The time has come to preserve your SEO if you are redesigning your website, by offering a better tree structure, add features. In short, it’s time for major work! If the idea excites you, you fear a little that your SEO is degraded by so many changes.
Do not panic, we have compiled the 5 mistakes not to commit to preserve your SEO.
# 1. Isolate your development environment
There are two kinds of developers: those who will just create a new folder at the root of the site; and those who will set up password barriers worthy of the CIA! Without falling into one or the other of these extremes, it is better still to play the precautionary card by creating the most possible gap between the old version and the new one.
And yes, because indexing is done over the years. You might well have duplicate pages, which is not good at all for your SEO! We recommend that you use a dedicated URL, even locally, to create an empty index page and disable all bots via the robot.txt file.
# 2. Do not neglect the images
First victims of the redesign, visuals are sometimes changed on the pages that perform well in SEO, causing a loss of important ranking. Two things to watch for your positions:
- The name of the images, which should not be renamed “relentlessly”
- The size, and therefore, the weight of the visuals which can considerably weigh down the page and slow down its loading speed
In both cases, these contextual elements can harm your positions. Preserve rather the names of the existing visuals, especially if they are semantically rich, and use a software allowing to compress the weight of the images, without unduly degrading the quality.
# 3. Do not delete your pages
When redesigning, the tree is often called into question. Some pages may inevitably disappear. It would be very unwise to change the URL of these pages or worse, delete them, especially if they are well positioned. The key, a 404 error for the visitor and the loss outright of your position on Google.
The right method: set up a 301 redirect, which will indicate to the engines which direction to follow to reach the new page and thus transfer its powers!
# 4. Test, test, test…
Even for a “small” site, a redesign is always a big job, which brings together different expertise, each with its prerequisites. It is essential to test each element at each stage of the recipe to ensure that you offer users an optimal, if not just operational, experience. Otherwise, your SEO will be quickly victim, rebound in support.
A small non-exhaustive list of the locking points to check:
- Contact forms
- E-commerce features
- Customer reviews
- Search tools
- Multimedia players
- Google analytics
- The conversion tracking pixels
# 5. Make a balance after the start of production
Here it is, the big moment: the setting online! Now that all components have been tested, there is one final step: the SEO diagnosis. Activate all your tools, index to Search Console and check. You will thus find a whole lot of small errors to correct without reaching, from the forgotten redirection to the uncompleted Meta. Finally, measure your positions and compare with the previous version.