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Website Redesign SEO & Your Contents Role in a Redesign

Author Allison Smith
by Allison Smith , VP Online Marketing

In today’s fast-paced web world, it is typical for a business, small or large, to need a website redesign every 2-3 years. Often times, the goal of a redesign is to re-brand and revamp the content within a site. While content development is imperative to stay current and relevant, there are some very important things to keep in mind in order to conserve the credibility you have built and the rankings you have achieved within the search engines.

Misconception #1: Content is just text.
When thinking about the content on your website, you must keep in mind content consists of any text, images, videos, and other information that makes up the “meat” of your site. It is what people see when visiting your website. It is also what search engines use to evaluate the worth of your website. Successful website content ideas include a mix of text, image, video and conversation that, first, directly targets your audience and that, secondly, contains all of the necessary elements to be indexed by the search engine robots. Often times companies benefit from the services of an SEO content writer to strike the correct balance between catering to customer and search engine.

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Removing well written, high ranking content can result in big losses in traffic.

Misconception #2: I can eliminate content without problems.
If your site has established a reputation and has secured rankings in the search engines, that means the content on your site was seen and liked by the engines. That content helped you get to where you are today, and if it is removed, it can (and usually does) result in significant fluctuation in rankings, traffic, and sales. Consider this scenario as an example: You have an old website that included an articles section, and you do not think that it added any value for your visitors. For this reason, you want to eliminate that section all together upon redesign.

It is likely that Google factored that content into its ranking of your site, so it would be risky to get rid of it entirely. It is better to revise the existing content to better serve the purpose of your customer than to delete it. One solution would be to re-purpose this section to target a more specific audience through the addition of images, videos, comments and new, relevant information. This maintains SEO value while adding and writing website content that your customer will appreciate as well.

Misconception #3: I can move content without problems.
An equally dangerous idea is the idea that you can move large portions of content from one page to another, or from one section to another, without taking precautions. During the website redesign process, often times page names get changed to follow a revised site architecture. In order to avoid any confusion during the indexing of your site, a permanent redirect should be done (301 redirect is typically best) from the old page to the corresponding new page. This ensures the search engines, when indexing that page, are re-routed to the new page rather than just receiving a 404 error (page not found). This also ensures any “link juice” that was flowing into the old page gets passed on to the new page.

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Not moving content properly and putting redirects in place will cause 404, page cannot be found, errors.

Misconception #4: Mobile? Oh, that doesn't matter yet.
Did you know that mobile and tablet usage is expected to surpass total desktop internet usage by 2014? This means that you can no longer focus solely on how your content appears on a desktop. Your customer is on the go, and in order to take full advantage of your mobile audience, you must pay special attention to how your website appears to them and how it functions on their devices.  So, during your next redesign, be sure to consider the needs of your mobile customer as well! For some tips on what to consider here, view our article describing the rise in mobile ecommerce.

Going through a website redesign can seem like a daunting task, but if done properly, it will increase your visibility and, ultimately, conversions. The goal is to keep existing content of value and to build upon that content using new strategies so you can engage more visitors and turn them into customers.  By keeping these few points in mind, you can build an arsenal of great information to boost your reputation with people and robots, alike.

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