Website redesign - Improving website usability and SEO

by Admin

07 Apr
 None    Internet Related

by Jody Nimetz

by Jody Nimetz

Every site owner and Webmaster has either contemplated or participated in a website redesign at some time in the history of their sites. Unfortunately the vast majority do not factor in the search engines and SEO when completing their website redesign. How many times have we seen people come to us after they have performed a site redesign only to see their search engine rankings tank? If I had a dollar for every time this has happened!

The question becomes why do so many site owners and Webmaster make this critical mistake when they redesign their sites? The fact is that most designers only look to bring a flashy cover with bells and whistles to a site when redesigning it, traditionally they do not even think about making the site search engine friendly. While you can make the appearance attractive and polished, the 'new look' is not necessarily going to get your site ranking well in the organic search results. More importantly a flashy site is not necessarily going to improve the site stickiness and usability of your website.

Website Redesign Points to Consider

The User - When considering a website redesign, there is one area that should be the main focus of your redesign. Your website user. Even before you think about all of the bells and whistles and even before you think about all of the SEO aspects of your redesign, you need to understand the needs of your user.

Planning - Before diving right in with wireframes and mock ups of new site pages, you need to plan your website redesign. Then plan some more. Taking your time to plan out the redesign will save you time, money and resources in the long run. When planning your site redesign you need to consider items such as:

  • The needs of your target audience
  • The hierarchy of your site content (sub-folders vs. sub-domains)
  • Your URL structure
  • The transition of your existing content to new pages / Page Redirection
  • Your current external link inventory
  • Maintaining/Transferring of your existing titles and meta data
  • Future Scalability
  • CMS Compatibility
  • A/B testing of Landing Pages / Calls to Action
  • Interlinking of Site Pages
  • Legacy Issues
  • Cost of the Website Redesign
  • Timing of the Website Redesign
  • Time it takes to complete the redesign

We could go on and on but you get the point. Planning for your website redesign is something that should be done carefully and should be done after you establish the needs for your target audience and the goals for the website itself.

5 Website Redesign Tips from an SEO Standpoint

1. Don't Implement a Site Redesign for the sake of having a redesign - Anytime you perform a redesign of your site, you run the risk of losing existing rankings in the search results. Why jeopardize your rankings if you don't have to.
2. Identify the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Existing Site - which areas does your website perform well in? Which areas need improvement?
3. Define Your SEO Needs - Do you need to improve your URL structure? Do you need to improve site navigation? Identifying your SEO needs will help with the planning on your website redesign.
4. Pay Attention to Existing Rankings - be sure that you understand which pages are currently ranking well in the search engines. You can greatly minimize the risk of a drop in rankings by understanding which site pages are performing well in the search engines.
5. Identify Your Top Referring Pages - prior to redesign your website, you should determine which site pages drive the most traffic. Of course you will want to ensure that these pages remain somewhat intact during your website redesign.

If you have determined that your site is in need of a redesign, you will want to carefully plan out your redesign. Consider the needs of your users first and the search engines second. Designers need to check their egos at the door. Think of your website as a book. The cover is not why you buy the book. You buy the book for the content that is inside. When planning a website redesign think about your user and consider the search engines. Trust us, you'll be happy you did in a few months after you launch your new site.

Copyright 2007, Enquiro Search Solutions, Inc.

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