Website redesigning is complex and very risky process, I recommend everyone, until unless it is really necessary don’t go with the redesigning option. Most of the times, I used to play with the website design, because I want to see how my rankings get effected because of that. If you are a regular visitor here, you might have already seen that nowadays I used to change a lot of designs on my blog. Every time when you change your website design, your rankings will get affect, it is because your website structure and content will be changed. Some times even your content didn’t changed but your website structure might change. This will badly affects your onpage SEO, here is a complete guide for website redesigning and prevention of the SEO effects.
Are you planning to do a major redesigning of your website?, If you think your website was old and started in 80′s or 90′s, and has the same look and feel. If you have decided to do a major redesign of your pages, you better know few facts and issues after the redesign. This is very essential for every webmaster to understand. If you haven’t followed the below instructions and played with your pages, then you might face a lot of issues in future, may be you can do a unrecoverable damage to yourself.
Let me tell you few examples here, most of you may aware of the Digg.com’s redesign issue. Before the redesign, Digg is a massively growing social network, now after the redesign, it is a falling star. Here SEO or something is not the issue, the problem is with the website structure and Digg concept, a sudden fall done a huge damage to the giant. However let me tell you my personal experience, recently after I changed my website design with a complete different themes, I found few interesting things, let’s get in to that… before getting in to deep, let’s clear few things..
Website Redesigning Guide:
Do you really need to do a complete redesigning?:
This is very important, are you only looking to change the look and feel of your website or blog?. Then it is better to work on your existing styles to change the design and images of the website, it is not a big deal for a website designer to change the existing styles of a website and change the look and feel of it. But if you are planning to do a redesign to enhance the SEO and on-page rankings, then you should be careful about many things, like..
- If you are changing the content of the website, then try to include or add as much as information in that page with relevant and useful information.
- If it is a product page, then include few testimonials, user reviews etc. This increase the trust in your product.
- If you are willing to change the structure of the URL’s of your website, then that is a major step. This will have a big impact on your website, you will learn how to overcome this issue in the further steps.
- What if you use CMS for your website?, don’t worry we will teach you everything.
- What if you want to use HTML5 markup?.
- What if I want to use Schema markup?.
Let’s get in to the above issues, the above problems are the most commonly happening things, so you should be clear about that..
What if I change the complete content of the website?:
- If you are changing the content of the website, then it is better to make sure that, you do not lesser the content, see I don’t mean to tell like this, but the obvious truth is that Google is ranking the pages which has as much as information, I didn’t mean that stuff your pages with some stupid information, but provide as much as useful information about the product or relevant content about the page.
- Try concentrating on the internal linking part, most of the time this part might be overlooked by the webmasters, this is actually a very important part.
- Make sure you better use the complete on-page techniques while creating your content, better hire SEO copywriter.
What if I want to change the URL’s Structure too?:
Most probably if you read some SEO tips online, then you might have realized that URL structure has an importance in the ranking factors, if you are planning to change the URL structure from your old sluggish URLs to new SEO friendly URLs. Then it is really a major step and has many risks in it. If you changed your URL structure, follow these below instructions.
- First and the most important part is, set 301 redirection immediately for your old links to the new pages.
- Choose proper URL structure, if you have category based website, then have a category+content title structure.
- Do not have too long URLs, make it tiny and sweet, so people can remember it easily.
What if I use a CMS?, How to Redesign a WordPress Blog?:
Nowadays, everyone is using CMSs like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. The advantages of a CMS is like, you can switch to any number of themes or templates. Now WordPress is the top most used CMS on the internet, because it is easy to use and has millions of plugins support. What if you want to change the WordPress theme?, theme switching is s easy as like clicking a button. But what are the after effects?, the results might be heart breaking. Yes, changing a theme can hurt your website SEO, why? and what is the solution?.
- If you changed your theme, the make sure your theme folder has the same name like the previous theme.
- Make sure your old theme has the same type of title header tags, I mean in most of the WordPress themes the Title will have a H1 tag. So make sure your theme has the same.
- Make sure your theme has the same navigation system, I mean breadcrumbs like the previous one, if your previous theme doesn’t has it, then you can add it now…
- The last but most important part is to make sure your new theme has faster loading times than before. That is the most important factor nowadays…
Can I use HTML5?:
HTML5 is still under development but already adopted by most of the top websites and news channel sites. The beauty of the HTML5 is its already optimized the most of the styles and if you have HTML5, most of the times you don’t require flash anywhere. And HTML5 has shortened so many tags, so the HTML code will be lesser and your website will load faster. HTML5 has “Canvas”, a powerful tool for creating graphic content. Using Canvas, it becomes easier to create animations, drawings and other complex visuals without using external apps :). And its video capabilities are out standing…
If you are planning to switch to HTML5, then I recommend everybody to go ahead. There is no issues in doing it until unless you follow the above rules strictly.
Can I use Schema.org Markup?:
Schema.org is a joint effort of all the search engines to make the search results more richer, if you are not aware of the schema, let me explain you.. Schema markups are used to show the search engines about the product, web page, rating, reviews etc, which will be directly shown in the search results.. which will drive more traffic (CTR), also results in great conversion rate.
Schema nowhere affects your SEO rankings, but who knows this might be added to the list factors in future. So I definitely recommend your to go ahead use schema markups, it will definitely helps you in increasing your conversion rates. I will write a complete schema implementation tipsin the next week, so stay tuned.
Using of Styles and Effects:
First impression is the best impression, use the best styles and make richer experience for your visitors, but make sure you do not stuff your pages with too many images or flash contents. Unnecessarily it will increase your page load time and adversely effects your search engine rankings, then what do to?. How to create a richer experience without too many images and graphics?, the solution is simple…
- Make use of CSS3 effects, traditionally if you are still using images for rounded corners, then please stop it and start learning CSS3 seriously or tell your web designer strictly to use the CSS3 effects.
- Make use of “HTML5 Canvas“, for effects and other richer experience.
- Use HTML5 video options to avoid other slow loading flash players.
- Make use of content delivery network, if you are using WordPress you can simply do this by installing and configuring W3 total cache plugin.
I hope that I covered most of the content for website redesigning guide and the SEO effects, please do drop your comments, questions and suggestions in the comments section below. If you have any specific questions, please ask us at our SEO forum.