Impact of Website Redesign on SEO

Consult an SEO expert before doing anything drastic to your website.

Website changes can drastically alter your search engine optimization (SEO). When your site is altered significantly, search engines can get confused because each development platform or content management system (CMS) uses slightly different source code (or nomenclature). When you adjust how pages are named, you can lose all the SEO history and equity you have put into those pages – essentially crippling your SEO and your ability to be found online – overnight.

The most common changes that can impact your site SEO are:

  • Shifting to a new domain name
  • Switching to a different CMS (Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, Expression Engine, etc.)
  • Changing development platforms (Wix, Squarespace, etc.)
  • Conducting a major redesign with all new content
  • Moving to a new web hosting company

If you’re going to change your website, you need an SEO plan.

Any significant site changes require a strategic SEO plan. The more elaborate your site, the more intricate the plan will need to be. You can’t just copy and paste content and expect everything to fall back into place. Moving to a new CMS, for example, is much like moving to a new office space. It seems pretty simple until you realize you need to cancel all your old utilities, set up new ones, pack, move, unpack, clean, and on and on. And no matter how much you prepare and plan, something unexpected is sure to pop up.

Before you go through a website transformation, consider how the change will impact these four areas

  1. SEO Ranking
    No one wants to throw their SEO investment down the drain. You need to know how you are going to save your on-page optimization efforts and notify search engines of your alterations.
  2. URLs
    One of the biggest problems when making adjustments is the impact it may have on your internal and external links. You will need to update your links in AdWords and within any referring sites. Internally, it’s good to use a crawler (either free or paid) to help you create a sitemap of current URLs (and those within any subdomains). Once you know what you have, you can generate a new sitemap that accounts for all your changes. This new map will be extremely helpful when you strategize the 301 redirects you will need to preserve all that valuable SEO site work.
  3. Custom Features
    Things don’t always work from one platform or CMS to the next. Any money you invested on custom features may be lost. If something can’t be salvaged, expect to dish out more dollars to have it reprogrammed.
  4. Responsiveness
    One CMS may be slower than another, or it may not be as mobile-friendly. Remember that search engines take your site’s responsiveness into account when establishing your ranking.

Talk to an expert.

Make sure that you consult an SEO expert before doing anything drastic to your site. With a proper migration plan in place, you can avoid losing years and years of SEO efforts. If you are contemplating some changes, contact us at Conveyance today. We can help you determine what changes are really necessary and then seamlessly guide you through them. We’ll turn that frightening situation into a reassuring, encouraging one.

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