Home Forums Tech talk How will site redesign/upgrade affect current SEO and rankings etc?

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #991446
    JacquiPryor
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,344

    Hi All,

    I have searched and read a few threads but can’t find quite the information I’m after so hoping others may be able to help.

    I’m looking to upgrade my website so it’s fresh and responsive. Current site is on WordPress and will stay on WordPress.

    The current site positions reasonably well in online searches for a number of phrases/terms that I care about, which is obviously partly due to content and relevance but I think also is thanks to a plugin I use for SEO purposes.

    Given the new site will also be WordPress that SEO plug in will still work, and a lot of the content will be the same. However, I’m wondering about the risks of a “redesign” affecting current rankings? And, if there’s anything I should know about that could help us avoid any drop before we go ahead?

    I’ve made some enquiries with SEO specialists also but thought I’d pose the question here too in the hopes I can get my head around it a bit.

    Thanks in advance :)

    #1181589
    Byron Trzeciak
    Member
    • Total posts: 422

    Hi Jacqui,

    This is a great question and well worth asking if you’re updating your website.

    The main concern you have when upgrading a website is losing inbound links to your website. Let’s use an example, say your old site has a page such as:

    www. domainname.com.au/electrical/

    but when you move it to the new website it becomes

    www. domainname.com.au/electrical-services/

    Any links and rankings associated with the old page could be lost because the page is no longer available and has now moved to the new location. Google doesn’t know it’s moved unless you explicitly tell it’s moved and where it has gone.

    You can do this by using a plugin for wordpress such as Simple 301 redirects and redirecting any traffic / links from the old page to the new page.

    If you want some more information on this I did write a blog post on it that you can review and go through the steps.
    http://www.pixelrushstudio.com.au/web-design/how-to-launch-a-new-website-and-maintain-your-seo/

    Finally you want to focus on the content and ensure that the content on the new site is just as relevant as the old site by using the appropriate keywords, phrases etc. If you don’t plan on changing the content much then you should be ok.

    You might also want to look at things like your sitemap using a plugin such as Yoast. Grab the link for your sitemap and get your web developer to ensure that it’s loaded into webmasters.

    Feel free to reach out if you want some help with it.

    #1181590
    JacquiPryor
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,344

    Fantastic.

    Thank you so much Byron. That’s very helpful! I do have Yoast installed currently.

    I can’t believe how perfectly spot on your article is to this situation. Thanks for posting the link.

    I will certainly get in touch if I have any trouble.

    Thanks again, greatly appreciated.

    #1181591
    JacquiPryor
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,344

    Thanks for your reply Chase and the information. Greatly appreciated.

    #1181592
    vilson
    Member
    • Total posts: 184

    Hi Jacqui,

    It Does not make more difference for Google as you said most of the content will remain same, Google bot understand content much than website design.

    Just resubmit site in web master tool and Google will crawl it and you might see slight variation, but not big difference.

    hope it helps.

    Vilson

    #1181593
    Nicholas Digital Expert
    Member
    • Total posts: 10

    Great advice Byron.

    Byron Trzeciak, post: 211827, member: 56118 wrote:
    Hi Jacqui,

    This is a great question and well worth asking if you’re updating your website.

    The main concern you have when upgrading a website is losing inbound links to your website. Let’s use an example, say your old site has a page such as:

    www. domainname.com.au/electrical/

    but when you move it to the new website it becomes

    www. domainname.com.au/electrical-services/

    Any links and rankings associated with the old page could be lost because the page is no longer available and has now moved to the new location. Google doesn’t know it’s moved unless you explicitly tell it’s moved and where it has gone.

    You can do this by using a plugin for wordpress such as Simple 301 redirects and redirecting any traffic / links from the old page to the new page.

    If you want some more information on this I did write a blog post on it that you can review and go through the steps.
    http://www.pixelrushstudio.com.au/web-design/how-to-launch-a-new-website-and-maintain-your-seo/

    Finally you want to focus on the content and ensure that the content on the new site is just as relevant as the old site by using the appropriate keywords, phrases etc. If you don’t plan on changing the content much then you should be ok.

    You might also want to look at things like your sitemap using a plugin such as Yoast. Grab the link for your sitemap and get your web developer to ensure that it’s loaded into webmasters.

    Feel free to reach out if you want some help with it.

    #1181594
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642

    Hi Jacqui,

    1. Site Design, Structure & Search Words

    The big search engine referral killers are usually site design, structure, selecting relevant search terms and incorporating them into your site content.

    Time and again I’ve seen sites lose up to 70%+ of their website traffic because the site developers did not understand how to implement SE-friendly design and structure into the site and/or they gave content advice that was counter productive.

