You’re probably familiar with those ads from the likes of Wix and Squarespace which show how much fun it is to build yourself a flashy new website. It’s pretty much a matter of inserting your logo into the banner, dragging a few cool images into place, writing a headline or two, then clicking “go live”.
As most people know, developing a great website which not only tells a great story about the business but helps visitors solve problems or make buying decisions, is a lot more pain-staking than that.
The decision to go back to the drawing board for your new website involves a long list of factors which need to be carefully considered.
Chances are you’ve had some success with your existing site, but perhaps you’re expanding your service offering, or you just want a different look and feel, or you’ve been told by colleagues that a new site is the way to go. Or maybe your old site really does suck.
Whatever the reason, it’s vital that you perform an SEO Health Check on your website, to ensure that you not only don’t lose existing traffic and rankings, but you boost future opportunities.
Otherwise you could be spending thousands on a site that looks amazing but sits in the Google wasteland.
So, let’s break down a few of the essentials in terms of SEO, that way you can approach any web designer or developer with a set of questions you want answered. Some of this is inevitably technical, so you can always consider chatting with an SEO expert face-to-face.
Benchmark your current site’s SEO performance
We see a lot of site redesigns rip apart what was already doing a pretty successful job SEO wise. Look at your current traffic, conversions, rankings, domain authority and indexed pages on Google. If a particular page or section of your website has been doing well, it might not need a complete overhaul.
This also means undertaking a detailed 301 redirect strategy, which are links from your previous site’s URLs to your new one. You don’t want to lose the rankings you already have, so these 301 redirects can save you from falling completely off search results after launching your new site.
Building your new site architecture and creating content
Most business owners can easily explain what they do and how it benefits customers. However, these explanations aren’t always how online users think of them or want them explained.
It’s absolutely critical that you have every page of your new website mapped out, with an overview of what purpose the page serves, which will be based on current keyword research. Effective SEO at this stage can help build a menu structure and how a user may interact with the site.
Rewriting existing content is inevitable, but we have seen many examples of over-engineered content on new websites which is confusing and full of jargon. Your new content will obviously be geared to your new design and page layouts, but it doesn’t mean going back to square one with what you already have.
Ongoing maintenance and performance enhancements after launch
There’s no such thing as a perfect website when it comes to a launch date. You will discover in the first weeks and months elements which are working and not working.
Google Analytics goes a long way to explaining what’s happening on your site, but you will also want to understand how your competitors are performing, or how much content you need to keep publishing, or what new search terms are popping up.
You may not have the time or resources to manage this, so engaging an expert to manage your ongoing SEO needs will help build your traffic and rankings, and ultimately generate greater commercial opportunities.
Before you make any decisions about your website, take the time to speak to a range of digital experts and ensure they have a complete understanding of the current best practice when it comes to SEO.