How to plan Search Engine Optimization (SEO) into your website redesign
Can’t get around as easily anymore.
A lot of extra stuff hanging around.
Can’t do anything you really need.
My wife probably thinks I’m writing about myself, but I’m really writing about your website. It was optimized for a dial-up modem connection and viewing on Netscape. Okay, so it may not be that bad but you’ve finally decided it’s time for a website redesign. You’re investing a lot of time, money and energy on it, so you want everything done right, including Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
While improving your SEO or Serch Engine Optimization should be an on-going project, there are a few items to consider before and during your website re-design. By considering SEO from the start of the project, you can save possible headaches down-the-road with site design changes. Here are a few search engine optimization tips to consider throughout the website redesign process:
Review your current website’s statistics
It may be old and clunky but your current website hopefully can give you a lot of information to use in your redesigned website. With any luck, your current site has tracking software installed, like Google Analytics, that can give you some insights into what is working and what’s not.
- Visitor Numbers – See how many visits, new visitors, unique visitors, page views that your current site gets.
- Keywords – See what are your top performing keywords in terms of rank, traffic and lead generation
- Inbound linking domains – Who is linking to your site?
- Number of pages indexed
- Which pages receive traffic? Which pages don’t get any website traffic?
When you are informed about how your existing website is performing, you can feel comfortable about decisions regarding which pages should stay or go and which pages should be reorganized/revamped.
Yes, keywords and keyword phrases are important. No you shouldn’t throw them around your website with reckless abandon. Stuffing the keyword box is no longer the way to search engine success. In fact, if Google thinks you are blatantly overusing keywords in your website, your rankings could take a hit.
If you are creating high-quality content like Google wants you to, keywords should naturally work their way into your website. Google has this to say on the matter:
“When you are informed about how your existing website is performing, you can feel comfortable about decisions regarding which pages should stay or go and which pages should be reorganized/revamped.”
You know that your website needs to be “mobile-friendly” but how? Mobile-Responsive design is Google’s preferred configuration for mobile-optimized websites. With mobile-responsive websites, the urls, content and code remain the same across different devices, only the styling changes. This isn’t the case with other mobile configurations, like setting up a mobile-only site. See how Mobile Responsive works
Don’t overlook this important part of your website and redesign. Search Engines and users prefer when the URL makes it easy to understand what the web page is all about. Long, complicated urls that are computer generated don’t help your SEO or the user. If the url doesn’t align with the content of the page, you need to reconsider your url structure.
Descriptive URLs also give you another chance to “tag” your page or post with a keyword or keyword phrase. In general, when creating URLs, use dashes in between words instead of underscore. Google views dashes as new words while it sees underscores as a continuation. So use dashes instead of underscore.
Want to learn more about Seach Engine Optimization? Download our free 17 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind in 2015.