    SEO plug-ins don’t address these issues. They are essentially designed to fix SEO problems inherent in blog formats and to facilitate the management of a few elements of html code.

    When moving to a responsive design, I’m seeing many site overhauls that have the SE-friendliness built out of their design, structure and content and people don’t think about the different search phrases that may be employed by mobile phone user.

    These may be some relevant search phrases as predicted by Google and how your site ranks for them…

    Search Phrases = Your ranking in Google
    trademark services = # 2
    trademark services Melbourne = # 12
    trademark attorney = Not ranked in top 50
    trademark attorney Melbourne = Not ranked in top 50
    trademark lawyer = Not ranked in top 50
    trademark lawyer Melbourne = Not ranked in top 50
    trademark firms = Not ranked in top 50
    trademark firms Melbourne = Not ranked in top 50
    trademark agent = Not ranked in top 50
    trademark agent Melbourne = Not ranked in top 50

    For mobile phone searchers:
    trademark lawyer near me = Not ranked in top 50

    Are there as many as 100 trademark firms in Melbourne? If so, it is not a very competitive search market, yet I’m having trouble finding your site with a range of searches.

    Most relevant SE referrals are lost because people don’t target the widest range of relevant words. You don’t fix this problem with external links.

    A very crude predictor of your site’s relevance to certain search words is to assess how many pages from your site contain them.

    Google has indexed 118 web pages and PDF files from your site. The following table lists how many pages/PDF files contain words from the above search phrases:

    Attorney = 9 pages
    lawyer = 7 pages (all in blog)
    firms = 5 pages
    Melbourne = 2 (PDF files)
    near = 0 pages

    This paucity of relevant word content is signalling to Google that your site is not worth ranking highly for search phrases that contain them. Perhaps “Melbourne” containing search phrases indicate the most relevant potential clients and it looks like you are missing out on all of these searches.

    2. How a Blog can Hurt You

    It seems around 36% of your site’s content is in your blog section.

    • Where is the link to it?
    • What is it for?

    What I can see in your blog are a number of articles that appear to have nothing to do with your primary services. These will be diluting the importance of your site to your relevant search words.

    3. The Value of External Links

    Your Google Webmaster Tools will tell you how many external links there are, where they are from and what pages they link to on you site.

    You may find a bit more detail about the importance of external links useful.

    Link quality, the link anchor text, the content relevance of the site/page and the pages of your site that they land on are some of the critical issues.

    If you have a link from the IPTA site, it will be a link of the highest quality but limited help to your ranking for “Melbourne” search phrases. The reason being that the IPTA link will be to your Home page and the link text it will use will be your domain name. As the word “Melbourne” will not be used anywhere on the IPTA page nor on your Home page, you miss out on the many Google ranking points associated with assessing these parameters.

    The tool I use to assess links to your site will be incomplete but it suggests that 80% of the link text used is your domain name and that also suggests that most links are likely to be to your Home page. Whatever their value, these should be unaffected when you overhaul your site.

    Give your Webmaster Tool Report the once over to see if there are any high value links to your internal pages and implement the “redirects” for them. (It is quite likely there will be none.) Links from the many small general business directories and from unrelated content sites are probably not worth worrying about.

    I suggest you put time into improving your content for the many relevant search words you are currently missing.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1181595
    JimmyD
    Member
    • Total posts: 23

    I’ve found a site redesign can often increase conversions, traffic and social sharing. After the traffic boost we did rise in Google in the ranks so while the redesign may not effect the google ranking directly most of the time. The factors it does influence will effect your ranking in the long run.

    #1181596
    kangaroojosh
    Member
    • Total posts: 64

    Good move!
    When the website changes the only two things you need to take care and Must take care inorder to not loose your rankings are:

    1. Content changes should be carefully planned
    2. URLs / URL structure / change of URLs must be handled with 301 redirects.

    Thats all.
    1. You might be ranking because of the content, keyword density, SEO titles, meta values, images, ALT tag to images, Htitles etc. these are all on page aspects of your website and must stay the same or close to the same.

    2. the more important aspect is the URLs. You might be receiving backlinks to your old urls and if those URLs change that will result into a 404 error (broken pages or dead pages not found) means you loose the credit of the link juice that comes to those pages. So, you must set a 301 redirect from old page -> new page (plugins can do that like simple 301 redirect plugins or htaccess rules). This will ensure that the new URLs will also get the same link juice. Another easier way is to retain the same urls for the pages that were earlier on the website.

    With these two aspects taken care of, you can anyways fine tune the new website once live to correct or improve the rankings. Also remember to launch the website on the same version www or non-www whichever was the case before.

