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3 Ways to Prepare Your SEO Team for Website Design Changes

Posted by Lisa Wehr on March 9th, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Changing up your website design can certainly be fun and refreshing, but beware of the many daunting consequences a new look can cause, especially with search engines.

To avoid risking your search engine positioning, be sure to follow these three helpful redesign tips:

Site Structure

Layout your site before you begin the development process. Plan with sitemaps, wireframes and mockups to build an appropriate site for both you and your visitors. Even though the layout changes you are proposing may make perfect sense to you, they may not make sense to your customers, or the search engines. Let’s say you want to de-clutter your site, going for a more minimalistic look is great, but it may cut off navigational paths by reducing or removing relevant content. Don’t diminish the content that feeds Google, Bing and Yahoo relevant information about your site. During a revamp, don’t inadvertently make your site less known to the search engines; make sure you leave appropriate content and important links on your web property.

Timing

A new look for your website takes time; not only for your designers, but also for your development crew and IT team. Every department needs the time necessary to digest, implement and test the changes that occur during a redesign process. Allow for a reasonable amount of time for all departments to become familiar with your site’s required changes. Don’t rush a redesign, because chances are you’ll sacrifice your search rankings.

Testing

Yes proofing content and testing navigation are crucial, but make sure you are also checking the SEO elements of your newly designed site. It’s important that this testing occurs before you launch the site. If you neglect this procedure your site’s positioning may suffer. Going live with a new site without properly testing the potential SEO impact almost always results in traffic loss and decreased positions.

Among web fonts, colors and layout, remember to consider SEO when redesigning your website. What’s the point of having a ravishing site if it doesn’t surface in search results or drive visitors?

5 Responses to “3 Ways to Prepare Your SEO Team for Website Design Changes”

  1. sw says:

    Thanks of the post. How do you recommend testing prior to going live with a redesigned site? What would you be testing for and with what tools?

    Thanks!

    • Lisa Wehr says:

      When you test a website you want to make sure that you don't have links referencing to nonexistent resources (ie: missing pages, typos, etc). A tool that can help you with this is the site crawling link checker Xenu. Best of luck!

  2. KristineS says:

    Written so backwards.. SEO should be running your design and UI changes not the other way around. A really good SEO is versed in IA, Conversion pathing, UI, URL constructs etc etc. Article is so going about it the wrong way .. SEOs should prepare your team for the way the site needs to be redesigned, no one else on your team has all the information needed to properly implement the design changes. Well as long as they are a very good SEO...

  3. James Rose says:

    Timely post for me to read, considering I'm planning a complete overhaul of my site!

    If you can I think its always best to do small tweaks constantly.

  4. itsmartie says:

    Wow great article just re-desinged our website the other month to make it look more professional however we have gone backwords on serps and lost allot due to pages not having different titles and different pathes too them. hoping we can get back our positions as we are slowly moving up.

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