We have been pushing the “baked in” SEO strategy since 2009. There are a number of things that need to be done while your website is being designed and coded to maximize your onsite SEO and search engine readiness. The list below will help you after a redesign to ensure it is done properly.
Pro tip: Read our blog on how to select a web developer.
Key Elements of Web Design That Impact Your SEO
- Site architecture and link structure are very important for your ongoing SEO. One of the most common mistakes we have seen made by website design companies is a disregard for the existing URL structure. URL structure refers to your web page names and the taxonomy of the site. Changing page names and structure, even when done properly, typically results in a heavy hit to your search traffic. Most of the time it is not done properly.
- Key Takeaways
- Have your web design firm keep the existing page names and URL structure if possible.
- Ask them to justify any changes.
- Make sure they are using 301 Redirects for any page names that they change.
- If pages that change have inbound links (links from other websites) make sure your web design team makes an effort to get the linking website to update to the new link.
- Key Takeaways
- Image names are important. We often audit websites that are having SEO issues after they had a redesign. One client saw their traffic drop by 80%. Every one of their product images we inserted into the new site as image1.jpg, image2.jpg, image3.jpg and so on. Their old site had all of their products named to match the products like Justin-workboots-style-2001b.jpg. Name your images to match the content. Meaningful image names are important.
- Alt text for images has functionality beyond SEO. “The required alt attribute specifies an alternate text for an image, if the image cannot be displayed. The alt attribute provides alternative information for an image if a user for some reason cannot view it” cite. Using ALT text is Best Practice. Google expects alt text that defines your image.
- Page titles are important. Before your new web design firm does any changes to your site, they should do a detailed SERP report. They should check which of your pages are high ranking for your target keyword phrases and which pages garner the most search traffic. When they recreate these pages, they should try to keep the page name, the page title, and the headline structure the same for these pages.
- Key Takeaways:
- High traffic pages should be treated with kid gloves.
- Keep high traffic pages and high traffic pages mostly the same as it relates to content, images, page names and page titles.
- Not paying attention to this could cost you a lot of your daily traffic and probably a lot of revenue.
- Key Takeaways:
- Internal links need to be updated. Linking between your own pages allows for users and search engines to locate relevant information quickly. We often see website redesigns that fail to include internal links or they copy the content from the old web site and do not make sure the links still work.
- bring up internal linking with the web design company.
- double check your internal links once your site is live.
- add internal links where needed.
- Micro schema or structured data is a way to define data based on a preset vocabulary. See Schema.org. Most of what Google stores is unstructured data and they are great at deriving information from the blobs of text all over the internet. Structured data is, when used properly, definitive. There is no guesswork needed to determine your name, address, and phone if it is present in a Schema. If you rely on local search to drive business, make sure your web design firm uses structured data in your code.
If you make sure that your web design firm pays attention to these key items, your move should go smoothly. There are a lot of other little issues with site redesigns as it relates to SEO. If your site has lost visitors after a redesign, check this list against your site. We are here to help if you need assistance.