Website Redesign Considerations: Don’t Lose Traffic!

We’ve seen this happen time and time again when we engage with new SEO clients.  They’ve just had their website redesigned by a company unfamiliar with SEO, and launched the new site.  Next thing they know, search engine rankings have dropped or disappeared altogether and traffic has dropped significantly.

The main problems with website redesign arise from changing a website’s structure, file paths, and filenames, or from deleting old pages. If done without proper planning, a website redesign can often result in a traffic drop once you relaunch.

Often we do find it necessary to rename files and change a site’s structure — primarily for search engine optimization purposes, but sometimes to maintain better file organization on the server.

Here are a few issues that can arise…

Website Redesign Problems

1. 404 (Page not found) errors. This is going to be an issue if you’ll be shuffling content around in your redesigned website structure or changing the filenames for your pages.

For example, if your site has static HTML pages (ex. content.html) and you’re changing over to dynamic pages (ex. content.php), any links to the old pages will be broken and will result in 404 errors.

Another example of dropped pages would be pages on the old website that you no longer need for the new website. If you simply delete these pages, and don’t include them in your website redesign, anybody who tried to access these pages will get the “page not found” 404 error.

2. Lost search engine rankings. If your current website’s pages are already ranking well for various keywords, changing the locations or filenames of your pages or deleting them entirely can result in a huge drop in your search engine traffic and rankings.

3. Lost backlinks to your site. If other websites are linking to individual pages on your site, you will lose that traffic as well as the SEO benefits of those links (having backlinks to your website is an integral part of search engine optimization).

All of these issues will result in a traffic drop for your new website.

How We Ensure Your New Website Launch Is a Success

If we decide that restructuring or renaming files on your new site would benefit your business, we ensure that you don’t lose valuable visits by creating redirects on your site.

If somebody tries to access the old page location, they will automatically be redirected to the new file. These redirects also tell the search engines that your pages have moved, and point them to the locations of the new pages.

If you will be getting rid of old pages of your website, we will also redirect the deleted page locations as well.

When we launch your redesigned website, we’ll also create a custom 404 (Page not found) page that allows you to capture visitors who try to access a non-existent page on your site.

This way, you won’t lose any traffic.

Have you lost traffic and rankings due to a website redesign? Have questions about how you can recover?

Contact us today, or leave us a comment below.

– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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Insight written by lrucinski@randgroup.com

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