SEO Considerations to Incorporate During a Website Redesign
Your website redesign can have a real impact on the ability to rank well in search engines. When redesigning, you must think about all the ways your design could limit your SEO performance. Likewise, certain ranking efforts must be made during the design planning process to ensure the best search engine optimization for your website.
Take a look below at some ranking factors that matter during a website redesign.
Make your Website Redesign Google-Friendly
More than anything, you want to please Google, and that means falling in line with what being a Google-friendly website means. One of the key points is ease of accessibility, which means making your website easy to crawl for Google. The starting point for this is making your website design responsive by Google’s standards. This will allow you to be crawl-friendly on mobile too.
The content guidelines provide even more insight on what Google wants from a web design perspective. Google suggests that you use a text-only browser to see how the crawl bot might perceive your pages. The Fetch as Google tool is another method for figuring out how crawlable your website really is in Google’s eyes.
Pay close attention to what Google does not want. Within the content guidelines, you will find many examples of that. For example, you should avoid iFrames completely unless you include “text-based links to the content they display.”
Once your website is 100 percent crawl-friendly, what’s next?
Improving Page Load Speed with your Website Redesign
Now you need to tackle the page load speed. You do this because Google’s crawl bot will read your site’s data better if there’s less junk in the way. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Tools to test your website’s page load speed performance. Make sure to also do this on any pages where the design is different — such as if you have a separate template for your blog section.
You can learn a lot through the PageSpeed Insights tool. It checks for many website performance factors, including:
- Landing page redirects, which you should avoid.
- Compression, which you should enable.
- Your CSS, HTML and JS, which you should minify.
- Your browser caching, which you should leverage.
- Render blocking, which you should not do.
- Your images, which should be size-optimized.
- Above-the-fold content, which should be first priority.
- Server response time, which should be below 200ms.
Be Responsible With Mobile SEO in your Website Redesign
The PageSpeed Insights tool also gives a display of your website rendered on a mobile device. This is helpful, but Google is truly in a mobile-first world now. It is how search results show — so your website should be mobile-optimized to the fullest. You can use an external rendering tool to view your website from other mobile devices. MobileTest.me is one such tool, and it does not require you to sign up or pay.
Another thing to consider is whether your website will have a mobile version (dynamic serving), if it’s your desktop site with a responsive design, or if there will be a separate URL. The best course of action is to create a responsive web design for your website — this is now pretty standard in the web design and development worlds.
Now take all the advice about site crawling, and apply it to the mobile site. Make sure your pages render the right content based on the device and screen size. Test it with various smartphones, tablets, etc., to ensure the design is optimal. Check out Moz.com’s mobile SEO guide for more advanced tips on optimizing for SEO when doing a mobile site design.
Website Redesign Can Greatly Improve SEO and Search Rankings
Redesigning your site can be quite a pain, but it’s all to make the visitors happy. The rewards can be substantial — so long as you do not destroy your strong rankings in Google search results in the process. Be careful, see it as a blank slate, and follow Google’s current expectations to succeed.