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Don't Forget Organic Search When Considering Redesign

Kristen Fowler Lindsey - Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I came across this great article this morning about SEO and Web Redesigns and it made me think about the redesign projects we have been involved with over the past few years. The article is about the importance of communicating with your online marketing team and making sure they are involved in any redesign process.

Why? It seems like you are including more people, which can slow down the project, you might think. But many companies we work with have invested time and resources into developing strong organic search traffic with SEO, and it is so very easy to lose this asset very quickly when a new site goes up without SEO considered.

Some tips for any company considering a site redesign who has good organic search rankings:
  • Ask your design company about any impact on search. If they seem blase about this or else do not give you a list of specific things they are going to do to maintain organic search, then consider this a red flag.
  • If you work with an SEO provider or online marketing firm, be sure to communicate with them early in the process and keep them involved. They will be an invaluable resource to make sure that all aspects of the redesign are search friendly.
  • Consider a redesign an opportunity, not a threat. In most cases we find that, as long as SEO is made a priority, organic search traffic will grow from a redesign, not shrink.
We consider the following items the minimum required actions during a redesign to maintain organic search traffic:
  • Will you have new pages names? Make sure search-friendly redirects are made from the old URLs to the new ones. Not only is it possible that people may have bookmarked those old URLs, but they will also be listed in search engines for a while. Without doing this, your listings in search engines will point to an error page.
  • Have you invested time or money in solid meta tag writing? Make sure those meta tags are ported over into the new pages by the design team. if you have a database-driven site, this can be done in a bulk action very quickly by your design team instead of manually.
  • In your new structure, are there areas of the site you do not want to have crawled? Be sure to update your robots.txt file.
  • Are you completely rewriting your content or carrying a lot of it over? make sure you review and make any updates if your target keywords have changed.
Taking these simple steps will ensure success in maintaining your search traffic with your new site. This is not only a good thing from a traffic standpoint, but from a business standpoint - it ensures that the previous investments you have made for good search exposure are maintained.

Not doing so would be like throwing money away.

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