How to Retain Your Search Engine Ranking After a Complete Website Redesign?

To maintain all of your new website’s SEO power, follow these steps.

5 min readOct 19, 2022
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

The importance of a polished website in the current business world is something every successful entrepreneur knows. In order to keep a website up and running, you need to focus on several different factors. To expand your audience without paying for ads, you need to perfect your content, brand, conversions, and SEO.

Keeping your business competitive and relevant requires regular updates and sometimes complete overhauls of your web presence. WordPress SEO strategies may be severely impacted by website redesigns, which can negatively affect your bottom line. When you introduce a makeover, your site traffic will likely decrease.

Since search engine optimization is crucial for every commercial website, it’s important to keep up with the times. Although consumers will always need some time to acclimate to a new layout, there are techniques to make the process easier for everyone involved. But how can you maintain a state of readiness without losing data, overlooking SEO-recommended practices, or otherwise damaging your organic traffic?

Use a Staging Site

The last thing you want is for your prospective clientele to see that you’re not serious about your business. Avoid making changes to the live site while working on the redesign, since doing so is likely to cause problems. Keeping your website’s under-construction tweaks hidden from view is easy when you set up a staging area on your WordPress hosting, on localhost, or under a different domain.

Incorporate Redirections

The use of redirects is a necessary evil for every WordPress site owner. As your site develops, you’ll need to make use of redirects to keep the flow of navigation unchanged. Web developers need to think about two distinct sorts of 300 redirects:

All visitors and search engines should employ 301 redirects since they are permanent. Since they propagate incoming links, they aid search engine optimization. You will spend most of your time managing 301 redirects.

A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect. These are something you should want to avoid for search engine optimization purposes, but they may be handy if you’re in the middle of a website redesign and want visitors to have a smooth experience while the site is under construction.

Because of the abundance of available WordPress redirect plugins, setting up and managing redirects is a breeze. It is recommended that you use the same URL structure as your previous site. To ensure that users of your old website are sent to your new and improved one, utilize 301 redirects. This method notifies search engines that a page’s URL has changed while ensuring that users may still access the same content.

Also, check the functionality of any high-quality backlinks that point to your site; they might improve your site’s search engine rankings. Make an effort to get in touch with the proprietors of other websites to request that they modify their hyperlinks to reflect your overhaul. Setting up 301 redirects to accommodate existing backlinks is necessary for the many circumstances when this is not achievable.

Any references to the old URL will take you to the new one automatically. Instead of just redirecting to the new homepage, which is likely to annoy visitors, make sure that existing links flow to the correct page or at least a comparable page on the redesign. It’s important to properly verify redirection, either in the browser or using a crawling tool.

Maintaining Frequent Backups of WordPress

Any WordPress expert will tell you that backing up your work is essential for avoiding problems in the future. If you’ve been diligent about backing up WordPress, you shouldn’t lose any of your hard work if you move to a new domain and lose your top-performing content. Most websites can get by with a weekly backup frequency.

Keep an archive of your sitemap from the first iteration. Keeping a copy of the original will come in handy when it comes time to configure redirects and track down lost content. If you don’t, your site’s ranks will suffer, and you’ll see a drop in organic visitors.

How to Handle Pages That Are Missing

Avoid fixing something that isn’t broken. To avoid losing out on potential rankings, it is important to ensure that all of the high-ranking material from your previous site has a page equivalent in the redesign.

This rule holds true even if the material undergoes radical modifications as you work with it. Check the updated photos, text, and user interface for quality, making sure to look out for things like broken links and missing material. You should have a duplicate of your sitemap on hand for this same purpose, so that you can quickly and easily see current pages and ensure that you don’t leave any out in your redesign.

Create Error 404 Pages

When rebuilding a website, it’s fairly unusual for certain pages to disappear by mistake. Maintaining a 404 page ensures that visitors and search engines may continue navigating the website even if a particular page is no longer available.

Visitors who see a 404 error will appreciate being offered a search bar and main menu as a means of navigating away from the page. Some sites may use a humorous or straightforward approach to the 404 page in an effort to ease visitor annoyance.

Keep on Investigating and Checking

Always keep in mind that big redesigns of a website’s style or the addition of new content will likely result in a temporary increase or decrease in visitor metrics. Analytical tools allow you to monitor the success of your makeover.

Determine whether people are satisfied with the update by comparing bounce rates, search engine rankings, and the number of visitors. Check to see whether the pages are properly recording page views and landings.

Seasonality should be taken into account. Find out whether there are any seasonal variations in traffic by looking at past records. More people will visit the ice cream shop’s website in the summer than at any other time of year.

Keep the previous domain active for at least another 180 days, since this is the time frame suggested by Google before making a complete switch.

Page views, clicks, and other metrics may all be monitored with the use of tools like Google Search Console. It also does a great job with 301 and 404 redirects. Simply go to the site’s Search Traffic > Search Analytics page. You may also integrate it into your WordPress administration panel by connecting your Google and WordPress accounts using Site Kit.

Bring Google My Business Up-to-Date!

After a revamp, Google My Business (GMB) should also be a priority. It is important to keep your GMB page updated with any brand, service, or company-wide changes.

By using GMB, companies may boost their positions in local search results. It may help local service firms be seen by potential customers and rise to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) in their immediate vicinity, particularly if they get the desired map pack positioning.

Website updates and redesigns are inevitable in the current business world, but they might derail the hard-won success you’ve enjoyed thanks to your site’s excellent search engine rankings if not handled carefully. To keep up with the ever-changing algorithms used by search engines and to guarantee that your company isn’t left behind, use these SEO best practices.

The best strategy is to use a professional website design service so that you can focus on other important aspects of your business.