Website Redesign: Dont Forget SEO and Perform a Site Audit
When it comes to redesigning your website, form and function are a must.
Functionality comes before looks on your website. If people can’t find your website via search, and if they can’t intuitively navigate through your site’s pages and easily understand what information those pages contain, your site will not matter.
Redesigning your website isn’t just an exercise in aesthetics. Looks for your website is very important, but a great website redesign also requires you to improve what people can’t see.
When redesigning your website it is important to take search engine optimization into account. While the way we think about SEO is always evolving – with the focus now shifting toward optimizing content for the searchers themselves, as opposed to for the search engines – it’s still something you can’t afford to overlook.
Not thinking about SEO from the start
Website redesign requires more than aesthetics. To ensure your new website will truly resonate with your target audience you need search engine optimization (SEO) to be ingrained in your design strategy from the very beginning.
For many online shoppers, their research about products begins by using search engine optimization. People want to be able to easily find free advice and information about products and other services online.
Search engine optimization will help consumers find your website in the beginning of their research. “Businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages (HubSpot Lead Generation Lessons from 4,000 Businesses, 2011).”
The biggest SEO mistake you can make during a website redesign is to not think about SEO from the beginning. If you don’t have SEO in mind from the initial strategy session, you’re going to lose what you have built.
Search engine optimization helps people find your website. If you build a website that people can’t find it serves no purpose. Integrate SEO in the beginning so people are able to find your website that you worked hard to build.
If you do not integrate SEO in the beginning, it can cost the company more time and money redoing design and coding.
Not doing an audit of your existing site.
In the beginning stages of redesigning your website, examine what is working and what isn’t for your website. Whenever doing a website redesign, it is important to reassess the purpose of each page. If you don’t learn anything from the page, neither will your viewers.
“86% of consumers stated that using search engine allowed them to learn something new or important that helped him/her increase his/her knowledge. (Pew Research Center, Search Engine Use 2012).”
Some key metrics you may want to consider when auditing your site are:
Number of visits/visitors/unique visitors (monthly average)
Top performing keywords (in terms of rank, traffic, and lead generation)
Number of inbound linking domains
Total number of pages indexed
Total number of pages that receive traffic.
Building out a navigation map that takes SEO into consideration will save you a lot of time and frustration throughout your website redesign.
Important elements of a website redesign oftentimes get pushed to the side when time frames are constrained. One of the most important components of a new design project is to take time at the beginning to analyze current traffic to ensure current visitors are not lost.
Review which pages on your website have incoming links, which have the best page-rank and what keywords on your pages drive traffic and conversions. Communicate with your website redevelopment team and make sure important pages are not removed or deleted with the new layout.
Do not overlook this crucial step when redesigning your website.