DON’T DO IT: Careless site redesign. Before you redesign your company site, work with your SEO firm to identify how the new design will affect search visibility. Many web designers are great at making sites look nice, but they are always not as well seasoned in SEO and conversion disciplines. Everything from page layout, to content and keyword usage, navigation, links and redirects have a major impact on your SEO. Launching a new, “prettier” site may be exciting, but if the site isn’t designed with SEO considerations in mind, you may actually get LESS from your website than you were getting before the redesign.
DON’T DO IT: Install a new CMS without a plan. A change in your content management system means a change in the templates that format Web pages, navigation, and often the URL structure of pages. If your site is ready for a complete overhaul and every piece of it can comfortably be a thing of the past, by all means. But, for example, if some of your current site pages are ranking very well with the search engines for competitive keywords, tweaking those URLs or the page copy could compromise the integrity that page has built up over time – that integrity that is causing it to rank. Don’t put yourself back at ground zero if you don’t need to. Make sure you have an SEO migration plan in place, including an outreach program to your top sources of inbound link traffic.
DON’T DO IT: Allow inbound links to dwindle. Monitor fluctuations in inbound link counts and identify ways to minimize link loss through active content creation, promotion and social participation. Keep in mind, you will need to contact inbound link sources should your site pages not auto-redirect. Don’t leave them sending interested visitors to a 404!
DON’T DO IT: Create duplicate content. Regarding press releases, RSS feeds or articles that are syndicated, always make sure the original is published on your site first. Then be sure to clearly link any duplicates back to the original. Duplicate content is, to put it nicely, frowned upon by search engines, like Google. Don’t use dupe content on pages throughout your website and don’t “buy” copy from companies that are willing to sell it to multiple others. Content marketing doesn’t work if everyone else is saying the same thing.
DO IT: Cover all redesign bases. If you are redesigning your site, you are investing a lot of time, money and resources into its development. So do it right. Explore your existing site and figure out what needs to be migrated along with your domain name. Seek out help from SEO and conversion experts to ensure your new site is designed and coded for success. Equip your site with great, original and targeted content. Be engaging and interactive. Be fresh. Obey proper usability and accessibility standards. Have a migration plan. User test. User test again. Sleep on it. And never be afraid to consult the experts.