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SEO & Website Redesign Tips: Taking Time to Plan a Website Redesign
Thursday, November 13, 2008
We've featured a number of posts on the topic of website redesigns. The one item that we cannot emphasize strong enough is to take your time with your website redesign. Especially if you are looking to improve your SEO efforts. Taking your time will ensure that you do things right the first time and can save you time and resources post launch.

While there are a number of steps that take place during the planning stage as you can see by visiting our checklist for planning a website redesign, a number of these steps can be combined. Truth of the matter is, when planning a site redesign you need to consider the needs of your target audience. Content is a large part of any site redesign. so you want to ensure that you provide your audience for what they are looking for.

For those that are on a strict deadline, there are a couple of items that must be addressed prior to completing a site redesign. These items are:
  1. Proper URL Structure - take the time to plan out proper page URLs. Keep them clean, short and make them search engine friendly and relevant to the page.

  2. URL Mapping / Redirection - if you are changing URLs, you need proper redirection to point the search engines and the users from the old page to the new page. Do not assume that your existing rankings will simply transition over with the launch of the new site.

  3. Understand your Visibility in the Search Landscape - this is critical. You need to understand where you are currently in terms of visibility in the search engines. Which terms are you ranking for? What keywords is your homepage ranking for? Begin by looking at your analytics to determine which pages are driving non-branded traffic to the site. Identify key phrases that are driving traffic to the site. With a site redesign, you will want to put measures in place to preserve these existing rankings. You cannot preserve what you are unaware of. Know how your site is ranking. Many might suggest that rankings do not mean that much. well in terms of a site redesign, your organic rankings are key if you are to preserve existing traffic with the new site.
From an SEO perspective, there are issues any time your consider performing a full blown redesign. There is the risk that you will lose some or even all of your rankings and non-branded traffic if you do not take precautionary measures. Those who suggest that a site redesign is a good thing every couple of months, need to understand the impact on Search. Carefully plan out your redesign, take the time to roll out the new site, measure the right metrics and you will experience success.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, November 13, 2008  
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