If you have an existing website and are looking to do a re-design clients typically ask questions like “How much will this cost?”, “How long will it take?” etc.. etc.
While they are important questions there is one topic that my clients rarely bring up and if a website re-design is done incorrectly – will kill your websites search engine rankings.
I’m not talking about some fancy new SEO (Search Engine Optimization) technique, or some new flashy search engine tool.
What I’m talking about is plain, boring, old fashioned links. (existing links to be exact)
If you have an existing website, Google and Bing have already indexed your website and are showing your website in search engine results. Every page on your website has a unique link (url), and every page is indexed.
Over time you might rank very high for certain keywords that your customers are typing into Google and people have been clicking on those links to visit your website. Yaa!!, and that’s exactly what you want.
What happens if you hire an inexperienced web designer and they redesign your website using different page urls? So instead of your About page being…
www.website.com/about they use www.website/about-us .
Doesn’t sound like a big deal on the surface does it?
Once the new website has been uploaded and (if no measures are taken) the old one is removed – guess what happens when people click on the old link – which google is still showing.
What The ?! One thing you have to remember is that search engines are not instantaneous creatures. Just because you made a change on your website – doesn’t mean Google or Bing will instantly show that change in search results. Like many things in life – it takes time.
How do I prevent this from happening?
There are two methods that I recommend..
- Firstly (where possible) keep the urls consistent between the old website and new one. If you used www.website.com/about in the old website and you are including that page again (albeit it an updated version) keep the same url – i.e. www.website.com/about
- Ensure your web designer/developer uses appropriate re-directs. They can use plugins to accomplish this or directly edit the .htaccess file on the server.
Many business’ have worked hard to get a high ranking on search engines and the last thing you want to do is to have to start over again from the beginning.
Thinking about re-designing your website? Need some help? Give us a shout.