So, you’ve decided you’re going to rebuild your website… But, have you thought about how your existing search engine rankings may be affected? If you’re like many people, this probably never even crossed your mind.
Rebuilding your website to offer your audience an updated look/feel, as well as comply with the latest standards, is a great idea… As long as you (or your web developer) is aware of the impact this rebuilt website may have on your existing search engine rankings.
Search engines such as Google, have come a long way… they’re pretty smart these days… But providing the right data/information to search engines after a website rebuild is critical in maintaining/increasing your rankings and exposure.
Here’s a couple things to think about…
1) Page names… If you’re changing your website’s structure and page names (example: product.html to products/product1.html), you will need to provide 301 Redirects from the old page name, to the new one… This tells the search engines where to find the new page. If 301 redirects are not provided, search engines will attempt to continue to access your old page, which will give them a broken link. Talk to you web developer about the importance of 301 redirects… You’d be surprised how many overlook it.
2) With a new design, comes a complete different page of “code” (html, php, etc)… Although search engines have gotten much better at extracting the important data from your page (page topic etc), the code of your pages can also have some impact on how well it performs in search engines. Having an experienced web developer, means they’ll offer the proper testing before/during/after the launch of your website, to monitor the stability of your existing search engine rankings.
3) Sitemaps, Sitemaps, Sitemaps!… A Sitemap is in simplest terms, is a list of pages on your website, accessible by search engine crawlers. Sitemaps tell search engines which pages to crawl, and how often. Whether your old website contained a Sitemap or not, ensuring your new website has one, is critical.
4) Finally, ensure your web developer tests your new website across all major browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome etc)… These browsers often have different compatibility restrictions, and can drastically impact how your website displays for your visitors.
We could go on and on, about things to think about when rebuilding your website, however these are a few of the most important ones. If you have any questions about Web Design, or Search Engine Optimization, we’re all ears… Just give us a call, or drop us a line!