If you are thinking of redesigning your website and you’re worried about how it will affect your Google search rankings – we hear you. After all, you don’t want to lose the traffic and authority that you have worked so hard to build. But don’t worry, there are ways to redesign a website without hurting SEO performance. In fact, if you do it right, you can likely improve your rankings and user experience too.

With that said, let’s share some tips and advice on how a great website redesign doesn’t mean losing your hard-earned SEO ranking.

Evaluate Your Current Website

The first step is to evaluate your current website and identify its strengths and weaknesses. You can use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Webmaster Tools to analyse your website’s traffic, keywords, conversions, bounce rate, page speed, and other metrics. This will help you understand what is working well and what needs improvement. You can also use tools to crawl your website and find any technical issues, such as broken links, duplicate content, missing meta tags, etc.

Keep High-Performing Content

Next, is to keep your high-performing content and make sure it is not affected by a redesign. High-performing content is content that ranks well on search engines, drives organic traffic, generates leads, and converts customers. You can use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find your high-performing content and see how it compares to your competitors. Once you have identified your high-performing content, you should preserve its URL structure, title tags, meta descriptions, headings, keywords, images, and internal links. You should also avoid deleting or merging any pages that have high authority or backlinks.

Define Your SEO Goals

You should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your new website redesign and how it will benefit your business. For example, do you want to increase your traffic, conversions, revenue, brand awareness, or customer loyalty? Do you want to target new keywords, markets, or audiences? Do you want to improve your site speed, usability, or design? You should also set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track your progress and results.

For example, you can use tools like Google Analytics to create dashboards and reports that show your SEO performance before and after the redesign.

Optimise Your Existing Content

The fourth step is to optimise your existing content and make it more relevant, useful, and engaging for your new audience. You can use tools like Yoast SEO or Rank Math to optimise your content for SEO best practices, such as keyword density, readability, schema markup, etc. You can also use tools like Answer the Public to find related keywords and questions that you can include alongside high-quality images that complement your content.

Set Up 301 Redirects

Set up 301 redirects for any pages that have changed their URL during the redesign. 301 redirects are permanent redirects that tell search engines and users that a page has moved to a new location. This will help you avoid losing any traffic or backlinks that point to the old URL. You can use free and paid-for tools to easily set up 301 redirects and to check for any broken links or redirect chains on your WordPress site.

Update Your Site’s Architecture

An important step is to update your site architecture and make it more user-friendly and SEO-friendly. Site architecture is the way you organise and structure your website’s pages and content. It affects how users navigate and find information on your site as well as how search engines crawl and index your site. You should aim for a simple and logical site architecture that follows the principle of three clicks or less. This means that users should be able to find what they are looking for within three clicks from the homepage. You should also use descriptive and consistent URL structures, breadcrumbs, navigation menus, sitemaps, and internal links to improve your site architecture.

Read our blog A Look At Website Structure

Optimise Your Page Speed

It’s crucial to optimise your page speed and make it faster and smoother for users and search engines. Page speed is the time it takes for a web page to load completely on a browser. It affects user experience, SEO rankings, and conversions. You can use web tools to test your page speed and get suggestions on how to improve it. Some common ways to optimise your page speed are:

  • Use a fast and reliable web hosting service
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver your content faster and reduce server load
  • Use a caching plugin or service to store and serve static versions of your pages
  • Use a minification plugin or service to reduce the size of your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files
  • Use an image optimisation plugin or service to compress and resize your images
  • Use a lazy loading plugin or service to defer the loading of images and videos until they are in view
  • Use a font optimisation plugin or service to load only the fonts that are needed and preload them
  • Use a web performance optimisation plugin or service to implement advanced techniques such as critical CSS, HTTP/2, DNS prefetching, etc.

Update Your XML Sitemap

The eighth and final step is to update your XML sitemap and submit it to search engines. An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the pages and content on your website and tells search engines how they are related. It helps search engines discover, crawl, and index your site more efficiently. You can use tools like Yoast SEO or Google XML Sitemaps to generate and update your XML sitemap automatically. You can also use tools like Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools to submit your XML sitemap to search engines and monitor its status.

Read our blog – What Is a Sitemap for more info

Looking to redesign your website without losing your SEO rankings?

UK Digital Marketing is an award-winning digital marketing agency in Bristol that offers bespoke website design and outstanding performance-based digital marketing services in-house, delivered with speed, without the jargon, and without breaking the bank.

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