When building a new website it can be tempting to start completely fresh. The problem? Being fresh also means being unknowable. And this is where an effective SEO transition can save you.
The SEO of your website is currently what’s helping you be seen by the world, assuming your website is already optimised. So when building a new website, you absolutely don’t want to unravel all the hard work you’ve done. Let’s look at why an effective SEO transition is crucial, and how to execute it.
Putting effort into a careful transition will save you hours and hours of work in the future. To save time for yourself, the number one thing to remember is: don’t delete!
“Being fresh also means being unknowable.”
Your old blogs posts may seem useless when it comes to a refresh of your brand, but they are actually adding immense credibility to your site, which takes a long time to gain. Without these blogs or other old content on your site, you’ll lose a massive chunk of value. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to tweak and release new content once your new site is performing. For now, keep that SEO gold where it is.
Pro tip: Save crawl data off your old site to analyse and compare to your new site. Screaming Frog is a good tool for this.
In the same way that not deleting old content saves you time, it also saves you money. Content is absolutely key when it comes to your website as it gives you credibility. Your content is your best asset as you move to a new website. It’s your currency and should be treated as such.
“…it is a lot harder to crawl back lost SEO rankings than it is to maintain them.”
Be sure that when you are transitioning, you invest money in professionals. Web developers, UX designers, content writers, marketing, and of course, an SEO professional will all be needed to make the transition as seamless and beneficial as possible.
Why is it worth putting money in at the time of transition? Because it is a lot harder to crawl back lost SEO rankings than it is to maintain them.
Also, it will prevent revenue loss. This is a huge factor as many online businesses rely on their ranking to get traffic and therefore sales. For many businesses, organic search is their biggest driver of business. Damaging SEO in a redesign is catastrophic for this income stream.
Pro tip: Money spent now is money saved later.
There are many small inconveniences that can occur due to a website transition. Luckily, they can be avoided by remembering the devilish details during the new website build.
- Make a custom 404 page to help users find what they’re looking for
- Track URL changes and be mindful of internal links working
- Control the old domain and redirect it to the new domain for as long as possible
- Mark dates in Google Analytics to monitor changes
- Update everywhere your domain appears: social media and physically
- Make sure there are page titles and meta descriptions for every page, and that they are well-written
Not taking these steps can result in headaches for both you and your customers. A planned, SEO-focussed transition to a new website is as good as two painkillers.
Pro tip: Transition during a slow period for minimum impact on your customers.
Instead of being a source of stress, site transitions should be an opportunity for growth. Yes, a website transition can actually boost the traffic to your website.
This is a chance to fully optimise your site. You most likely already know what your website needs to do and how it needs to look. Now you can put energy into getting the SEO right, leading to higher rankings and ultimately more conversions.
Pro tip: Run a social media campaign to market your exciting refresh to gain extra traction at the time of change.
Be smart about it and take this opportunity to make your new website not only look good but perform well. This is definitely something you want to put effort into from the very beginning instead of scrambling later on.