With more than 10 billion searches conducted per year, search engine optimization is still one of the most important online marketing techniquesÂ to drive traffic and conversions.Â However,Â a relativelyÂ common mistake that companiesÂ make when redesigning a website (or even creating a new one) is to only think about search engine optimization after the new siteÂ has beenÂ launched.Â
Whether search engine optimization is done in-house or outsourced, it needs to be considered from the beginning of the website redesign process for the following reasons:
1. You need to ensure that the website is architected in a way that makes it easy for the search engines to crawl your pages.Â If the search engines can’t find your pages, you obviously aren’t going to show-up in search results.Â Making technical changes after the website is launched can be very difficult.
2. Decisions such as the directory structure and URL naming convention (e.g. 12345.html vs. tennis-shoes.html) have SEO implications and those type of changes can be extremely involved to make post-launch.
3. Keyword research (i.e. understanding what phrases related to your business are being used in searches) can help inform decisions regarding navigation and content organization.Â For example, you might refer to a line of product as ‘automobile insurance’ but consumers might be more likely to search on ‘car insurance’.Â If so, you may want to use ‘car insurance’ in your navigation since that will help in optimizing for that phrase (and match the phrase that consumers actually associate with the product).
4.Â You need to factor SEO copy requirements into the content plan for the new website (new pages and existing pages).Â A redesign is a great time to review title tags, meta descriptions, inbound link text and on page copy for existing pagesÂ and confirm that all are optimized for search.
5.Â If the URL of any existing pages change (e.g. a page is moved or the name of a directory changes), you want to ensure that you have the proper redirects in place so that the search engines know where the page has moved to and you can (hopefully) keep anyÂ good rankings/page rankÂ that you have obtained.
Speaking from countless experiences, if you are considering a website redesign project, you will ahieve better results and avoid post-launch headaches by involving your SEO team in the process from the beginning.