10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid During a Website Redesign
Redesigning a website can be a huge project, with hundreds of technical, financial, creative, operational, and strategic decisions to think through. From planning out your goals to building your site from the ground up, it can take months of planning, designing, writing, and developing before you can show off your masterpiece to the world.
One key to making sure your launch goes off without a hitch is to ensure your website speaks the language of search engines—or SEO. How do you make sure that any SEO value you’ve built up with your old website is not only retained, but also enhanced in a new website? Here are 10 SEO mistakes to avoid when redesigning your website.
Mistake #1: Redesigning Without Goals
Before you start designing or mapping out content, you need to ask yourself: What are the primary goals and objectives for this new website?
If you plan to use your website to generate sales leads, your content and user experience need to align with your conversion paths, helping to nurture visitors into leads. This is a key element of inbound marketing programs. To find leads, you’ll want to generate awareness by increasing traffic. This means more blogging, premium content creation, social sharing, and reasons to keep people coming back. There is no one-size-fits-all website. So when discussing a redesign with your team, think through these core elements:
Goal of Redesign: What does success look like in 3-6 months?
Personas: Who are your ideal customers? Depending on your business, you may have several types of ideal prospects.
Buyer’s Journey: What are the core phases that a prospect experiences when making a decision to purchase a product like yours?
Key Elements: What are must-have features and components to help us accomplish our goals?
Mistake #2: Not Capturing Data
Now that you’ve made the decision to redesign your site, you should establish metrics based on the performance of your old website. These analytics benchmarks can be found in HubSpot or Google Analytics and will help you set goals for the new site, as well as overall business growth.
Some examples of the types of data include:
- B2B publishers who monetize based on ad revenue will likely be more concerned with benchmarking time spent on site, overall visits, and average banner clickthrough rates.
- A B2C company might only care about visitors to sales conversions of a certain product, focusing the entire user experience toward it right away.
- Or, a service-based organization may be more concerned with lead generation for their sales team and spend more time educating and raising awareness outside of its brand.
From an SEO perspective, in order to retain link equity and any value you’ve built on your current domain, you’ll want to benchmark these metrics at a minimum:
- Total traffic (from organic search, referrals, etc.)
- Conversion rates (ideally, each step between traffic and customers)
- Which pages are getting organic traffic (usually mapped to the best keywords)
- Usage metrics (geography, bounce rate, time on site, etc.)
- Inbound links (the sites that are linking back to you)