Hyper Dog Media have been a part of 100+ Web Redesigns over the years. Website redesigns can change almost everything about a website, including the friendliness of the site toward search engines. Some companies hire them to prepare and watch over the site’s visibility during a migration, but many don’t think of it until they have launched and seen a drop in rankings. A redesign can harm organic and even referral traffic, frustrating users and search engines alike. Please visit SEO audit to have more information about the topic.
Here are several potential problems that have been seen:
Missing and old URL locations should be 301 redirected are often forgotten in the push to launch a new site. URLs have evolved along with various web technologies. The most vital are the URLs the site had right before launch. A list of those should be in analytics as well as other places. But manually figuring out where to point them on the new site can be quite a chore itself.
The old viewpoint was always that Google could sort everything out. But the modern reality is that Google might see the site shrink down to a single page: The homepage, and every other URL is now missing until they crawl and index. Will the new pages have authority? Not if one hasn’t redirected that authority from the old URLs!
One’s site might even have REALLY old URLs ending in cgi-bin and .asp – and those should be redirected too. ALL previous versions of a site will need to be redirected. Search engines and human visitors will all benefit:
– Prospects and other visitors that have bookmarked a page on the site.
– Search engines looking to connect visitors with the content.
– Webmasters of other sites, linking to the old URLs. When a link to the site benefits their visitors, the pages disappearing just made their site less valuable. An enterprising competitor may point out the broken link – and boom, a nice link is lost.
Visitors that have bookmarked a page: Don’t make these folks return to Google when they could stay on the site.
Search engines that have ranked a page: If a page is ranking well, one doesn’t want to lose that!
301 redirects have been seen help rankings greatly, while reclaiming referral traffic – and preserving link relationships.
Handling the development site
Keep Google out of the Development site
Google might discover an upcoming version of the site, and start to show it in search results. A duplicate penalty might result. And when the site goes live, does anyone really want traffic landing on the dev server? What a mess this can become. Best to block Googlebot from the dev site.
Undo that block when the site goes live
When the site goes live, don’t copy over that robots.txt block that was made, of course. But it happens, quite a lot. Blocks have been seen carried through – even requiring password login to the live site! Have a launch checklist, and make removing these blocks a part of it. Lost indexed pages, traffic and rankings are severe and all too easy.
Remove or block any development sites left behind
Development servers have a way of never dying. Old subdomains or subdirectories years old have been found, and sometimes hacked! Take that old server offline.
Need more SEO fails?
Want to find out what the other 5 fails are? See the blog for a more complete list of SEO fails during redesigns.
Websites change. The fresh content is good for the visitors, and a fresh design shows that the company is evolving. Embrace redesign. Change that site but be careful not to make these common SEO mistakes!
– See more at: http://www.datsyn.com/press-release/17453/2016/12/08/Two-Reasons-to-Get-an-SEO-Audit-with-Website-Redesign-and-5-to-Watch-Out-For#sthash.4cHFaQrx.dpuf