Why Your Website Rebuild Needs An SEO Strategy In 2019

Mar 5, 2019 | Responsive Websites, SEO

Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and search engines are no exception. After all, the goal of a search engine is to provide users with the best results possible, and websites that fail to keep up with these trends will see diminished search rankings/visibility. So, when you rebuild/refresh your website to adapt to these changes how will your traffic and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) be affected? The harsh reality is that your traffic and search rankings are almost guaranteed to drop in the immediate short term. However, with the right planning and technical processes put in place via an SEO strategy, a website can largely retain and pass off search rankings to the new webpages.

Why Rebuild a Successful Website?

First, why even look at rebuilding a site that’s performing well? Success for a website can be defined in many ways, and is always subject to change depending on user trends, analytics, and available technology (for both users and website developers). Any major change in one of these variables can result in the need to rebuild a site. Just in the past 5-10 years, key advancements on the web such as:

  • Responsive Web Design
  • Mobile-First Indexing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • E-Commerce and Website Security
  • CMS Capabilities (WordPress & SquareSpace)

Have all influenced how search engines crawl & rank websites. A website’s inability to adapt will result in reduced organic visibility and traffic over time.

For example, if you have a site with a mobile sub-domain (m.Domain.com), you will run into issues with search engines crawling and indexing the mobile version of your site. This is because you would have TWO websites, one for mobile and one for non-mobile users. This would require a total rebuild on a responsive CMS, like WordPress, to become optimized for search engines.

We’re Rebuilding Our Site – What Do We Risk Losing?

Rebuilding a website will always come with risks and unique challenges. Depending on how drastic a rebuild is, a site could be looking at a total reset on search engines. Not only that, but if a website’s URL structure is being changed, all backlinks (a link from one site to yours) risk triggering a 404 and being lost. Here are the key risks to acknowledge when rebuilding a site:

  • Loss in Traffic
  • Loss in Search Rankings
  • Loss in Backlinks

These risks are unavoidable, and as a result, it’s highly recommended to create a custom 404 page during a rebuild that offers the best experience possible for users.

How to Limit SEO Losses from a Website Rebuild

SEO is a long-term digital marketing strategy, and requires a very stable and static environment to succeed. In other words, a website rebuild can be an SEO nightmare. Because of this, it’s incredibly important to recognize that there are search rankings that will be lost/decline post-website rebuild. However, certain processes exist to make sure all the SEO work is carried over to minimize losses:

-Traffic Audit. Identify the key pages that drive traffic and make sure all relevant pages and the content is migrated over. You can use tools such as Google Analytics to find this data.

-Backlink Audit. Run a backlink audit for your website with tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs, and make sure pages that have gained quality links are migrated over.

-Search Rankings Audit. Identify key search rankings using tools like Google Search Console and SEMRush. Make sure the pages ranking well on search are migrated over if the rankings are still relevant for your business’ website.

Ideally, all three of these audits are done before the website is rebuilt. This is because of key insights these audits can provide, revealing how users engage with your site and what your site is known for on search.

Need Help for Your Website Rebuild?

Not all website rebuilds are made equal. The larger site you have, the more at risk it is for losing search rankings, traffic, and backlinks post-rebuild. In some cases, this is years of work that can be compromised! It’s incredibly important you consult with an SEO Agency, like the experts here at ASTOUNDZ, or ask key questions to your website developers about migrating content before launching your site.

Additional Resources:

https://moz.com/blog/how-to-avoid-an-seo-disaster-when-changing-your-website

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/avoid-seo-disaster-website-redesign/232093/

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