Design

How not to lose SEO position when redesigning a website: instructions

Any site requires periodic changes, they can be both superficial and large-scale. The latter were called redesign, they are associated with the implementation of new functions and a change in the general concept. Experts recommend redesigning at least once every 5 years, otherwise the site will become morally and technically out of date. However, a redesign may entail a deterioration in search engine rankings and other negative consequences. We show you how to redesign and avoid common problems.

When is a redesign needed?

Redesign is an important element of development and renovation, however, the need for its implementation depends on various factors, we will consider them.

  1. Competitors have already made updates. Before making a purchase, potential customers study a large number of offers. Offers may have the same price and concept, but differ in the way they are presented. The site is responsible for the latter, if it is outdated and does not inspire confidence, then customers will go to competitors without much hesitation. Before deciding to make changes, you need to assess the current design of the site, analyze the quality of its content and the availability of functions that consumers need. The characteristics of sites that have not changed for a long time are much inferior to more modern sites, so they cannot withstand the competition. If the offers of competitors are similar to yours, but their site has the best characteristics, then the choice of a potential buyer is obvious.
  2. Image resources. Image resources are in high demand for redesign, which is due to the specifics of the work. If you are selling consumer goods, then design does not perform a primary function, usability is important. For example, online stores selling household appliances, dishes or bed linen should provide clear navigation, ease of use of the site and extended information support for products. If the site belongs to a large company for which status is important, then you need to periodically redesign to meet the high standards of customers and present services / products in the best possible way.

Improving the image, preventing customers from leaving for competitors, improving the quality of the site are the main reasons why you need to redesign.

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When is a redesign not needed?

Large-scale website transformation is an expensive and risky process, so first you need to weigh the pros and cons, and devote time to analytics. You can refuse to redesign in the following cases:

Need a website redesign

  • all hopes are pinned on change. Many entrepreneurs see redesign as the cure for all ills. Today there are no sales or visitors, but after the changes the business will go up! This opinion is erroneous, because outdated design is not always the root cause of problems. When planning a redesign, make sure that it is the design that hinders development;
  • lack of an adaptive version. If the site does not have a responsive version, then it needs to be created, and not redrawn the original design;
  • low sales. The reason for low sales almost always lies not in design, but in the quality of services or products. First, you need to parse reviews, conduct surveys among customers and study the statistics of the sales funnel. For example, if customers massively abandon filled baskets and even remarketing does not return them, then the problem lies in unfavorable terms of delivery or payment, impoliteness of managers, etc. The reason for low sales should be sought through analytics; redesign will not solve it.

It must be remembered that design change is not a panacea – it is following trends and the need to adapt to a changing market.

Redesign: how to do the work correctly?

If there is still a need to change the design, then you need to start work with the analysis of competitive resources in order to obtain references. Studying is an introductory stage, it does not mean systematic copying of other people’s ideas. After collecting information, a team of web designers, analysts and marketers will create creatives and rework ideas to infuse them with unique features.

Particular attention must be paid to the structure, otherwise, after the update, the site will lose its positions in the search engines. The structure has a direct impact on the position, because each page and content posted on it are linked to the index. At the planning stage, it is recommended to involve SEO experts who will help form the correct terms of reference and prevent a deterioration in rankings. They will work with the content, develop the correct structure and advise what is best to remove and what to leave.

How to prevent the loss of positions after a redesign?

Audit before website redesign

Audit

Before starting the process of moving to a site with a new design, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive audit in order to identify and eliminate all technical errors. The most common mistakes are:

  • duplicate pages with and without www;
  • duplicate pages, supplemented with “/” and without it;
  • the correct server response is not configured, which is relevant for requests for non-existent URLs;
  • redirect from HTTP to HTTPS is not implemented;
  • adaptive layout is not implemented, which guarantees incorrect display of the site on different devices.

We have listed common problems, but there may be more. To carry out the audit, involve specialized specialists, otherwise the site will lose its position after the move.

Checking URL Compliance

The updated design requires accuracy, so the names of the pages of the new site must match the URLs that were used on the old resource. The preservation of the structure guarantees protection from deterioration of positions in the search results, and also makes the use of the new site convenient for visitors.

Preparing the redirect table

Design changes are often associated with changes to the page structure, as well as nesting. In this regard, you need to take care of transferring the page weight from the old site to the new one. Weight refers to statistics that were collected throughout the entire period of the old site’s existence. The transfer is carried out through a 301 redirect, the structure is formed using a table according to the following scheme: current URL – 301 redirect – new URL. Each page is assigned an individual cell in the table, which will help not to miss a single URL and mark the addresses from which redirection has already been configured. SEO experts work in tandem with developers to create correspondence tables that automatically update according to certain characteristics, for example, by product code.

Content and meta tags

Old content must be retained and cannot be updated or deleted. This approach will ensure the attraction of traffic for relevant queries. With meta tags, you need to do the same, if you still want to change them, then wait for the move and primary indexing, after which you can make edits.

How to hide a site or a separate page from indexing in Google and Yandex search engines?

What to do with a website redesign

What else needs to be done?

  1. Re-link by linking different pages with internal links. The presence of linking speeds up the indexing process and provides comfort for users.
  2. Check sitemap.xml for correct URL.
  3. Check the counter codes on the old and new site through Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica.
  4. During the move, check the robots.txt file and make sure that the “Disallow: /” directive is missing, otherwise the site will not be found in the search. In the same file, set the “Host” directive, which will help search bots to determine the main mirror of the site.
  5. Request reindexing by sending the sitemap.xml file to Google Search Console and Yandex.Webmaster.
  6. Check the correctness of redirects after the move.

Finally

After moving the site, re-check using audit elements. Identify the presence of factors that interfere with indexing, check redirects, track statistics until a positive trend appears. Another important factor is collecting user opinions, which will react differently to the updated design. Remember that work cannot be done in a hurry; it can take from several weeks to several months.

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