9 Website Redesign Mistakes that Destroy SEO

SEO Mistakes During a Website Redesign

Not getting enough traffic, conversions, or other online digital results you’re expecting? 

A fresh new look can do wonders for your brand’s online presence, user experience, and even SEO. However, while working on that fresh new look, avoid common mistakes that could negatively impact your search engine rankings.

This article will discuss common website redesign missteps that can damage SEO objectives. We’ll provide valuable insights and guidance to navigate these challenges so your redesign process can boost SEO performance. 

So, let’s dive in and explore how to make your website redesign a winning endeavor.

1. Not Conducting an SEO Audit Before the Redesign

An SEO audit is an essential step in the redesign process, as it helps identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current website. By analyzing aspects such as keyword usage, site structure, and backlinks, you can develop an informed strategy for your redesign.

Skipping this step may lead to implementing changes that harm your website’s SEO performance, resulting in reduced organic traffic and lost opportunities for growth.

A proper SEO audit should cover:

  • Keyword research to identify top keyword targets
  • What pages are currently in the top 20 spots
  • What pages are getting notable search traffic (regardless of rank)
  • What essential pages aren’t ranking for your identified keywords
  • What keywords don’t have any corresponding pages or content
  • A competitive audit
  • Thin content pages that need to be expanded or removed
  • Dated content that needs to be updated
  • Any technical or structural issues that need to be rectified
  • Opportunities for mark-up

2. Changing URLs Without Proper Redirects

You may decide to restructure or rename specific URLs during a website redesign. 

When changing URLs, it’s crucial to implement proper redirects (such as 301 redirects) to ensure search engines and users can easily find the new pages.

When you don’t, it can lead to broken links, loss of backlink value, and decreased user experience, ultimately hurting your website’s search engine rankings. You also lose out on potential conversions and leads.

3. Ignoring the Website’s Current Ranking

When redesigning your website, it’s important to monitor the keywords and pages that are already performing well. Be sure keywords remain optimized as you work on your redesign.

If you ignore your website’s current ranking, you might accidentally make changes that hurt your SEO. You could remove or alter elements that were helping your website rank higher in search results.

Common mistakes include:

  • Significantly changing high-performing content
  • Considerably reducing the length of high-performing content
  • Failing to migrate internal links
  • Failing to migrate meta descriptions, title tags, and URL structure
  • Significantly increasing page speed
  • Failing to re-add ALT text to images
  • Not migrating mark-up

4. Not Updating Content

Fresh, relevant, and engaging content plays a significant role in attracting and retaining website visitors.

If you don’t update your content during the redesign, you risk providing outdated or inaccurate information to your users, which could harm your credibility. Search engines, like Google, prioritize websites that consistently offer valuable and up-to-date content, which means not updating your content could result in lower search engine rankings.

To make the most of your website redesign, take the time to review and update your existing content. Be sure it remains accurate, informative, and aligned with your target audience’s needs and preferences.

5. Failing to Optimize Images

One aspect that is often overlooked during website redesigns is image optimization. 

Ensuring that images are properly optimized for SEO is essential. This process involves compressing file sizes, using descriptive names, and adding relevant alt text. By doing so, you improve your website’s loading speed and enable search engines to understand and rank your content better.

Overlooking image optimization can lead to slow-loading pages that negatively impact the user experience. Your search engine rankings could also suffer as a result. To maintain a professional and high-performing website, it’s vital to prioritize image optimization throughout the redesign process.

Website redesigns are a great time to switch to new image formats like WEBP and use newer web technologies like responsive images.

6. Not Considering Mobile Optimization

With many users accessing the internet via smartphones and tablets, it has become increasingly important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.

Search engines like Google understand this trend and prioritize mobile-optimized websites in their search results. If you don’t consider mobile optimization during your redesign, you risk losing out on improved search rankings and potential customers.

We recommend using Google Search Console to see how your site is assessed for mobile optimization. This allows you to revisit performance after the redesign to ensure mobile optimization has improved or remained consistent.

7. Not Having an Internal Linking Strategy

Internal linking helps search engines understand your website’s structure and determine the most critical content.

If you don’t have a well-planned internal linking strategy, search engines may struggle to index your website correctly, and users might find it challenging to navigate between different pages. Search engines use your internal linking structure to evaluate page context and importance. Pages with many internal links are considered more important, and you’re teaching the search engines what pieces of content are relevant to each other.

Without a dialed-in internal linking strategy, it can cause a dip in search engine rankings and reduced organic traffic.

Placing internal links within your pages also makes it easier for users to explore your content, which can benefit your search engine rankings and overall user experience.

8. Failing to Consider Site Speed

Getting caught up in the visual aspects and functionality improvements is easy. 

However, it’s equally important to consider site speed. Search engines like Google emphasize page loading times, as slow-loading pages can frustrate users and increase bounce rates.

If you don’t prioritize site speed during your redesign, you might end up with a website that looks great but performs poorly in load times and overall user satisfaction.

\While many tools are available to test your website speed, we recommend using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and Google Search Console. These tools give you a report of page performance as experienced by real users, based on the actual metrics Google uses to assess your website’s performance.

Some effective optimizations include:

  • Lazying loading media
  • Properly sizing images
  • Inlining visible styling in the header
  • Loading javascript in the footer
  • Concatenating and minifying javascript and CSS files
  • Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Preloading external assets domains
  • Prefetching external assets
  • Avoiding animation above the fold
  • Avoiding large media/images above the fold

Ensure that you optimize various elements of your website, such as images, code, and server response times.

9. Not Testing the Website After Redesign

Before you can call it a day, there’s one more important step: testing your website after the redesign. 

Testing is the only step that ensures that all the elements on your site are functioning correctly and that the changes you’ve made haven’t inadvertently affected your SEO performance.

Skipping the testing phase could lead to undiscovered issues impacting the user experience or search engine rankings. To avoid this, you’ll want to check for broken links, verify that your redirects are working correctly, test your site speed, and review the mobile experience.

Ready to Redesign Your Website?

A website redesign is a fantastic opportunity to elevate your online presence and improve your website’s performance. By carefully considering each aspect of the redesign process, including SEO, you set the stage for long-term success.

By honing in on the different elements, you’ll create a website that seamlessly blends aesthetic appeal with outstanding performance, ultimately driving user engagement and improving search engine rankings. If you want professional help for your website redesign, schedule a free consultation with 3.7 Designs.