How Important Is SEO to Your Website Redesign?

- November 24, 2015

You’re taking the plunge and redesigning your website. Nothing’s going to deter you from staying on track – and schedule – especially all that buzz you keep hearing about SEO. SEO can wait, you need to get your mockups complete, your CMS setup, and your website live. Not so fast… what you may not realize is that the time SEO will take now is a fraction of the time, resources, and money it may cost later, if you wait until after launch to take it seriously. How important is SEO to your website redesign? It’s essential.

When redesigning a website a lot of elements can be in flux, including:

  • Website navigation and information architecture
  • URL structure
  • Images and content
  • CMS / platform
  • And more!

Would it surprise you to learn that each of these items can be SEO-friendly, neutral, or downright disruptive to your SEO goals, if you’re not mindful of best practices and having a clear SEO strategy as part of your redesign?

  • Navigation: Search engines understand the themes and relationships between pages in part based on your internal linking structure and nothing is more prominent in that regard than your navigation. Navigation that is not hierarchical and well-organized, that isn’t crawlable, and/or that is inconsistently deployed throughout a website can be problematic for your site’s organic rankings. Incorporate SEO considerations from the very beginning of your website planning to ensure you have the proper foundation in place.
  • URLs: The web addresses of your pages tell people and search engines quite a bit about the content and themes they should expect to find there. Your URLs should be written in a descriptive (without being spammy) and concise manner. If URLs will change as part of your redesign, then it’s critical you draft a page mapping plan to transfer weight from old to new URLs.
  • Content: So many websites rely on all kinds of content – from text, to videos, to images, and more. While all of these elements can be great for users and search engines, how the content is formatted and published can impact whether it’s findable in search. If done incorrectly, your content can be front and center to average human eyes, but still unreadable and invisible to search engines.
  • Platform: Crawlability of the underlying code of your website – including the CMS, cart, or platform – is also essential for success with your redesign. We often recommend vetting your platform from an SEO perspective in advance, that way you can avoid improper configuration at setup that is expensive and time consuming to fix later. If your platform is incorrectly setup, it is sometimes easier to start from scratch, rather than try to rework what you’ve put in place – and that’s never something you want to hear right after launching a new website.

Ultimately, there are a number of areas that can deeply impact your brand’s potential for SEO success if they are not addressed during a redesign. With the proper guidance you can overcome these issues and lay a solid foundation for future SEO growth, but it’s vital to employ SEO Specialists to collaborate with your redesign team through the process.

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