Redesigning your website is an essential part of keeping your marketing up to date. This is because technology, trends and user expectations change over time. If you want to stay top of the game, you must keep pace with these changes. However, certain website redesign mistakes can present risks when it comes to SEO.
Many things can go wrong in the process. These issues can cause search engines to no longer view that website as the answer to relevant searches. In some cases, certain errors can even result in penalties. This is something no one wants.
So, this week, we are going to look at some of the common web design mistakes that can destroy your SEO. Being aware of these potential risks could help you to avoid making the mistakes that can affect your organic search traffic.
Website Redesign Mistakes: Leaving the Development Environment Indexable
People face development environments in different ways. Most set up a subfolder under their domain. Some create a domain strictly for development. Then there’s those who are extra precautious and hide their development environment as much as possible.
Search engines often follow links and index the content found along the way. This can even happen when you tell them not to. This causes problems as they could index two versions of the same website. Due to this, you should place as many roadblocks as possible to prevent search engines from accessing your development environment.
Use a clean URL that has never been used for a live website so no links point to it. Then, disallow all bots from using robots.txt. Afterwards, create an empty index page so other folders can be seen. From there, create a separate folder for each website in development. WordPress will then be installed in these folders and configured to also block bots at this level.
Arbitrarily Changing Image Names on Well Raked Pages
Though not always an issue, if a page is ranking well then you don’t want to risk changing an image. This is a common occurrence, as part of a redesign process, many people replace images with new, larger images. However, those without experience tend to use names for these images that hold zero SEO value.
Deleting Pages or Changing Page URLs without a Redirect
Some pages may no longer be needed in a redesign. Fewer experiences web designers often delete them, and others may be moved or renamed. In these cases, the URL is likely to be changed. However, if these pages rank well, you could be making a big mistake. You are likely to lose all of the SEO value from those links. This could result in a drastic loss of ranking.
However, it goes beyond this. Anyone clicking those links will be greeted by a 404 page, serving no value to anyone. What’s more, it creates a negative user experience. The best way to delete pages it to redirect them to the most relevant page that currently exists. As for moving pages, it’s really important to redirect the old URL to the new one. A 301 redirect should be used for both scenarios. This tells search engines that the old page has been moved.
Not Performing a Full Crawl after Migration to and from the Development Environment
No matter the migration method, you’re bound to face some errors. You will usually first migrate the live website into your development environment. Then, you will send it back to the live server once you’ve made and tested changes.
But sometimes, when you migrate the completed website to the live server, the content in pages and posts may still contain links to the development environment. Fortunately, there are tools that can help with that. Be sure to review all links to external sources once the new website has been migrated. Any links to your development environment will appear as external links.
Failing to Perform a Complete Function Check on Everything
Once a redesigned website is on the live server, you need to look in depth to see what everything is okay. Physically test everything to make sure it looks right and functions properly.
Failing to Reconfigure WordPress and Plugins After Migration to the Live Server
It’s extremely important to take down your crawler wall after migrating the website to the live server. Failing to do so is easy and devastating. Because of the impact of this kind of mistake, it’s critical to check the WordPress configuration after migrating to the server. Don’t forget about your plugins too!
Talk to Search and More
Of course, all of this information could be quite overwhelming. If you think that you would be much more comfortable having a team of experts do the migrating for you, then look no further. Get in touch with Search and More today to see how we can help.