Image from @boetter via Flickr
You have a beautiful and functional redesigned website that your organization has invested months in user research, design and testing. You’re getting close to launching the redesigned website soon. But wait! You’re going to spill the link juice.
The basic concept with link juice, is the more credible websites that link to your site, the higher you will be in the Google search result pages (SERP). Imagine if your site had a different structure or you went from HTML pages to PHP pages. All of the sites that link to you (including Google) would be linking to broken pages and get 404 errors. This will affect your site negatively in Google.
Here are some points to add to your redesign checklist:
- Make a list of most visited pages using your analytics took
- See which pages are indexed in Google by typing site:www.yourdomain.com in the Google search box
- Create 301 redirects for your critical pages and those in Google. A 301 redirect tells search engines that this is a permanent link update.
- For those pages that fall through the cracks, make sure a custom 404 page is created the explain the website has been redesign and ask them to update their bookmarks. Then point people to various aspects of your website, including your search.
- Create and submit an update XML sitemap to Google
We’re in the middle of a redesign, and I will update this post in 3 – 6 months to indicate how effective this points were.
What do you recommend considering when redesigning a website to maintain SEO?