Website redesign ultimately should happen with every website (key phrase here is should) at some point in time. Too often we’ve heard horror stories of companies focused solely on their beautiful brand new website they’re developing – with no clear strategy on how exactly people are going to find it.
Imagine spending tons of money on a brand new store front… You’ve focused on every single detail to make sure it’s extremely appealing on the eyes and a great experience for your customers. What happens when no one can even find you? This is the equivalent of what we’ve seen with a phenomenal site design that included many SEO errors which led to no one being able to even find the site.
Here are a few common SEO mistakes we see that you can easily avoid:
Not Starting with the End in Mind
It’s critical when implementing a new website or redesigning an existing one that SEO is a foundational element. Everything must be considered, from meta descriptions, to page and domain names, all the way to the content that lives on each page.
It’s quite common that companies develop an entire site, and then wonder why they aren’t getting the traffic they expected. This is generally the point they start running keyword tests to see where they rank, and at this point they want to take action. This can be a very costly approach as you will likely end up having to go back and redesign the structure of the site to get the keyword rankings you need. All of this can be avoided with proper planning up front.
Failing to Properly Identify Keywords
This is somewhat of a continuation of poor upfront planning, but it really does deserve a category in it’s own. Before starting the website redesign process, you should have a full understanding of who your potential clients are and what type of issues they are searching for. This needs to be a part of the overall content plan when building out your site, as well as ensuring keywords are a part of all home page titles and meta descriptions.
It’s also important to ensure that realistic keywords are selected. If you are in the IT space, it may be a bit unrealistic to have the word “laptop” as a keyword you want to rank in the top five for. A good tip is to focus on long-tail keywords that have high search frequency but low competition. Many SEO tools have a keyword analyzer, such as Google Keyword Planner or Hubspot keyword analysis.
Failing to Setup 301 Redirects
Your current website likely has some sort of credibility built up with search engines, even if it’s not great. There is also other websites that point towards your existing site (social accounts, public listings such as WhitePages). You want to make sure when you create your new site that you do not lose any of this credibility, and that you do not have broken links when people are trying to find you.
A good tip is to build an excel sheet of all the existing pages you have on your current domain. Once the new site is ready to go live, go down the list and setup 301 redirects for each one of the pages. This will create a seamless experience for people who are visiting old links on your site as they are directed to your new site without them even noticing.
The most important thing is to plan ahead before starting your site redesign. SEO is generally an afterthought, but these issues and many more can be avoided if a solid plan is in place.
For more tips, check out our free eBook on the Top 10 Common SEO Mistakes. Click below!