Top 5 SEO Mistakes to Avoid During Website Redesign
by Eric Gordon
Redesigning your website periodically is important, but you need to have the right strategy in mind to enjoy the best results. Your website is your company’s online window to the world, and its overall style plays a major role in branding, facilitation of online sales, and more.
There are hundreds of smaller and larger decisions to make when redesigning your website, ranging from creative and financial to technical and operational. Many of your decisions will play a direct role in website rankings after your new design is launched. The last thing you want is for your website’s rankings to fall.
By understanding some of the top SEO design mistakes that others have made, you can take steps to avoid making these same detrimental mistakes yourself.
1. Targeting the Wrong Keywords
When redesigning your professional website, you may be focused on creating content that pops. However, in your effort to update your website’s content, you could end up focusing your attention on undesirable keywords. Perhaps you may lose sight of your keywords altogether.
You understandably want your text to reflect the buyer’s journey or a fictitious buyer’s persona, but you also need the keywords used in this text to be strategically selected and carefully placed. Ideally, your targeted phrases will appeal to your customers’ pain points, challenges and goals.
The keywords to target should be phrases that your potential customers commonly use when searching for your type of products or service. Ideally, they should have minimal competition despite their high search volume.
After you select the right words and phrases to target, ensure that you place them organically. Keyword stuffing can be detrimental to your rankings.
2. Not Including 301 Redirects
If your new website design removes entire pages and adds new pages, you need to include 301 redirects. Some of the pages that you are removing may currently be listed as a results page in a search engine inquiry. Removing these pages entirely can be detrimental, but you can use 301 redirects in your website to essentially forward search engines to the correct new page.
Remember that a 301 redirect is only necessary if you plan to change URLs. If you are simply redesigning a page for an existing URL, the 301 redirect is not necessary.
3. Disregarding User Experience
The primary focus of your website redesign may be to create a fresh, exciting look and even to update your content and graphics. While these are critical and beneficial points to pay attention to, remember that the bottom line is related to your user’s experience. Your newly redesigned website must be user-friendly if you want to maximize your marketing and SEO efforts.
Ideally, it should also be mobile friendly because many users browse the Internet on mobile devices. In addition to having a mobile responsive design, you should consider the load time of each page related to your server or hosting service.
You may be also able to enhance the user experience by loading more content on each page. Both users and Google love long-form content. Ideally, aim for having at least 300 words of highly focused and educational content on each page. Remember that mobile users can easily be turned off by having to click through many pages with a slow load time just to find basic information.
4. Forgetting About Inbound Links
Inbound links are links to your various website’s pages from other referring domains. Using inbound links strategically is an excellent way to bolster search engine rankings. However, if your URLs change, the links are no longer effective. In addition, if you change the text on a page, the link may no longer be relevant. Pay attention to all of the inbound links that you have created.
If possible, update inbound links as necessary. If it is not possible, you can use 301 redirects. You can also create fresh content with new inbound links.
5. Not Auditing Your Old Site
Some people openly embrace the redesign of their professional website by simply tossing all current concepts and designs away. Starting fresh is one idea, but there may not be a need to recreate the wheel. There may be many excellent features and elements of your existing website that can and should be incorporated into your new design.
A smart idea is to audit your current website. List its pros and cons so that you can create a strategic action plan. Pay attention to the analytics for your current website. This includes the time users spent on each page, conversion rates, total traffic, and other details. Avoid trying to fix something that is not broken.
As beneficial as redesigning your website could be, keep in mind that there are some pitfalls that you could run into. Remember these common mistakes as you move forward with your website redesigning plans.
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