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How to Maintain Your SEO Ranking During a Website Redesign

Are you about to embark on a total website redesign?

There are good reasons for doing so. 75% of people judge a business by their website, so you need to ensure yours looks sharp.

And considering you have 0.2 seconds to make that all-important first impression, you can’t afford to have less than a phenomenal site.

The question is: How can you keep your high SEO ranking during the redesign process? Here are 5 tips that will help.

1. Don’t Work on a Live Site

Whatever you do, never make changes to your website while it’s live!

It’s sure to be a long process requiring many changes, and your SEO will take a major hit if Google is trying to catalog everything.

Your best bet is to keep the original site live at a temporary web address that can’t be accessed by a web crawler. Then you can set up the new site on a separate domain and swap it with the original when it’s ready to launch.

2. Preserve What You Can

Change can be good, but too much change can leave your customers confused and your SEO hurting.

Wherever possible, try to match the structure of your new site to the old one. If you can avoid changing the URLs and page names, even better.

And if you already have great content that’s ranking well, don’t fix what’s not broken. Migrate as much existing content as you can, remembering that you can always tweak it later once it’s indexed.

3. Use a Crawler (And Save That Data)

Even if you set up a temporary URL, crawl all the data from the old site. Save a sitemap of the original site as a text file so you can access it later if necessary.

After you’ve finished designing the new site, crawl it and compare the structure to your original site.

4. Use 301s and 404s

We don’t have time for a detailed explanation of 301 and 404 pages, but here’s a quick rundown.

301 redirects tell search engines that a page name has changed (and makes it possible for visitors to find it). You need to set up a 301 redirect for every page on your old website.

If you’re deleting some pages or have links that won’t work anymore, you should create a good 404 page. This helps both visitors and search engines find their way to a relevant page on your new site.

5. Update Your Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the most powerful weapons in your SEO arsenal.

When you redesign your site, you need to contact the owners of your strongest backlinks (or all of them, ideally). Ask if they can update their links so they’ll point to the correct page on your new website.

Whenever it’s not possible, make sure the pages containing your accumulated backlinks have 301 redirects.

Do You Need Help with Website Redesign?

A website redesign can be an exciting project and a big boost for your business—if it’s done correctly.

Don’t risk losing that SEO ranking you worked so hard to attain. Use the tips listed above to ensure your new website launches with the same excellent SEO it had before.

What if all this SEO talk has left you scratching your head? Don’t worry—help is available!

Contact us today to learn more about our professional SEO services.

How can I get started with SEO?

The best way to get started, is to find out where you are now.

If you’re ready to find out how you are ranking online, click below to get started with a free SEO Analysis.

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