Planning to redesign the website? Read this first!

I can’t tell you how many websites I have consulted. Without revealing a word to the SEM team, the website owner relaunched a brand new website. Sometimes it is just a simple superficial change, but more often it is a brand new website with new page naming conventions and a new folder hierarchy. In this article, I will try to explain how to minimize the impact on search engine rankings when redesigning.

A typical scenario

I believe that most are familiar with SEM:

one day you received a panicked phone call from the customer. 鈥淢yThe ranking is gone, what did you do? My search engine also doesn’t have any recommendations! Holmium

So the first thing I do is go to the website guessed how? It’s different from a few days ago. So I asked the client: How did you redesign it? Holmium

holmium two days ago. Why? Holmium

holmium Qu That’s the problem. You redesigned it without discussing it with me. You gave the search engine a new website. This means that the engine must relearn the website and how it works. Holmium

Please note that I have not dealt with this issue for some time, but I remember the case had this happened in the past. So, my first suggestion for anyone planning to redesign, no matter how small, contact your local SEM or SEO professional for their opinions.

Even a simple re-skinning of your website can have a huge impact on rankings.

Even a simple change will affect the ranking of the website?

Let me explain why:

First, let’s look at Google. Earlier this year, they issued a patent that basically explained how “smart” Google will become. However, in order to become smarter, Google makes it harder for website owners to make any changes.

Basically, any change that exceeds a given threshold (no, no one except Google knows what this threshold is) will trigger a review of the site, which means it will be deleted, or it will be lowered in the index. You may accept a 5% or 10% site-wide change, but anything beyond this point may trigger such a review.

Because engines like Google cannot “see” the site, they must compare the HTML with the previously cached version to see if there are changes. When Google crawls a site (or page), they assign a calculated value to the page based on hundreds of elements. This is a rather unique calculated value, similar to the CRC value.

When Google requests the page again, they perform the same calculation on the page and compare the CRC value. If they are different, they know that there has been a change and need to revisit and re-cache the page. However, if there has been a large enough change (again breaking through the pre-set threshold), then Google needs to look at the page or site more carefully.

Yahoo! MSN works similarly, but MSN tends to respond faster than Google. When MSN notices a change, the page will drop for a few weeks until the new change is “absorbed” by the engine.

Yahoo! On the other hand, the pages will be indexed, but you may not see the results change for a period of time. This is because the update frequency of the engine is lower than that of Google or MSN. So be Yahoo! During the update, previously cached pages may be deleted and will not be replaced until the next index update. Your website may exit Yahoo! Index of one month or more.

So how to minimize the impact?

First of all, I cannot stress enough, please consult your SEO/SEM consultant. If they tell you that there will be no impact, then find another company, because I can tell you from experience that even the smallest cosmetic changes can affect your website.

Therefore, you must be prepared for the shock. Because this is no longer a possibility. However, by following these simple steps, you can minimize the impact.

Whenever possible, you should try to keep the old structure and naming conventions. This will help minimize the impact. Even if the layout and appearance of the page changes, if the crawler can find the page in the same location, this will make the re-indexing proceed faster and thus restore the site to its previous level more quickly.

However, if you are doing a site-wide reconstruction-that is, new pages, new names, new folder structure. Be sure to keep the old site. Before you make any changes, you need to check the existing rankings and the “new” pages of these 301 pages. I said to keep the old site because you can check and redirect page by page. If your page is dynamic (PHP or ASP), you can insert redirect code on the page. If the page is static HTML, you can use the meta refresh code to redirect to the correct page.

Keep old pages until you know that they have been removed from the indexes of all major engines, and then delete them. Be sure to have a custom 404 error page in case some of these pages have been bookmarked or referenced by visitors after being deleted.

Another option to keep the entire site is to use software like a URL rewriter to perform the redirection. The URL rewriter intercepts the page request and forwards it to the “correct” page. Although many people use rewriters to convert dynamic sites into static sites, they are also useful for these types of redirects.

Be sure to use the googlexml sitemap submission service or Yahoo’s bulk submission feature to resubmit your “new” site. Although you can wait for the crawler to find all the new pages, it is better to push them in the right direction.

You should also know that if you plan to add a bunch of new content to the existing part of the site, the new content will affect rankings. This is because the engine must evaluate new content to understand its impact on the rest of the site in terms of link inheritance and overall contribution to the site or part of the theme. This will delay the re-indexing of the site.

Finally, be prepared to pay for the housing costs. Reserve some budget for PPC activities. This is best if you can afford your high-traffic general phrases, because these phrases are likely to take the longest time to recover from a major website change. You should not bid for brand phrases (such as your company name) because these rankings may return the fastest.

However, if you have competitors or affiliates bidding under these conditions, you may also need to bid on them to maintain your traffic. You should already have an agreement to force your affiliates to bid lower than you under these terms, so you should be able to keep your costs on them.

You should have enough budget to cover transportation expenses for two to three months. This may be an extended duration, as most sites will be re-indexed soon, but it is best to be prepared in case something happens.

Your PPC activities should also include the main PPC engines-now they are Yahoo! And Google. You can also expand to other smaller engines, such as Ask Jeeves and Looksmart, because they can sometimes send high-quality traffic at a fraction of the cost of larger providers.

As a supplement, when you build your PPC campaign, don’t use broad match. Try to make your activity as specific as possible-this will help you reduce costs, because you only pay for those clicks, and these clicks are likely to be more qualified clicks. If you follow these simple suggestions: plan and reduce changes as much as possible, offset losses by planning PPC activities, and prepare for the worst, then you should be able to maintain your traffic in a short period of time and restore your previous position .

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