Overhauling a website – your plan of action

Overhauling a website is now a days becoming a part of marketing strategy and good brands are keep doing that on recurrent basis and there are some good reasons for that:

  1. Your competitors changed their website and if they make changes that improve their rankings substantially and end up pushing you down in searches, it’s likely time to make counter alterations to your site.
  2. You want to incorporate a better content strategy with continuing changes to the algorithms of search engines, you’d be smart to implement a solid content plan. Quality content is the best means to keep the visitors engaged. It could be a text, image, audio, video, some quiz or game.
  3. The purpose of your site has changed with change in marketing strategy. If your site’s purpose has changed, update its layout to be more in line with your goals.
  4. Your company has grown, whether in your physical store locations or online, and you need to expand to accommodate this growth. Sometimes it is even more important if a particular geography has some special needs.
  5. Your website just doesn’t work and is more dysfunctional probably with confusing navigation, important content being hidden, user finds difficult to get basic information like contact, out-dated products/services information and so on.
  6. You aren’t getting the results you want irrespective of fact that your website gorgeous, functional, and pixel-perfect. If its not keep engaging the visitors or generating leads or matches with your company’s goal and vision, you need to think on redesigning some sections.
  7. Your site isn’t responsive. Responsive designs is need on hour today and Mobile users have made it clear they want to have a great UX on their mobile devices and want similar experience across all delivery channels.
  8. Your third-party tools are outdated and this can seriously drive away the customers drastically. Consider a scenario if lead generation form hosted on third party stops working.

Here are some steps that should be taken care of while overhauling a website:

  1. Crawl your website – there’s always a good chance that the URLs will change while redesign your website or some sections of it and you surely won’t want to destroy your existing SEO rankings gained so far. If URLs change, you absolutely have to inform the engines where those older URLs have moved to. Overlooking this will add a risk of wiping out equity those old URLs have built up over period of time, there by resulting in your rankings drop, organic search traffic drops, sales & revenue drops. That’s why understanding all of your current URLs is critically important and is highly recommend you crawl your own site. Several free and online tools are available to help you on this like Screaming frog.
  2. Perform Inbound Link Analysis – Know the pages linking to you, and where they are linking is critically important and these Inbound links are incredibly crucial for building SEO power. There’s a huge risk in losing those powerful inbound links if you change your URL structure. You need to make sure  developers understand that those pages must be migrated and utilize 301 redirects appropriately. There are several tools you can use to perform an inbound link analysis, including Open Site Explorer and Majestic SEO Tools.
  3. 301 Redirection plan – This is the heart of our overhauling activity from SEO standpoint and you need to make sure all of your older pages 301 redirect to their newer counterparts. 301 redirects will safely pass PageRank from your older pages to the newer ones, and will enable you to maintain your Search Equity. If you fail at this stage, your trending could very well look like a downward graph.For URLs that won’t have relevant pages on the new site, you can start dropping them early. You can either:
    • Remove the page and send a 410 (Gone) response for those pages to inform search engines they’re gone. This is a quick way to start dropping bad content from the site for pages you aren’t going to need.
    • Add below meta tag for pages required for the old site but which won’t exist in the new site:
      <meta name="robots" content="noindex" />
  4. Analyze Site Reporting – When redesigning or migrating your website, you should absolutely analyze your current site reporting. Specifically, you can focus on the top content, landing pages, and referring sites reports. They will help you gain a solid understanding of which pages are visited most, which are the top landing pages, and which pages are receiving the most referring traffic. And by the way, if you have landing pages receiving referring traffic, then that means there are external links pointing to those pages.
  5. Don’t stop , keep optimizing – You have strong rankings and traffic, and life is good but this is not sustainable. You need to keep optimizing to beat your competitors, keep visitors engaged or probably think of another overhaul in near future. The process continues….
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