A website redesign can be an exciting project - improving customer experiences, revitalizing your brand, and offering new features and functionalities. However, if not executed properly, a website redesign can destroy your SEO efforts and damage your website's search engine rankings. In this article, we will explore some of the most common website redesign mistakes that can harm your SEO, and provide tips on how to avoid them.
Why Redesign Your Website?
According to recent statistics, 94% of users cite web design as the reason they mistrust or reject a website. Moreover, 75% of users judge the credibility of a business based on the design of its website. A guide from 2002 (!) from Stanford has 10 recommendations for web credibility. It’s not new information, but it is still highly relevant.
Your site’s design is critical to your business. But revamping and redesigning your site can cause your SEO performance to take a hit.
4 Common Redesign Mistakes that Kill Your SEO
Here are some common website redesign mistakes that can negatively impact your SEO.
1. Designing without an SEO Strategy
Your website design requires a content strategy in order to properly define structured content types, This allows you to set the content hierarchy and enable content discoverability. A solid SEO strategy ensures that the appropriate content is on the page and in the code. Both together ensures that your brand owns relevant search terms and ranks highly within search engine results.
2. Skipping 301 Redirects
Failing to implement 301 redirects is one of the most common website redesign mistakes. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. When you redesign your website and migrate content, you may change URLs. Without a 301 redirect, your old URLs will result in 404 (page not found) errors. This results in both search engines and visitors experiencing a dead end, and can negatively impact both your search engine rankings and user experience.
3. Not Prioritizing Mobile Responsiveness
With more and more web traffic coming from mobile, having a mobile-optimized (or mobile-first) design is crucial both for usage and adoption as well as SEO. Google penalizes websites that are not mobile-responsive by reducing their search engine rankings.
4. Overlooking Site Speed
Site speed is a critical ranking factor, and a website redesign that fails to prioritize site speed can harm SEO. This is caused by heavy coding, non-optimized images, and inefficient content delivery systems. Slow-loading pages can lead to higher bounce rates and lower time spent on site, ultimately harming search engine rankings. Test your site speed with Google’s free PageSpeed tool.
Frequently Asked Questions About Redesigning Your Website
Q: Will a website redesign harm my existing search engine rankings?
A: A website redesign can potentially harm your existing search engine rankings if not executed properly. It's essential to prioritize SEO best practices during the redesign process to maintain and improve your rankings. There is an initial search engine drop off as Google re-indexes all pages and their content. There are then incremental lifts made as that re-indexing progresses.
Q: How can I maintain my existing search engine rankings after a website redesign?
A: To maintain your existing search engine rankings, ensure that your new website includes 301 redirects, maintains relevant content, and implements SEO best practices. Additionally, monitor your website's performance post-launch and make necessary changes to improve search engine rankings.
Q: How long does it take to see results from a website redesign?
A: The time it takes to see results from a website redesign varies depending on various factors, such as the size of the website, the level of competition in your industry, and the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Generally, it may take several months to see the full impact of a website redesign on your search engine rankings.
Protect Your Brand from an SEO Hit
We bring a comprehensive approach to content strategy, including user experience, UI development, SEO, and content development. This allows you to create the customer experience you want without risking critical web traffic. Contact us to learn how we can help you strategize, roadmap, design, and deliver your next website redesign.