The glitz, the glam, the glorious design elements that make your website look like a million bucks. When contemplating a website redesign, it’s easy to focus only on those features that are appealing to the eye.
Unfortunately, redesigning a website isn’t simply an exercise in aesthetics. Sure, the purely visual elements of your newly designed website will likely get the most attention, but remember: a great website redesign also requires that you consider (and improve) what’s under the hood.
A flashy exterior doesn’t help much if the actual machine fails to function. If people can’t find your website via search, or if they can’t intuitively navigate through your site’s pages and easily understand what information those pages contain, it doesn’t really matter how beautiful it looks.
When it comes to your website redesign, form and function need to be a package deal. So while you should absolutely incorporate that new color scheme and add that big beautiful hero image to your homepage, don’t forget about what’s happening behind the scenes.
Why You Need to Think of SEO From the Start
To ensure your new site will truly resonate with your target audience — and to save yourself from some major headaches down the road — you need SEO to be ingrained in your redesign strategy from the very beginning.
“The most common SEO mistake that I see marketers make when redesigning their websites is not involving the SEO team early in the process,” says Jeff Ferguson, CEO of Fang Digital Marketing. “All too often, when we’re brought in for SEO work on a redesign, it’s often late in the process, such as when the site is being coded or even totally complete … The advice that usually needs to be passed on at this point will most likely cost the company much more in design, coding, and more.”
Laura Hogan, marketing director at OverGo Studio, takes a similar view. “If you don’t have SEO in mind from the initial strategy session, you’re going to lose what you took so much time and effort to build. Everything from the structure of your website to the meta description of your website pages is important and should be taken into consideration.”
Website Redesign & SEO: Your Major Action Items
So, how exactly do you make sure SEO is incorporated into your redesign strategy from the very beginning? Here are a few items to add to the to-do list:
Do an Audit of Your Existing Site
Before you bust out the wrecking ball and start demolishing your soon-to-be-forgotten site, make sure you take the time to examine it to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Here are some key metrics you may want to consider:
- Number of visits/visitors/unique visitors (monthly average)
- Top performing keywords (in terms of rank, traffic, and lead generation)
- Number of inbound linking domains
- Total number of total pages indexed
- Total number of pages that receive traffic