Think your website needs a little makeover and want to redesign it?
When you redesign a website, the changes you make will affect the code and pages. You will have to make sure that you redesign your website correctly to avoid losing your SEO.
Follow our web agency‘s expert advice to make sure that your site redesign doesn’t negatively impact your search rankings.
1 – Save a list of your website pages
When redesigning your website, some of your pages will most likely be deleted while new ones are created. As a result, you will change the structure of your website’s URLs. These URL changes can impact your search rankings.
If you don’t want to negatively influence your ranking, you will first have to save a list of the pages on your website by downloading the list of URLs from your website.
This sitemap will allow Google’s robots to analyze all of your pages so that they can be indexed during your redesign.
2 – Use a temporary URL
You should never redesign on your current website. A website redesign requires many changes that generate some bugs and errors, which could cause serious problems for the SEO of your website and also for the user experience.
Avoid these issues by creating a new space on your server to host a copy of your website. Only you and your employees should have access to this copy of the site since it will be under construction while Internet users will still be able to browse your current site.
Following this, you can start redesigning your website.
3 – Block the indexation of your pages
When redesigning a website, it is of course important to prevent the pages in production from being indexed by Google and therefore potentially attracting Internet users to a site that is not fully developed. Since you are working on a copy of your site, you will potentially be reusing existing content, making content changes, etc. Therefore, you must not create duplicate content by making your project public.
This requires you to access the robots.txt file. This is a file that is located at the root of the website and is accessible if a robot (like Google’s) decides to visit it. Normally, this is the first file that robots visit since it is supposed to give them all the information they need when analyzing your website. It lets you choose which page of your website to index on search engines. Then you have to implant the “noindex” meta tag. This tag will instruct robots not to index the page on your website.
4 – Test your new website
Once you have created a backup of your website on your private server, you will need to ensure that the copy is functional before you start redesigning.
During this check, examine the different pages of your website, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), various features, broken links (404), etc.
There are several tools that can be used to repair broken links on your website, including:
- Xenu, a free downloadable software;
- Google Search Console, a free tool from the Google suite;
- or Broken Link Checker, a WordPress extension.
This ensures that the copy was successful.
5 – Create 301 redirections
The next step will be to set up 301 redirections. What is a 301 redirect? Also known as permanent redirection, 301 redirection tells search engines that some content has been permanently moved to a new URL.
This 301 redirection allows you to move page X of your site and its content to a new page Y permanently. The history of page X will be moved to page Y, so you won’t lose the work from your SEO efforts. This will redirect visitors and search engine robots to the appropriate URL on the Y page.
If you neglect this step when redesigning your website, you risk creating 404 errors and reducing your site’s visibility on search engines.
6 – Index your website
Now that your new website is online, you need to authorize Google to index it again so that it can be ranked on the search engine. As with the previous steps, this one is essential! If you forget to change these tags, all the SEO work will be lost since your site will not be indexed on Google.
You can then check the indexing status of your website using the Google Search Console. You can do this in the “Index” section à “Coverage”. This will show you how many pages Google has indexed over a certain period of time.
7 – Use Google Search Console
Next, you can use the Google Search Console again to make sure everything went smoothly. Use this tool to check if your site contains broken URLs, 404 errors or other malfunctions that could affect the user experience and your SEO.
8 – Structure your website
Finally, you need to optimize your website structure, which will probably have changed as a result of this redesign. Hierarchical content will make it easier for search engines to analyze your site.
You can do this with the sitemap.xml file, which is a sitemap that contains all the URLs of a site.
9 – Periodically analyze the progress of your SEO strategy
You have now successfully launched your new website, but you can’t rest on your laurels! After a website redesign, you need to monitor your SEO to optimize your strategy.
There are many tools available to help you track the progress of your SEO, including:
You can now start redesigning your website
In this article, our Web agency experts have presented you with the simplest possible steps to follow when redesigning a website to avoid negatively impacting your SEO.
However, this task can be difficult and overlooking a simple detail could severely affect your SEO. If you need help redesigning your website, don’t hesitate to contact us and our teams of web developers and SEO experts will be happy to help you.
You can also take a look at our portfolio to give you an idea of our web development and design expertise!