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If I’m redesigning my site, when should I start thinking about SEO and what happens to my rankings if I am changing my URL?
If you’re considering a redesign on your website, start thinking about SEO now. And if you’ve already started your redesign, stop in your tracks and make sure that your SEO strategy has been adequately planned for in your design.
The key to any good marketing plan is to know your target customer and SEO marketing is no different. You need to research want people are searching. This will help you to customize your content, attract more visitors to your website and to do more business.
By creating a site that has been customized to your potential customers, you not only attract more clicks through to your site, but you ultimately give a better customer experience to the visitors on your site because you are offering the content that they are searching for – in other words, you are speaking their language.
When redesigning your website, it is of utmost importance that you do not loose whatever standing you have already gained in search engines. Just because you are refreshing your website, doesn’t mean that you have to go back to square one in your SEO. There are two important considerations: files indexed by the search engines, and files which are already linked to by other sites.
When you redesign your site, take care to preserve the file names of pages that are already indexed by the major search engines – especially those indexed by Google.
By preserving the file structure, you will not only speed up the process of getting any new content indexed, but you will also avoid the problem of people finding dead links on the search engine. And if other websites have linked to specific pages on your site, do your best to ensure that those links are preserved as well.
If you are changing your URL, it is going to affect your search engine rankings, but there are steps you can take to minimize this. Google has taken the lead in dealing with URLs that change and will quickly index the new file with virtually no interruption if you follow some fairly straightforward procedures.
Most importantly, you must take the time to ensure that all links to your old page from directories and other websites are updated. This is the most difficult part, but it is also and essential part.
Once your new site is up and running, you may place a permanent redirect using a ‘301’ code in http headers on your old site to inform visitors and search engines that your site has moved.
If you have thousands of files on your site and you don’t have the time to redirect every single file from the old domain name to the new one, you should at a minimum redirect the files that have been indexed by the major search engines. There are a number of online tools available that can help you with this.