If you are planning to launch a new version of your website, you will need to take some steps to make sure that you do not damage your search engine rankings in the process of updating. When you update your website, especially if you decide to change your domain, these changes can potentially have negative impacts on your SEO. You can avoid these problems by carefully planning the update process. Here is a guide to help you update your website without any problem.
1. Figure Out the Scope of your Project
The first thing that you will want to do is start by making a list of all of the URLs that need to be updated. By this you can use your sitemap to retrieve a list of these pages. There are also online software tools, including Google Webmasters, that can be used to crawl your website in order to generate a list of pages. Once you have this list available, you need to check it to make sure that all of the links are viable links and that there are no broken links or pages that you simply do not want to include in the update.
2. Check for Inbound Links
Your SEO strategy depends on the inbound links that point to your website. As a result, you will need to perform an inbound link audit that will determine which direct links need to be updated. You should make sure that you contact the webmaster for each inbound link and ensure that they update the old links on their site. If it is not possible for you to reach everyone because of a large number of links, you should make sure to establish 301 redirects for all of the old links in order to point them to the new URLs on your updated site.
3. Update Your Website Content
In addition to updating the design of your site, you should make sure to update the content on your site also. Review all of the existing pages to ensure that there is no content that is outdated. Is your current SEO strategy meeting your needs? Check the analytics (Google Analytics) data for your website to make sure that your current plan is working. You may want to consider updating the keywords that you are targeting on certain low ranking pages.
Although it might be tempting, try to avoid unnecessarily deleting pages of your site. There may be pages that are having a greater impact on your current rankings than you might assume at first glance. However, if you find duplicate content on your website, do a 301 redirect of the content pages to the correct version of the pages. In the future, avoid creating pages that contain mostly similar content.
4. Check Your New Design for some Optimization Issues
As you select new design for your website, make sure that the new theme offers improvements over your previous theme in terms of UX (User Experience), technical SEO, and more. You should also make sure that your website design is mobile-friendly. If you use CMS platform, you may also want to consider changing or upgrading. You may find that updating your CMS can provide greater security and SEO benefits.
If you fail to note the importance of a quality website design on your search rankings, you could inadvertently lower your rankings. Therefore, you should choose your new website’s design carefully and make sure that you test it with some SEO tools in order to uncover any errors or page optimization issues before you deploy the updated website. By creating a strategic plan to update your website, you can improve your rankings and ensure that the upgrade doesn’t hurt the work that you have done so far.
Felix Onyenobi is a technology enthusiast and loves to write. He is a co-founder at SkyNet Digital Agency. Also a web developer, Penetration tester and ethical hacker.