The reason why experienced SEO providers get paid big bucks is quite simple. They know how to make your website attractive to search engines. They devise strategies and are equipped with the know how to boost your ranking and thus your number of hits. What happens when clients get to your site is another matter but unless they discover you, they sure as heck won’t be doing business with you.
So the first point to take into account when re-designing your site is ask the designer if he or she knows about maintaining all the good things you’ve achieved through SEO to date. The website process is clear if you know what to expect.
But it’s scary what can happen
You want a makeover for your site. The designer comes up with some ideas and the new site looks fantastic. Then traffic drops off. It drops quickly, immediately and alarmingly. What’s happening? It could be that all the links on your old site have been lost. All the goodwill you’ve built up, maybe over years, is suddenly gone. This doesn’t need to happen.
And it won’t happen if you have a plan. If you are aware of the possible pitfalls and have a strategy to deal with them, you can upgrade your site and bring all your links and goodwill with you. The tactic is known as ‘crawling your site’. There is both free and paid for software to allow you to do this and the resultant report, your sitemap, is then used as your new design takes shape.
Follow the plan
Migration is all important and using the 301 Redirection Plan is the step to take. Get this wrong and the data in the new site will fool not only search engines but many of your customers. If you don’t change the URL structure and move them in full as you switch to the new site, the 301 step is not required. If you have a super large site this equates to a massive time saving. Remember that what you’re aiming for is a new look and possibly an even more intuitive site. What the client doesn’t see – the framework and code – need not necessarily change depending on the scale of changes. If you maintain the bones of the old site, your migration can be simple and successful.
The basics never change
It doesn’t matter how swish and inventive your new site becomes, the foundation of good SEO rules apply.
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Text to page ratio
- Quality content
These fundamentals must be respected and the rules of their use followed at all times. It’s another case of making all sorts of changes seen by the world but remaining true to the fundamentals when it comes to SEO structure.
Google is your friend
If you ever meet someone who can explain everything about Google in layman’s terms, stop and listen. But if you learn nothing else about SEO and Google understand this – Google can be your friend. In fact Google goes out of its way to make friends.
Ask your web developer to set up a Google Webmaster account. It’s your website’s portal to communicating with Google. Once you’ve undertaken your website redesign, inform Google about your new site. Think of Google as your friend.