In this article, I’m going to share my number one tip you absolutely must consider if you’re planning to redesign your website.
As someone who has witnessed the aftermath of countless website redesigns, I cannot stress this enough – before diving headfirst into revamping your online presence, take the time to conduct an SEO audit.
This one tip can save you from a disastrous loss in rankings and revenue.
Picture this, a brand new, visually stunning website goes live, but suddenly, it’s nowhere to be found on Google’s search results. Sounds like a nightmare, right? Sadly, this is an all-too-common scenario when web designers overlook the crucial aspect of SEO during a website overhaul. Let me illustrate this with a recent experience I had in the legal niche.
A Cautionary Tale from the Legal World
While researching target keywords for a specific area of law in a capital city, I stumbled upon a highly sought-after keyword that every lawyer in that field would want to rank for. Excitedly, I clicked on the website ranking for that keyword, only to be greeted by a dreaded 404 error page—a clear indication of a fresh website launch.
Investigating further using Web Archive, I discovered that the website had gone live within the last seven days. I immediately knew what had happened—a classic case of a web designer neglecting the existing rankings. I reached out to the company to inform them of the issue, and fortunately, they acted promptly to fix it.
Understanding the Impact of a 404 Error on Rankings
Now, you might be wondering, what’s the big deal with a 404 error? Let me break it down for you. When Google’s crawlers encounter a 404 error, it interprets the missing page as no longer existing. As a result, Google will remove that page from its index, along with all the valuable rankings it has earned over time.
If your website previously ranked high for valuable keywords that potential customers are actively searching for, you’re essentially throwing away a significant amount of organic traffic. This can translate into a substantial loss of potential leads and customers.
Don’t Gamble with Your Rankings and Revenue
So, what’s the remedy for avoiding this costly mistake? Before you embark on a website redesign, invest a small amount of time and money in a comprehensive SEO audit. Utilise tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to identify the keywords your website currently ranks for and the associated value they bring through organic search.
Understanding your existing keyword rankings can empower you to structure your redesigned website to preserve those rankings and continue attracting relevant traffic. By prioritising SEO during your redesign, you can retain your hard-earned rankings, capture valuable leads, and safeguard your revenue potential.
Design for Success – Start with an SEO Audit and Build From There
Remember, a website redesign is an opportunity to enhance your online presence, not a time to gamble with your rankings and revenue. Take the necessary precautions and conduct an SEO audit before making any significant changes to your website.
Doing so will ensure that your new website maintains or improves its search engine rankings, and you won’t have to regret leaving potential customers and money on the table.