8 Website Redesign Mistakes that Could Hurt Your SEO

The success of any online business depends upon the effectiveness of its search engine optimisation strategies. If you want to reap big revenues from your online store, you should ensure that all your content appears on the first pages of the search engines. Although SEO is such a weighty issue, it is usually not given the attention it deserves during website redesigning. On most occasions, website designers will pay attention to the aesthetics and the physical appearance of the website. Indeed, pretty websites are great to have. But what is the point of having a pretty website that is not visible in search engines?

Ice cream on floor
Photo credit: Sarah Kilian

Usually, website redesigning is a project that requires a lot of technical and financial resources. However, the whole project could fail if you relaunch a website that does not speak the language of search engines. How can you ensure that all the SEO value that your old website had is not only retained but enhanced? How can you ensure that your new website speaks the language of search engines? To answer these questions, you will need to avoid the following SEO mistakes during website redesigning.

1. Treating SEO as an “Only After Design” Practice

The first mistake most website owners make when redesigning their websites is failing to think about SEO right from the word GO! Most designers will push it to the very end of the web designing process or, worse still, leave SEO optimisation duties to individuals less qualified to handle them. As such, they end up creating a website that is poorly optimised for SEO. One important thing that you should understand is that SEO is a team sport whose success depends upon the efficacy of web design and redesign processes.

You are probably wondering where SEO belongs in your website design process. Throughout your website redesign process, you must always think about SEO. From the prospecting phase to the launch date, SEO should always remain one of your top priorities. I recommend that before you kickstart your redesign journey, you first create an ecommerce SEO migration checklist. It will help you become more acquainted with everything that you should do.

2. Having an Unresponsive Web Design

Web design has a tremendous impact on SEO, and any mistake during web redesign could drive your site to failure. To get excellent results from your web redesign efforts, you must create a website appealing to the human eye and the search engine crawlers. The thought that web design is all about aesthetics is misleading and should not be encouraged. The design of your website will affect your online presence. It is, therefore, the key to boosting your presence in search engines.

An excellent web design will yield excellent results in search engine rankings, while a poor web design will hurt your rankings in search engines. What is bad to the human eye is also bad for search engines. If the design of your website is not appealing to the users, then most of your users will leave your website. When search engines realise that people are leaving your website at high rates, they will most likely lower your rankings.

Failing to address an outdated web design is a big mistake that could hurt the success of your SEO.

When redesigning your website, you should invest in quality visuals. This is because quality visuals significantly impact the time a user spends on your site. As the stats indicate, 38% of web visitors will immediately leave a website if they do not find the design of the website attractive. Therefore, having a visually pleasing design will keep visitors on-site for a long time, positively impacting the site’s conversion rates and SEO.

3. Not Implementing a Mobile-friendly design.

Having a mobile-friendly website can have a significant impact on Search Engine Optimisation. Google has reiterated the essence of mobile-friendliness for a long time. In 2015, Google announced an algorithm update for websites that did not give an excellent mobile experience. The impact included a drop in rank in the search engine results pages for non-mobile friendly websites.

The number of people using mobile devices has significantly increased, especially in the recent past. A Statista report shows that there were 3.5 billion mobile users in 2019. This number has been growing since then. If you want to take advantage of the tremendous traffic that is now coming from mobile devices, you better start thinking about making your website more mobile-friendly during your next redesign project.

4. Failing to Integrate Proper Security Protocols

Online security tools, measures, and protocols, or lack of them, can have a significant impact on SEO. Security is not only a concern to SEO specialists and web designers but to all those who use the internet. Behind every click your users make on your website, they leave a trail of personal, sensitive data that needs to be protected at all costs. As such, the security of users’ data and privacy issues have been filtered into every facet of the website design process.

To begin with, designers ought to understand the impact of web security on SEO. Google wants to ensure that all internet users are safe, and their privacy is protected from any intrusions. An insecure website could easily compromise users’ data and privacy. That is a reason enough to make your website drop in search engine ranks.

To ensure that your website is secure and capable of protecting users’ data and showing your users that you have done all that is necessary to protect them, you will need to switch to HTTPS. To do that, you will need to purchase and install an SSL certificate. In 2015, Google announced an SSL certificate on a website would be used as one of the key factors to rank websites. Additionally, it is used as a tiebreaker when two or more websites have equaled in all the other ranking factors.

To ensure that you soar into the top search engine pages, you will have to purchase and install an SSL certificate. You must ensure that you integrate SSL installation as part of your website redesign process. Never relaunch a website that could easily compromise user data or privacy.

5. Failing to conduct a SEO Audit on Your Old Website

Another SEO mistake most designers make during a website redesign is failing to conduct an SEO audit on their previous site. An SEO audit will help you discover some of the areas that need improvement. It will also help you discover some of your previous website’s errors, which were a threat to SEO. Additionally, the SEO audit will help you know which part of your SEO strategy is working and which one is not working. After having a glimpse of what you lack in terms of SEO, you will have to develop a seamless website redesign strategy that addresses all faulty issues discovered from the SEO audit.

6. Failing to Consult Your UX Team

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Photo credit: Harpal Singh

Redesigning your website is teamwork that requires players from across the board. It is not a task that should be left solely to the web designers. One of the most vital team players in redesigning an SEO-optimised website is the UX team. The primary goal of a website is to maximize user experience. When redesigning your website or working on positive SEO, you must ensure that you keep your users engaged and encourage them to take action.

Enabling your web visitors to find exactly what they are looking for and having obvious and intuitive paths that allow users to find what they are looking for will maximise user experience. A good user experience will increase the number of satisfied customers. This will have a positive impact on your SEO.

7. Failing to Transfer Blogs and Article from Your Old Site to the New Site

When redesigning your website, you must take a critical step to ensure that you transfer all valuable blog content, articles, white papers, videos, and images, from your old site to your new site. Although it is a daunting task, transferring your valuable content is significant to retaining your current SEO value.

Blog pages and articles that your customers found interesting and captivating on your old website will still have SEO value on your new website. You should know that redesigning your website is just meant to improve your old website and has nothing to do with coming up with something completely new. All you need to do is add a few critical keywords to your existing content to improve your new site’s organic web traffic.

8. Failing to Carry Out Redirect Mapping Properly

When redesigning a website, it is crucial to ensure that the URLs from your previous website correspond with those of your redesigned website. Doing so will ensure that any website visitor who clicks on an old link would not get the 404 error. Most web designers ignore some web pages from old websites because they do not generate maximum traffic like the top pages. However, no matter how little traffic a page generates, you must redirect all the web pages of your website. To avoid making SEO mistakes, you should redirect old content to a new web page with similar copy.

The Bottom Line

Redesigning and launching a new website can be a daunting task, especially if you try to preserve your SEO value from your old website. If you can avoid these SEO mistakes, then you can be sure to quickly align your new site’s search engine rankings with your old website’s performance. Proper planning and budgeting for the redesign process is the right way to go. You should also ensure that you get an experienced website designer. A good website designer will help you relaunch a perfect website that will add more value to your SEO and improve your rankings in search engine results pages.

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