A redesign can both improve performance and attract more traffic to your site, as well as lower it in rankings. Changes in site structure, section mapping and functional changes affect SEO optimisation. To make sure the redesign doesn’t worsen the situation and bring all your SEO efforts to naught, let’s talk about what’s important to check before releasing the new design.
So, what to check in the new version of the site?
1. Urls and redirects
When the structure of the site changes, change the addresses of pages. Even if the link has changed one character, for the search engine it is already a completely different page. The content may be the same, the buttons are the same, internal links have not changed, but the search engine perceives it as new. If it is a page that gives you traffic, for her first need to configure 301 redirect, so that search engine understands that the page is just “moved” rather than missing. When page url is changed without any redirect it can be worth a SEO problems. For automation you can use any parser to check all the links on your website, for example Integrity.
2. Extending the structure
Often, redesigns add new sections or a new language version. To maintain your ranking, it is best to create a separate subfolder on your existing site, rather than moving the new language edition to a new subdomain. In this case, the new version of the site will have its own history and at the same time the “weight” of the main resource. If you expand the site with subdomains, you will need to promote this version from scratch, and you will lose all the benefits that the main resource can provide.
3. SEO text changes
SEO texts are an important part of website optimization. It is important that such texts remain in place after the redesign. When design changes, they are often reduced or completely removed, arguing that such “canvases” no one reads. But this is far from the case, because SEO-texts contain keywords that are used to rank pages. SEO texts should not be shortened, split into several and placed blocks of the same text on different pages – the material should be kept in full size on the pages. It is also important to know where you have placed your SEO texts on the page.
4. Meta data
If you had well optimized meta titles and descriptions it’s strongly necessary to save it in the new version of website. If you never worked on it, than you should. Meta title and description are the most important elements in internal SEO optimisation. You easily can find a manual how to fill it perfectly.
5. Loading speed
The new design, or rather its components, can affect the loading speed. You can check how the site loads by yourself or by using tools such as those from Google.
Manually – load the site first on the desktop and then on the mobile version and click on a few links. This option allows you to go through the user journey yourself and determine the usability of the new site.
When manually checking the mobile version of the site, it’s important to pay attention to:
- the size of the buttons,
- usability of the interface,
- readability of fonts,
- how easy the customer’s path is, whether they have to take many steps to complete the targeted action. The harder it is for a person to get to a purchase, the lower the conversion rate.
6. Mobile friendly
Check how good is your website displayed on different devices. It’s possible to check directly in Google Chrome or with specialized online services.
Always remember that the higher the performance is the most important. More important that the beauty. But it’s unrealistic to achieve a 100% loading speed. It is important to keep a balance between design and speed. Additionally check the mobile version in Google Search Console tool. It will report on how mobile-friendly your site is.
For a redesign to work properly, it’s important to check key metrics before release, to make sure all pages open, linking works, and SEO copy stays in place. These are the factors that will help you stay ranked and keep your traffic flowing.