    Cheers and good luck
    Josh

    #1181597
    Aidan
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,125

    Some good points there although G does not work on keyword density or Htitles(?). I assume you mean Title tags where you mention ‘SEO Titles’ and meta descriptions.

    The URLS are indeed pretty important although often over-estimated for smaller businesses as most don’t have backlinks to them and G will re-crawl from the home page anyway to re-index the sites structure and content.

    I had a case recently where when re-structuring a small site in the financial niche, we found the new version with its new urls was indexed and ranking well the same day as it was pushed live by the developer without its 301’s working due to a htaccess syntax error! It didn’t have a sitemap either so there was no clue to Google there either!

    Sometimes Google is funny like that…

    #1181598
    kangaroojosh
    Member
    • Total posts: 64
    Aidan, post: 220609, member: 2298 wrote:
    Some good points there although G does not work on keyword density or Htitles(?). I assume you mean Title tags where you mention ‘SEO Titles’ and meta descriptions.
    .

    Yes, by title tags, I meant SEO Title and by Htitles i Meant Heading Tags – H1, H2, H3 etc. Keyword density might not be a factor but what I meant is that it should be natural not kind of optimised (often no seo is the best seo). Ideally the content on a page should be natural and relevant thats all.

    Aidan, post: 220609, member: 2298 wrote:
    The URLS are indeed pretty important although often over-estimated for smaller businesses as most don’t have backlinks to them and G will re-crawl from the home page anyway to re-index the sites structure and content.

    Yes, if a small website without backlinks you really don’t need 301s for the sake of seo but provided Google recrawls to update the SERPs. But bigger websites this can be a major loss because many big portals automatically discard outbound links when it gives a broken status code.

    :-) Funny sometimes but i really enjoy the way search bots are evolving to think better. Sometimes responds amazingly well, especially when you communicate via GWTs. Basically, the direction is (i assume) naturally useful, informative and functional websites rank well.

    #1181599
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104
    kangaroojosh, post: 220613, member: 59996 wrote:
    Yes, if a small website without backlinks you really don’t need 301s for the sake of seo but provided Google recrawls to update the SERPs.

    You should always perform 301 redirects regardless of site size. It’s best practice.

    BTW – keyword density has nothing to do with rankings. Nothing.

    #1181600
    JohnTranter
    Member
    • Total posts: 842

    hey Jacqui,

    This may get lost in this thread, but don’t panic if you initially see a drop in traffic after the redesign.
    A lot of sites take a temporary hit after a redesign, even if you do all the 301’s and various SEO housekeeping tasks. You may also see a temporary drop in conversions as you lose some people who don’t like the redesign.
    The sites do recover and it’s usually worth the brief pain for a better site.

    John

    #1181601
    Aidan
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,125

    I agree it is indeed best practice so I encourage it and always use them too.

    I just wanted to point out they can be redundant as in the example I spoke of where we actually knew there were no incoming links and had an effective 404 page in any event.

    Its like the sitemaps argument – they are good practice for sure as long as they are actually maintained but for simple small sites they are (or should be) redundant as they don’t give the crawler any info it does not already have.

    And btw people – if you’re not maintaining your sitemap by adding and subtracting as appropriate when your site changes then you are actually better off without it!

    Whats the adage? If you’re relying on a sitemap you have crawl problems to fix… or something like that…

    Happy Friday All :)

    #1181602
    John Romaine
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,104
    JohnTranter, post: 220623, member: 20554 wrote:
    You may also see a temporary drop in conversions as you lose some people who don’t like the redesign.
    The sites do recover and it’s usually worth the brief pain for a better site.

    Yeah that can sometimes be the case, but here’s something to consider.

    Site owners should be redesigning their site in an effort to improve its performance.

    Whether that be –

    • conversions
    • search visibility
    • general usability
    • responsiveness

    …etc etc

    I always say, “Make changes inline with what the data tells you”. I’ve seen so many site owners over the years make considerable changes to their websites (mostly for aesthetic reasons) without any consideration to the points made above. I’ve also seen a lot of website literally fall off a cliff overnight (search, customer enquiries, sales etc) because changes were made because they site owner “thought it looked nice”.

    Big mistake.

    You should always be working towards improvement.

    You should also be VERY CLEAR about what it is, you want someone to do on your site before you even start.

    I highly recommend using a tool like Crazy Egg or Clicktale. Both allow heat map tracking (Clicktale records actual user sessions) so you know exactly which elements on the page are working, and which ones aren’t.

    Again, you should only be making changes to your website in order to improve its performance. Without the right data, you’re simply guessing., and that’s dangerous.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.