A Simple Guide to Updating Your Website Without Harming SEO
As times change, so must our websites. In order to continue to stay ahead of the competition and provide a service – in the form of a website – that people enjoy using, we must consistently adapt and implement new strategies with respect to website aesthetics and functionality. Unfortunately, making changes like this without prior planning can result in some serious damage to your overall SEO strategy. It is so worrisome for many that they forgo updating their websites at all, and watch their customers and visitors slowly go elsewhere over time. As it turns out, you don’t have to be afraid of changing elements of your website if you learn how to make changes properly. Below, we’ll run through a few simple ways to update your website without harming SEO in the process.
Always Consider the Pages
If you are pinging for SEO in the most ideal way, then you are already filtering through your analytics and insights on a periodic basis to determine which pages are doing well, and which ones might actually be causing damage. As such, you’ve likely removed the dead weight from your domain. When changing the website’s design, URL structure or some other structural element, be sure to understand your metrics and do not begin engaging in a harmful form of “spring cleaning”. Every page that you delete (due to a perception that it is not useful or otherwise not a top performer) can damage your SEO considerably. Likewise, renaming or changing the URL structure of your website without providing redirects from the old ones to the new ones is a disaster waiting to happen. Be sure to take this into account, and a huge part of any potential SEO upset will be avoided.
Do a Site Crawl
As eluded to above, knowing the URL structure of your website before making any changes is important, as is maintaining as much functionality as possible in the event you decide to make any structural changes. We recommend performing a site-wide crawl of all of your pages before making any decisions to alter key parts of the site. This will help you analyse the structure, grab metadata and URL structures in order to be aware of what exactly will be changing in the event of any edit. There are plenty of site crawl tools available on the web that will help you get this done quickly, so there’s no excuse to neglect this part of the process (unless you want negative SEO repercussions, of course).
Take the Time to Improve
While you’re digging through the nitty-gritty elements of your website, now is the perfect time to perform a manual site audit! While you can certainly procure some assistance in this endeavour via site audit tools, those who are capable of doing a manual inspection should opt for this route instead. What should you be looking for (and then correct) in an audit? A few examples include missing and duplicate page titles, missing and duplicate H1 tags, missing or duplicate metadata and descriptions, broken links and any duplicate content. This can drastically improve your success when pinging for SEO and will aid in the overall process of redesigning or altering your website without angering the SEO gods.