Mistakes are a part of life. It’s a fact. Like that time I got dressed in the dark and went to work with one blue sock and one black sock. Yep, mistake. They happen, but they don’t need to be a part of your website redesign experience. Especially SEO mistakes.
Website redesigns are about more than just making it look good. Sure, having a fast, responsive site that’s rocking the latest trends is great. But you know what matters more? Providing the right information to your visitor where and when they want it. You can’t do that if they can’t find you.
The decision to re-evaluate and ultimately redesign your website is not a trivial one. There are a lot of aspects to consider and sometimes things can be overlooked. It’s easy to spot when the wrong colour is used, there’s a typo in a headline, or a function doesn’t work. But what about when it comes to the search engine optimization (SEO) of your site? Do you know what happens under the hood? Could you spot it, if something was missed?
You don’t want to spend the time and energy, not to mention money on a redesign only to have your site disappear or fall in search rankings. Search is often the biggest driver of traffic to a website and to lose it could mean that your business takes a hit.
So how do you make sure you’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s? We’ve put together a guide and checklist of the most common SEO mistakes people make when undergoing a website redesign.
Not Thinking About SEO from the Start
It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and excitement of seeing a new look for your site and to assume that SEO is something that will get shoehorned in after the initial build, just before you launch. The truth, is that you need to be thinking about this aspect of your redesign beginning, middle, and end. SEO touches all things from images and filenames, to links and the words on your screen.
Failing to Identify Commonly Searched Keywords
Sure, you might call your product a Whatzit but everyone on the street refers to it as a Whozit. Which words will you use on your site? Failing to identify what words people are actually searching vs. how you want to be referenced can mean missing out on potential traffic and customers. A good copywriter will be able to find a way to make everyone happy.
Not Setting Up 301 Redirects
If you moved house, you wouldn’t expect the phone company to automatically know to send your bill to Maple St. instead of Pine St. would you? You have to leave a forwarding address with the post office to let everyone know. The same is true when you move or rename pages on your site. Setting up a 301 redirect to point to your new page keeps the search traffic coming in instead of ending up at a dead end
Not Using Responsive Design
Your site is done and it looks like a million bucks on your 21” display. You want to show a friend while you’re out having coffee so you pull out your phone but what’s this? The site doesn’t look right at all. *womp*womp* Your site might be new but it’s not responsive. Not only will this annoy visitors but Google penalizes sites that aren’t mobile-friendly.
Failing to Think Like a Human!
While it’s important to keep Google in mind, you have to remember that, ultimately, you’re writing and designing for humans and if it doesn’t work for them, it won’t work for Google either.
Interested in learning more? Our eBook provides a more in-depth look at these issues and more, and features tips and tricks from marketers who have dealt with redesigns in the past.