At the start of a New Year, many businesses are busy focussing upon ways to grow their busienss over the coming 12 months. In many cases, there’s marketing budgets to be used up by April and, as such, website re-designs are being commenced. One of the main things which must always be taken into account during a website re-design, however, is SEO as without the correct procedures put into place and the right aspects carried over, a top ranking website could very easily lose it’s positions within a few days of the new site going live.
To take a look at three SEO considerations when launching a website re-design, we’ve teamed up with Identify Web Design, based in Wakefield.
1. 301 Redirects
It’s all too easy to have your website re-designed in a new CMS which uses a completely different URL structure than your previous site. Whilst /page/ /page.html and /page.php may all seem to be the same URL to your standard web searcher, to a search engine they’re not and if you don’t implement 301 redirects to inform of the URL change, you are likely to see position drops within a few days. Implementing 301 redirects is simply a case of redirecting the old URLs to the new URLs, either through a plugin if it’s a WordPress site or within the .htaccess file on most other CMS systems. Never underestimate the importance of putting in place 301 redirects as if it’s overlooked, position drops are inevitable..
2. Copy Over Meta Tags
Another common cause for position drops after a new website is launched is because no one carried over meta tags and H1 tags. Without a fully optimised site, Google won’t know what your site should rank for and, as such, is likely to drop the positions you once held relatively quickly. In most instances, it’s simply a case of copying the meta tags and the like from the old site to the new, however a new site launch is often a great opportunity to carry out a quick bit of keyword research to ensure you’re still targetting the right terms as well as ensuring the on-page SEO on your site is up to standard with current best-practice approaches. The likes of Moz offer a range of great guides which can offer you assistance on this if needed!.
3. Remove That Site Block!
When in development, you’ll usually find that a site is blocked from the search engines either using a noindex, nofollow tag or within the robots.txt file, however whatever you do, ensure that this block is removed as soon as the new site goes live. It’s all too common for a block to be left in place and the business owner to be left wondering why the site is suddenly not in Google’s index. It’s a rookie mistake to leave a block in place so, whatever you do, make sure it’s not your site it happens to and take a moment to check. If in doubt, log in to Google Webmaster tools and request a fetch and crawl…if the site can’t be crawled due to a block, you’ll be told!
Above all, before a new site goes live, do yourself a favour and get it checked over by an SEO professional. You won’t regret it.