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Website Redesign SEO checklist 2016

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Understanding how to retain and build your SEO performance with a website rebuild.

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Website Redesign SEO checklist 2016

  2. 2. Background The task of retaining traffic and rankings following a redesign or restructuring of a website is one of the biggest challenges faced by an SEO. Time and time again I head about the process going wrong or not being completed and organisations losing money as their traffic and rankings drop. This checklist is for SEO’s, Web Designers, Web Developers and Importantly Website Owners. It’s easy to follow, and doing so will help ensure you don’t lose traffic or rankings. Andy Kinsey, Founder of SEOAndy
  3. 3. 1. Benchmark Your Current Website  Generate a month to month analytics report.  Check Your Bounce Rate  Check Pages Per Visit  Check Top Landing Pages  Check Avg Time on Website  Check Your Current Search Rankings  Check Your Domain Authority  Check the number of leads each month (avg)  Know which pages are most shared Before you begin the redesign of your website it is important to check your current website status from an SEO view point. To check these you can use: Google Analytics Google Webmaster Tools And Open Site Explorer
  4. 4. 2. Create a Website Inventory  Perform an Internal Link Analysis (1)  Perform an External Link Audit (2)  Create an Internal Sitemap (3)  Do a basic Content Audit… (4)  What keywords are you targeting for which pages?  Which keywords show to be the most used in your organic search analytics?  Is your content all in a similar tone of voice?  Does your content convert well?  Is your content more than 6 months old? Knowing the internals of your current website can help you make choices going forward. If you don’t have all of this data to hand, you may find your redesign fails to meet your objectives. Tools to use: 1 – Xenu Link Sleuth 2 – Ahrefs 3 – See “301 Mapping” 4 – Spreadsheet software
  5. 5. 3. Consider Your URL Structure  Is there an issue with your current urls?  Are there too many layers before a product url?  Are they ugly and non-user friendly?  Are they simple or very long?  Can you remember 5 of them easily?  Moving Platform May Force URL Changes  What would your perfect URL structure be? Creating a new URL structure does make the job of an SEO during a redesign tricky. However, done correctly (see “301 Mapping”) changing your structure can be a benefit of your new website. Tip: Always think about the structure before you start building your new website. It becomes harder the longer you leave it.
  6. 6. 4. 301 Mapping / Redirecting of Old URLs  Hint: You MUST have completed an internal and external link audit!  Using the spreadsheet (see link right).  This should (at this stage) be a one-to-one mapping exercise, with your old URL (and linked to URLs) to the left and the new location on the right.  Follow the instructions within the spreadsheet to complete your redirects for your new website. Redirecting old URLs is an important part of your SEO relaunch strategy. This may take some time to complete, however without it you will suffer a loss of ranking and traffic. Download Your Free 301 Redirect Mapping Spreadsheet.
  7. 7. 5. Be Awesome (always)  Create an Awesome 404 Page  Help the user find what they are looking for  Potentially include a search box or popular links  Be informal (and you can be funny)  Have your most popular links in your footer  Make your navigation REALLY easy to use  Check all pages for user friendliness Keeping your website awesome isn’t easy, but by taking these steps you can ensure that when something goes wrong (and it will) that your users stick with you and continue using your website.
  8. 8. 6. Don’t Stop SEO-ing Continue your SEO on your old website and mirror this on your new website, this means ensuring that things like the items below are similar or updated on the new site:  Meta Title Tags  Meta Descriptions  Static Website Content  Ensure all images have a rich ALT Text Time and time again I see that SEO stops on the old website whilst a new one is built and not yet launched. This means you will lose traffic and rankings, it’s almost a promise. Don’t be silly and ensure you do SEO on your old site whilst your new website is built.
  9. 9. 7. Build SEO Into Your New Website If you’ve got a new website, now is the perfect time to implement new SEO and improve on your best practice. Here are a few things you could implement:  Microformats / Structured Data  Social Media Meta Tags (optimised)  Social Media sharing utilities  An improved sitemap / RSS feed  Ensure you are monitoring the site fully Google Analytics Google Webmaster Tools This is just a basic list that you could bring to almost any website, easily. There is much more you could do for most websites, just ask your SEO or web designer about this. Tip: remember SEO isn’t just about search engines it’s about user experience.
  10. 10. 8. Just Do It! – Go Live If you have a website with traffic less than a few thousand visitors per day, simply “flick the switch” and Go Live. If your website has thousands of visitors, I would suggest putting your site into BETA for a portion of your audience to try before the whole world. Ask your developer about how to do this. The important thing is to not be scared. If you have completed this Checklist then you will be singing and dancing fairly soon.
  11. 11. 9. Post-Launch Checks Now your site is live, it is important that you keep an eye on it for a while to ensure there are no issues. You can do this by:  Adding Google Webmaster Tools To Check the index status To Check for Crawl Errors  To submit your new sitemap  To “fetch and render” your key pages  To check Google is crawling your website Adding Google Analytics To monitor traffic flow through the website Ensure no traffic is lost from key sources (eg referral links) Ensure your website is converting correctly Well Done! You’ve just completed the SEOAndy Checklist for Relaunching Your Website. As you breathe a sigh of relief, don’t forget that a new website is usually tweaked in the first weeks of it’s life to make it better and fix small bugs. Don’t be disheartened by this. Good Luck, Andy.
  12. 12. Thanks for Reading This document is the culmination of around 25 iterations, at launch (august 2014). If you are reading this later, it has no doubt been through many more thanks to suggestions from readers like you. To make a suggestion simply leave a comment on the blog post: http://www.seoandy.net/optimisation/retain-traffic Thanks for Reading Andy Kinsey (@andykinsey) Founder of SEOAndy Head of Digital Marketing @ RedStar
  13. 13. Legal Stuff This document has been supplied for free by Andy Kinsey, SEOAndy.net – You are welcome to share this document as you wish, but please do not alter it. The advice and checklist given may help maintain or improve your SEO of a website you are relaunching – however this is not a promise. Please be aware that even though you complete the checklist you may suffer loss of traffic and rankings. CopyRight 2014 – Andy Kinsey, SEOAndy.net