KeepYour Page Rank and SEO Intact
Moving your site or working on a site redesign? Don't make the same mistake that many companies make by not going through the right steps before you do any major work on your site. Neglecting to do things the right way can result in a major loss of natural traffic, and some punishment from search engines like Google.
Know What's On Your Site
The number one mistake that most companies make while moving a site is not knowing what was on the original site. Go through every single page, link, and subject on your site. Why? If you change any URL around, you have to let Google know that the location of the URLS have changed. What happens if you don't? You can wave goodbye to your SEO efforts and site rankings.
The best way to comb through a site is to use a site crawler like Screaming Frog. After your site has been crawled, send those results to everyone that's working on your site redesign.
KeepYour Page Rank and SEO Intact: 301 Redirect
This part is simple to understand: all of your old site pages have to redirect to the new locations. This is the only way to maintain the search rankings that you already have. If you miss this step, your rankings will slide fast.
Links Linking To Your Page
Inbound links do a lot for your current search rankings. Find out where those links are coming from, and what pages on your site those links are linking to. Then, ask your developer to migrate these pages. If your developer has no idea what you are talking about – get a new one. You can also use inbound link tools like Open Site Explorer to test out those inbound links.
Keep Everything Optimized
For some reason, site owners tend to drop optimization when moving or redesigning a site. Take a look at your optimization plan, make sure all the pages on your new site are optimized, and analyze the content on your site for optimization using a tool like SEO Site Tools. Optimization is a huge part of moving any site. Skip the optimization part, and you will have a big problem on your hands.
Tell Google You Are Moving
Kind of like telling your neighbors you're moving and providing a forwarding address, you should tell Google that you are moving your site. Guess what? This is easy to do too! All you have to do is go into Google Webmaster Tools (set up an account if you don't have one), and look at the righthand column. You will see a ‘Site Configuration' menu that includes some dropdown selections.
Select ‘Change of Address' from that dropdown menu, and then fill out the form provided. That's it! Google now knows that you have moved, and this makes keeping your page rankings simpler.
Don't Confuse ‘Developer' With ‘SEO Expert'
You wouldn't hire the same person to market a new product and design that product, right? So, why hire a site designer that acts as an SEO expert? Don't push SEO aside. Putting the right team together is more than half of the “let's make this site redesign work” battle.
Got questions? Ask away!