your website. SEO is about getting people to your website, whereas the content on your website is about gaining the trust of these people and sharing your expertise and knowledge.
Remember to be human
A website redesign may be something you’re wanting to do, but do you know all the elements that go into a redesign?
Search engine optimisation is one of the biggest and most important elements in a website redesign. SEO enables you to improve your search engine ranking and be seen by more people. SEO involves keywords and phrases that people search to find websites similar to yours; involving effective SEO on your website is essential to be seen by these people.
There are a multitude of factors you mustn’t forget when completing your website SEO. It’s important to keep these factors in mind and ensure you complete each and every task for your website redesign.
Don’t make SEO the top of your priority list, but at the same time - do not forget about SEO.
A website redesign is an extremely big task and it’s essential you get every aspect right