Redesigning websites while maintaining their SEO is akin to diamond cutting. One wrong move and you could lose all your organic traffic, not to mention your job.
But in these days of Google penalties, thin content warnings, manual spam actions, UGC spam warnings, etc., it’s often tempting to take a site that has been hit hard, toss it in the garbage and start over again.
The challenge is that if you don’t think through the SEO issues, you are more than likely going to speed up your race to the bottom.
If your site has lost a lot of organic rankings and you are about to change it dramatically, you and the rest of your team may want to read this first.
Do you still have any organic traffic? If so, is that traffic of any value?
While your site may not be generating organic leads the way it used to pre-penalty, it still may be bringing in meaningful business. Before you redo the site, you should understand that you are putting that remaining business at risk if you do not take it into account before you start the redesign.
I was prompted to write this because we recently took on a multi-location lawyer client that had relaunched its site without understanding the SEO implications. Earlier in the year, its old site had lost about 80% of its organic leads.
The site had thousands of “SEO” pages that were basically spun “articles.” The strategy worked well for a year as they kept adding pages and getting more traffic. Until one day it didn’t.
The decision-makers (the web developer and the guy at the firm who was in charge of online marketing but had another day job) had read enough “expert” posts about how to recover from Google penalties to be dangerous, and they …read more