SEO Checklist for a Website Redesign Planning Guide
It's important to have a plan when starting a website redesign because leaving out important changes can affect your ranking in search engines. One of the most important changes is to make sure you incorporate SEO or Search Engine Optimization so you'll have a better chance for higher keyword ranking in search engines.
Some website owners want to keep their original layout and just need the code cleaned up or the site optimized for better search engine ranking. Others will want a complete new design so all of the following may not apply to your situation:
The following is a redesign plan for a small businesses without a shopping cart:
- Determine your preferred target audience and design your pages accordingly.
- Design quality pages that will encourage people to link to them without asking
- Use unique titles on all pages with your main keywords for those pages
- Unique description tags on all pages (appears in search engine results)
- Using unique and relevant headers and sub headers
- Making sure all image alt tags are filled in
- Using unique text on the page focusing on your preferred keywords (no rabbit trails)
- A Navigation menu that is indexable
- Cleaning up code bloat, deprecated and broken code,
- Removing black hat techniques like keyword stuffing and over-optimiazation
- Reduce the size of images, slideshows, videos to prevent a long download time.
- Making sure any important words in images are also on the page text.
- Checking to make sure the website displays properly in all browsers
- Looking for backlink problems that caused a Google Penguin Penalty
- Checking for hosting problems that hamper ranking
- Check for broken links and validate the code
- Set up a sitemap and robots.txt
- Correcting Geo-Location issues
- Making sure there are plenty of options to contact the site owner
- Set up social networking
- Evaluate backlinks and correct bad linking practices
- Look for scrapers stealing your content
- Set up Google analytics and Google Search Console accounts.
Correct file names with Htaccess
One of the biggest problems I've seen is designers don't know how to use an htaccess file when removing old files or changing file names. Search engines need to be told when a page is removed or the name changed and this is done with redirects so they will un-index them or index them properly. However these changes should be used with caution as it can take several weeks for search engines to reindex your pages and for ranking to improve. An error in the code can also cause the whole site to go down.
- Removing capitals from file names
- Removing underscores from file names and replace with hyphens
- Taking numbers out of filenames and replacing with keywords.
- Moving pages to the root instead of deep within folders
- Removing pages no longer on the website
- Fix canonical problems
- Redirect search engines to the www version of your domain.
- Redirect home page (index.html) to your domain root ("/")
- Remove duplicate content
- Set your site up for extensionless URLs
The cost of redesigning a website depends on the skills of the designer and the features you want on your website. Programmers (who design shopping carts, databases and software) and graphic artists (who design fancy graphics) usually charge a lot more than your general web designer. Also keep in mind that programmers and graphic artists rarely understand SEO and that factor alone can cripple a website without a SEO friendly shopping cart. So if you don't need a lot of bells and whistles you already have your graphics you may be able to get a site redesign at a reasonable price by just hiring a general web designer.
SEO is a Must
With any website redesign one of your most important requirements will be someone who understands SEO or search engine optimization because without it your site may not rank in the search engines for your preferred keywords. See the rates page for prices or the responsive web design portfolio page for samples. You may also need a Detailed SEO Analysis Reports before you start the redesign of your website:
or call Lori at 509-397-6000 for more information.
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