Are you wanting to change your website platform?
A carefully redesigned website can improve your user experience and help you rank higher in Google search results. However, having an inexperienced person or team recreate your website without knowing the ropes can negatively affect your rank. It is important that your web designer knows how a website redesign can affect your rank in Google, and take the right action steps to avoid your SEO scores from dropping. Google is use to your existing content and page structure, and changing that can have dramatic results. Here are the top critical things to keep in mind when rebuilding or redesigning your website, especially if you are moving to a new host or new platform, e.g., Wix to WordPress or SquareSpace to Shopify.
Critical items to consider when redesigning or moving your website:
- Keep URL page names the same
When you are redesigning a website on a new platform, it is very important to keep the page URLs exactly the same. For example, mywebsite.com/services should not be renamed mywebsite.com/our-services. If they are different, then the cached pages in Google will be linked to 404 error pages, and a page not found error is bad for your SEO. You may have articles and posts on social media that will no longer link to the original page, thus losing valuable backlinks.
- Redirect old and unused pages from old URL to the new URL
If you absolutely have, need, or want to change the names (URLs) of the new pages, then redirect the old pages to the new ones. If you don’t redirect the unused pages then they will still exist in the Google search cache—for a long time. If users click on them they will be brought to an error page, and again this is bad for your SEO, as Google sees that as a negative user experience. These redirects are configured by adding lines of code to your website’s .htaccess file.
- New content should be reported to Google Search Console
If you’re adding new pages, those directories should be submitted to Google Search Console, with a request to be scanned and indexed. Google likes to know when you’ve added new content.
- A new sitemap should be created and submitted to Google Search Console
This is very helpful for Google to understand your new website and its page configuration. A sitemap contains all of your sites pages, posts, products, and more. A sitemap is made in an .xml format, and can be auto-generated depending on the platform you are using.
In conclusion, it is important that your web designer has experience in recreating and redesigning websites. If they rebuild your site without taking this into consideration, your Google rank can drop considerably, and even be eliminated from the Google directory. Those years of your website’s pages existing in the Google directory will all come to a screeching halt if these steps aren’t taken.