If you run any kind of modern business, you understand how important a professional-looking website is a today. Running a website requires paying attention to a lot of things. You must fine-tune your content, implement a sleek brand, improve conversions, and master search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your organic reach.
Occasional updates and even overhauls to your online presence go a long way to keeping your company competitive and up-to-date. But website redesigns can heavily impact your WordPress SEO strategy, resulting in a compromised bottom line for your business. It’s common for site traffic to drop, sometimes significantly, when you launch a redesign.
Being a key consideration in any business website, your SEO must evolve alongside your site. While users will always need time to adjust to a new layout, there are steps you can take to make the transition smoother. But how do you stay up-to-date without accidentally losing important information, forgetting SEO best practices, or negatively impacting your organic traffic?
1. Use a Staging Site
You don’t want to look unprofessional to your potential customer base. For that reason, don’t work on your redesign using the live site, as you will likely face issues when working on the layout and content of the new version. Using a staging site through your WordPress hosting, localhost or even a separate domain ensures that no one sees you changing things around while the website is under construction.
Remember to keep your old website fully operational during this time, as shutting it down during the redesign can frustrate new visitors. A common tactic is to:
- Create the redesign on a separate URL.
- Noindex it so that search engines don’t accidentally present it in lieu of the official site.
- Complete the redesign on that separate domain and switch to the new one when ready.
If you are switching to the new domain completely, don’t forget to use 301 redirects, which we will cover next.
2. Add Redirects
If you run a WP website, you cannot avoid redirects. Your website evolves over time, which means you will need to leverage redirects to maintain a consistent navigation experience. There are two types of 300 redirects that web designers must consider:
- 301 redirects are permanent ones designed for use by website visitors and search engines. They’re better for SEO because they transfer inbound links. Most of your work will be dealing with 301 redirects.
- 302 redirects are temporary. You generally want to avoid these for the sake of SEO, though they can be useful if you’re currently updating the website and want a seamless experience for your visitors in the meantime.
Luckily there are plenty of WordPress redirect plugins to choose from that make creating and maintaining your redirections easy. Ideally, you want to use the exact same URLs as your old website. In other cases, use 301 redirects to channel
This article was written by Kyla and originally published on WPExplorer.