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Website redesign: the SEO checklist to keep your SEO

How do I maintain my website's SEO?

Discover the best practices to adopt to maintain your natural referencing when redesigning a website.

Why do a website redesign?

To stay dynamic and competitive, redesigning a website is a mandatory step for many companies. It is a delicate operation that presents several risks around natural referencing.

How do I maintain my website's SEO
How do I maintain my website's SEO

Among the main reasons for a website redesign are:

  • a change of name or graphic identity to maintain consistency with the brand identity,
  • a change of CMS (switch from Shopify to WordPress for example),
  • a redesign of the design to adapt the site to constantly evolving web codes,
  • an improvement of the customer journey to make the user experience more pleasant,
  • a merger of content to bring together several sites,
  • a change from HTTP to HTTPS to secure a site,

Best practices to follow to maintain good SEO

Redesigning a website is a complicated operation, which can have serious SEO consequences if not managed properly. We have listed 10 essential steps to maintain good SEO during a redesign.

1. Do an SEO audit of the entire site

It is important to carry out a detailed analysis of what already exists before implementing any SEO changes. This audit makes it possible to identify the keywords and the queries which already bring traffic, the origin of this traffic or the backlinks that you have (external links present on other Internet sites and which point towards your site).

You can perform this analysis of the existing on specialized tools such as Google Analytics .

2. Define SEO objectives

To succeed in ranking in the first results of the search pages, it is necessary to establish clear and precise SEO objectives. They will make it possible to adapt the tree structure and the content of the pages of the site, so as to promote referencing according to the targeted keywords.

The steps to follow to define an SEO strategy are as follows:

  • identify targets and their purchasing journey,
  • define and produce relevant content for your targets,
  • optimize the performance of your pages.

3. Use a test server

Consider using a test server to verify all your changes before the final launch. This environment separate from the production environment allows you to test your various modifications, and to visualize the impact they represent on the site.

Keep in mind that the test site must be kept private and not indexable by Google. Once it is 100% operational, you can proceed to the final launch.

4. Adapt the tree structure to make it consistent with SEO objectives

The redesign of a website often involves some modifications in the tree structure, to improve the user experience. You can take advantage of this change to target new keywords based on your SEO goals. Remember that level 1 entries (i.e. main entries) must be based on your main keywords.

For its part, the internal mesh must cover the entire semantic field of your keywords, to optimize your referencing on all pages.

Be careful, some well positioned pages can lose a lot of traffic if they go down one level in the tree structure.

5. Anticipate redirects

In case of modification of the tree structure, it is imperative to configure the 301 redirects. They ensure the correct redirection of the old URLs to the new URLs.

This redirect also allows Google to understand that you have done a redesign of the site. The redirect links put in place must be precise for each page: redirecting to the home page of the site is not enough. The steps to properly configure all your redirects are as follows:

  • map all the pages of your site, taking into account URLs with dynamic parameters, images, already existing redirects, etc.
  • define the necessary redirects, without setting up massive redirects,
  • test all your redirects in the test server to avoid potential 404 errors.

Don't forget to update internal links as well.

6. Set up custom 404 pages

Adding 404 error pages informs users of the new web address associated with the desired page in the event of a malfunction of one of the redirect links. The purpose of this page is to help users switch pages manually if the links do not do so automatically.

You can use Search Console to spot faulty URLs and set up the correct redirects.

7. Create and send a sitemap with the new URLs

To facilitate the indexing of the new site, and its taking into account by Google, you can submit an XML sitemap (that is to say a detailed plan of your site, which lists all the pages and your tree structure). This addition can help you recover your SEO faster.

8. Monitor website display speed

Display speed is one of the elements taken into account by Google to determine the SEO of a page. Indeed, to be well referenced, a page must be able to load as quickly as possible. If you want to add media or animation to your pages, consider optimizing them so that they don't significantly increase load time.

To check the display speed, you can use the PageSpeed ​​Insights tool developed by Google. It analyzes your pages and gives them a score between 0 and 100. Optimization tips are provided to help you speed up your pages, on mobile as well as on desktop.

9. Monitor the indexing and positioning of the new website

After all these modifications, it is important to closely follow the evolution of SEO during the first weeks that follow, to be sure that the search engines have understood your approach.

To not miss anything, remember to monitor the arrival of potential 404 errors, but also the positioning of your keywords (in the event of a possible fall on certain keywords), drops in visits, robot activity, indexing of pages via Search Console as well as log monitoring.

10. Update backlinks on referring sites

To maintain consistent SEO, it is important to update as many backlinks as possible. You can contact the webmasters of sites that reference your old pages so that they can update their web pages with the new links.

My name is Duc "JOSEF" Le and I work in Digital Marketing at Mageplaza and BlogAvada. Mageplaza offers a comprehensive collection of over 230 extensions that are designed to work seamlessly with the latest versions of Magento 2 (Adobe Commerce). Meanwhile, BlogAvada is a blog that serves as a platform for sharing information related to websites, mobile apps, e-commerce, digital marketing, and other related topics. I encourage you to visit our websites to learn more about what we have to offer.

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