10 SEO considerations for website redesign

Website redesigns carry a significant level of risk to existing organic rankings and revenue. If the website redesign is not built in an SEO friendly manner, the new website can experience a dramatic drop in rankings and site traffic. You can reduce the risk associated with a website redesign by taking these key factors into consideration:

1. Preserve Your Link Inventory

– understand where your important/relevant links are coming from. Have these sites update their links to point to your new site pages and reclaim your inbound links.

2. Page Size is Important

– too little text or too much text can negatively affect how the search engine perceives the page’s relevance. Consider your customer first, and make sure you provide them with the content they need. Ask yourself ‘what is the purpose of this web page, why would people come to it, what do they want to do when they get here, what to do we want them to do, and how do we make it easy for them to do it?’

3. Content is King

–when it comes to search engines and their ability to crawl, index and rank websites, content is what they are looking for. Optimize your content for your key phrases.

4. Update Your Sitemaps

– this includes your standard HTML sitemap to help customers navigate a large website, as well as an XML sitemap to help the search engine spiders crawl your site.

5. Make Effective use of Text Navigation and Keyword-Rich Text Links

– interlinking of your site pages can ensure that both search engines and human visitors are able to access all of your important site content.

6. Optimize for Blended Search

– optimize your images, video, press releases and blog(s) for blended search. This is something that should be ongoing but can be easily accomplished when completing a website redesign.

7. Map Out Your Site Hierarchy / URL Structure

– how you serve up your site’s content can have a dramatic effect on your search engine rankings. Determine if you should use a sub-domain vs. sub-folder strategy as you redesign your website.

8. Test Design Changes

– set up a test environment to test everything from home page mockups to site navigation, and other on-page optimization factors.

9. Make Use of 301 Redirects

– if you need to redirect any of your old content to the new site be sure to use 301 (permanent) redirection.

10. Dynamic vs. Static URLs

– HTML was once considered the most acceptable language to search engine spiders for being straightforward and the easiest coding language to read and index. Search engines tended to give preference in rankings to static-appearing sites, which, for dynamic sites, was accomplished by rewriting URLs to change dynamic pages to appear as static, or actually coding an entire site in HTML. But search engines have made progress! While it is still advisable to use static content with static URLs as much as possible as they can have a slight advantage in terms of click through rates, the decision to use dynamic URLs does not necessarily mean a disadvantage in terms of indexing and ranking.

TIP: Follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

to allow Google to find, index, and rank your site and mitigate the risk of losing rankings in Google:
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769

For these and more tips on SEO for Website Redesign, download our FREE eBook SEO for Website Redesigns now. Included in the eBook:

• 4 Stages of Website Redesign
• 8 Mistakes to Avoid when Redesigning your Website
• Website Redesign Cheat Sheet
• Website Redesign Checklist