10 SEO Tips for Website Redesign

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Employ descriptive links for both your end-users and search engines

Designers, developers, and marketers understand the value of effective calls-to-action (CTAs). And the best practices confirm that verb-noun pairs work great in terms of setting expectations and enticing action. The problem from an SEO perspective is that this practice can lead to unnecessary repetition.

Homepage CTAs are one of the most important tools to tell Google what content is most important. So, brands should be sure not to litter pages with “Learn more” or “View details” links, and instead, consider providing more content. For example, “Learn about shoe buying” is a far more descriptive link than just “Learn more” for both the end-user and the search engines trying to make sense of the page.

Reduce the number of links on your pages

What copywriters say in links matters and the quantities of links also matters as every link on a page reduces the potential link equity that can be spread to key pages.

This situation can be challenging due to mega-menus and super footers that result when everyone wants a piece of the homepage. Designers can mitigate this problem by avoiding over-linking to pages that are unimportant for SEO. For example, multiple policy pages might be combined into one page. And be diligent when relegating less important links to a sitemap.

Insert only one h1 tag per page

Every page should just one h1 tag it should be specific to the page, the more that matches a user’s potential search query the better. While it may be tempting to rely on a site’s name and branding for content. specifies help. For example, a page called “How to buy a diamond” is more helpful than “How to buy”.

Hand Roll Sitemaps

It sounds old school in a world of XML sitemaps submitted to Google and Bing, but designers want a hand-edited sitemap too. Hand-edited sitemaps give them an opportunity to use different words and phrases that they might use in space-constrained navigation. This is particularity true for multi-national sites with longer words crowding navigation menus.

One example is spelling out common acronyms or using long-form references for key topics versus shorthand ones. This gives search engines more information about pages. Alternatively, if a page name is rooted in important industry jargon, designers can consider descriptors with lay-person language to attract both novices and experts.

Use PDFs Sparingly

Search engines prefer not to send people directly to PDF pages. This does web content a real disservice as it’s a common format for in-depth information like research and specifications. This is the kind of content Google loves. Brands can still have the content available in PDF format for easy offline reading, but by integrating it into the page, marketers greatly expand their unique content footprint.

When using PDFs as lead generation bait, common on B2B sites selling costly software and services, try integrating a strong sampling of the content into the page body to help Google and assist people in deciding whether to download.

Check All Analytics

Redesign often entail shifts in content strategy and information architecture. Before designers revise their navigation, they need to review their analytics. Some long-forgotten pages might be functioning as landing pages and generating valuable organic free traffic. These pages should retain a presence in the sitemap so search engines can continue to find them. While in the analytics system, it’s also a good time to review goals. Some of these pages might not only be generating traffic, they might also be driving real business results and should be elevated, not just retained.

Be Wary of Subdomains

While domain decisions are often the province of IT, there are very real marketing and SEO factors to consider. Google considers a subdomain as an independent domain. As such, a new subdomain will have little to no initial equity in SEO terms.

So, if a company is adding a new platform, particularly if it’s potentially rich in content, like a blog or forum, they will want to add it as a subfolder of the primary domain, not as a subdomain. This way, the primary domain will accrue the SEO value.

Always Be Responsive

Every marketer and designer knows the world has gone mobile, but some may not know that a site’s mobile friendliness is now an SEO factor Google’s preferred approach to mobile-friendly design is responsive web design, which adapts to the user’s viewport size so they see the same experience on their iPhone as they do their ultra-wide monitor. For those considering their approach, a responsive site design will provide customers with a great experience and make Google happy.

Install Webmaster Tools

It might seem counter-intuitive to clean up any of a current site’s SEO issues before a redesign, but the sooner designers get on good footing with Google or Bing the better. Companies should install Google Webmaster Tools and the Bing counterpart to diagnose how well, or not, their current site is being indexed. If any major errors come up, they should be resolved immediately.

Draft Content Carefully

While it can be tempting to give a copywriter free rein to express a brand in unique ways, brands must take care to consider the words and phrasing for those who may want to discover them. Promotional copy that doesn’t align with how people think about a product or solution might play great for those who know a company, but it might not attract Google and could ultimately limit its reach.

 

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