How often have you heard senior management make this statement?
We hate our home page, let’s redesign it! or Why doesn’t the website rank #1 in Google Search?
Everyone has an opinion about their website, but the bottom line is that it’s either performing or it’s not. A search engine’s job is to match searchers to the right search results. Your job is to make sure you get found, which you can accomplish by creating content marketing focused on topics that genuinely describe your business, services, solutions, offerings, etc.
But keep in mind that when you redesign yourÂ website, you will also impact key SEO elements: internal links and page content.
Before you redesign your website, you should understand the risk of losing organic traffic. So before we jump into the 5 crucial questions to consider before you redesign your website, you should keep in mind these 3 basic SEO rules:
- Reducing the number of internal links to a page may drop the rankings
- Never remove keywords
- Deleting a page means deleting internal links, deleting all of the content, and fundamentally changing the SEO of the site
We recommend a more strategic approach to website redesign. First, improve the content, remove or redirect problem pages, and invest in social media. Second, launch your new architecture. And finally, rewrite pages. This systematic approach will make it easier to identify any problems during roll out. Below is a recent Case Study that helps illustrate this process and make it simple to understand the benefits.
If you are considering a website redesign, remember to get advice from someone who understands SEO.
The Marketing CoPilot team is running a Content Marketing Workshop – How to use Google Analytics to redesign your website. In this Content Marketing Workshop we will provide direction on important metrics you need to consider before you agree to redesign your website.
So what are 5 crucial questions you need to consider before you redesign your website?
- What pages are we deleting?
- What URLs are we redirecting the deleted page URLs to?
- What keywords do the deleted pages get search engine referrals for and how many does each get?
- What pages will have their prominence within the site hierarchy change?
- How is the site architecture changing? Did the page go from being a main navigation tab to a sub navigation tab?
Remember, redesigning websites while maintaining their SEO requires expertise. We are here to help.
Here is a case study to illustrate how to put into practice the 3-Step Website Redesign
A 30 year-old company, had stuck to traditional marketing tactics like in person presentations. This was effective at demonstrating their product, but didn’t scale well or give them the exposure they needed to grow. Their website and social media redesign resulted in:
- 100% increase in leads
- 3X increase in web traffic
- 2X increase in referral traffic
The client’s sales team needed a way to take their offline experience and move it online so they could share their innovations and products with a much larger community and grow the business. Their existing static website wasn’t working and expensive to update.
We created tools to update the client’s website and grow their position as a thought-leader in their industry. The redesigned site and social media meant the client had better control over their website – easily create targeted content to capture leads online in new markets they never reached before. Plus, we ensured a smooth website redesign process.
Here is how the client benefitted from using the 3-Step Website Redesign Process:
Step 1: Improve the content, remove or redirect problem pages, and invest in social media
In this step it was important to create a test site.
The test, or staging site, allowed us to import all website content to a private site that nobody else can see. Once the content was imported, we were able to improve creative, including a clear conversion on the Home Page and additional Keywords. At this stage, you also need to decide which social media works for your product and target audience. For this client, we chose LinkedIn as a key source for referrals (B2B and professional) and Twitter (for reach).
Equally important was creating a user friendly website navigation across menus, widget areas, maximizing WordPress features and creating dedicated landing pages for all the product offerings. The Landing Pages were set up to capture leads targeted for the specific interests of the client’s prospects. The staging site ensured everything was working.
Step 2: Launch new architecture
This step should only take place after a thorough test of the staging site. We have a testing team in place to ensure the test site looks great across all computers, tablets, smartphones. Key to success here is to wait until a low-traffic time (check peak website traffic to be sure) and we allowed for last minute corrections to the configuration prior to making the new site live.
Step 3 – Rewrite pages
We waited 3 months post the new website launch and continued monitoring results. Once we were confident about stability of the new architecture, we created the Content Marketing calendar, complete with social media integration. The Sales Team worked closely with us to update old pages and create new ones that helped answer client questions for new services.
Register here for our workshop on March 26: How to use Google Analytics to redesign your website.
By: Chris Mores, a social media strategist. Connect with her on Twitter @cmores.