How to Maintain SEO Rankings During a Site Redesign: Checklist
How Does a Website Redesign Impact SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, at its most fundamental definition, the organization of information on your website. When you launched your website, you might have had some of that structure in place. But as your business grows and develops over time, so should your website. So even if you’ve started out with some good site optimization, there is a good chance your web pages are due for a design overhaul.
When redesigning a website, some of the common concerns are branding and cohesiveness across mediums, but SEO is really what you should be most concerned with. Your audience will quickly adapt to new branding and design, but you don’t want to lose visibility in the search.
How to Maintain SEO Rankings During a Website Redesign
To make sure you’ll preserve or even boost SEO rankings when redesigning your website, there are 2 main actions you can take: content pruning and page redirects.
Every website has pages that get little to no traffic, let alone backlinks. These are huge indicators that your SEO on those pages is lacking. Identify these pages and remove them.
Pruning low-performing pages is a healthy practice for your website, even if you’re not relaunching it. It can be included in the ongoing processes of content optimization. If you’re not familiar with it, you can catch up with our content optimization guide.
In the case of pages that do have some SEO value – small but steady amounts of traffic, internal links, etc. – consolidation is the name of the game.
If the information you have on those pages is important and valuable to your readers, but not organized properly, a redesign should include the consolidation and reorganization of that information. This is done by utilizing 301 Redirects.
When you delete a page or post from your site, that URL is still out there in the world from when you’ve shared it to social media or your email list – it’s still possible for people to click on it. If you simply delete the post, they will land on an error page, and likely won’t take any other action. When you use a 301 redirect, it lands that traffic on a different, yet similar, page on your site.
When you are consolidating several posts into one, each one of those original URLs should redirect to the new post – that way users are still getting the answers they need and more.
However, you have to be careful with content pruning and redirecting. Make sure you don’t delete pages if you have links pointing to them – this will cause 404 errors.
Technical optimization is a #1 priority as we’ve mentioned in your SaaS SEO strategy, along with other necessary steps for a high-performing website.
Site Redesign SEO Checklist
- Determine which pages need to be pruned or consolidated based on traffic and backlinks.
- Consolidate pages into an optimized site structure.
- Build redirects for each of the consolidated pages.
- Double-check your redirects for chains or broken links.
We’ve also pointed out how important it is to preserve and redirect old pages that are getting traffic or are linked to other pages of your website in our list of 7 most common website issues we discover in our SEO audits. You can use that list to build a personalized checklist specifically for your website.
Continue reading more on our SEO blog.