With the constantly-changing internet landscape, businesses are often required to reevaluate their website, branding, and content production processes. Whether you work as a web designer, an SEO specialist or a content creator, SEO and content marketing play a large role in the success of your or your client’s website.
According to Hosting Tribunal, 38% of users will stop engaging a website if the content is unappealing, with 55% of them spending 15 seconds or less on a single page. The importance of well-designed, well-optimized web layout and content cannot be overstated.
However, approaching the topic of redesign and the process it involves can be difficult, especially since people have grown accustomed to your current brand identity. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most essential SEO and content marketing tactics for web developers, content creators, and SEO specialists to consider during the redesign process.
Reasons to Approach the Redesign Process
Before we get into the redesign process tips and guidelines, let’s start off small and talk about the reasons to consider such a large operation. Website redesign typically involves evaluation and subsequent changes to your current visual identity, sitemap, content policy, and other underperforming elements.
The emphasis here is on “underperforming” since you should never change or eliminate elements which are appealing to your visitors and drive traffic successfully. With that said, the reasons to consider a website redesign can be numerous but typically fall into several important detractors:
- Poor SEO, search engine ranking and general lack of traffic
- Lack of user engagement, sales or incoming revenue
- Low-quality visuals, multimedia, and content in terms of brand representation
- Poor website navigation
- Lack of industry trends and content present in competitive websites
- Overall poor user experience (UX) and lack of innovation
Benefits of Proper SEO and Content Marketing
While it may seem like a minor addition to a website’s overall appeal, SEO and content marketing matter more than you might think. After all, even a visually-unappealing website can still rank quite well and attract organic traffic if its content is original, creative and optimized per SEO standards.
Both web developers and content creators alike can contribute to a site’s ranking and whether or not it will convert visitors into customers. Platforms such as Trust My Paper and Evernote and specifically designed to be accessible for creators of all calibers, ensuring that everyone on the team can pitch in. With that in mind, the benefits of proper SEO and content marketing extend beyond search ranking optimization, including but not limited to:
- Growth of industry authority and brand recognition
- Greater sense of user involvement and brand awareness
- Multichannel marketing opportunities such as social media and email
- Increased conversions, sales and positive word of mouth
- Higher return on investment (ROI) as opposed to absence of SEO
Website Redesign Process – SEO and Content Marketing Tactics
Now that we have a clearer idea of what website redesign can do for your business, let’s take a look at the role of SEO and content marketing in the process. It’s worth noting that website redesign should never be approached without research or reason.
Make sure to implement tools such as Running SEO to analyze the current status and SEO performance of your website on popular search engines before making a decisive step. Sometimes minute errors such as duplicate content or outdated keyword may be all that stands between you and high search engine ranking. However, if that’s not the case, keep the following tactics and guidelines in mind to ensure that your website redesign process is a success.
- Don’t Fix What Works
The first order of business in terms of website redesign should be to detect elements of your site that function as intended. For example, if your color palette, navigation visuals, and branding are of high quality, think twice about changing them. The same goes for your product lineup, content types, blog categories and other site elements which may or may not work properly.
In short, your website’s UX should be the top priority when looking for ways to improve its overall appeal and search ranking. You can either approach the process in-house or hire a professional designer to quickly assess your website for a more streamlined redesign project. Don’t fix what’s not broken and your efforts will bear fruit once the redesign is in place and live for people to engage with.
- Analyze your Sitemap
While it may not be used on a regular basis, your sitemap plays a huge role in the SEO and search ranking your site enjoys. A sitemap is the underlying foundation, or structure of your website. You can find the top four sitemap structures here. A website’s sitemap is a decisive factor for search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing in terms of ranking.
These services use sitemaps to assess the relevance, quality, and appeal of individual websites when people search for related terms and phrases. You can use tools such as Studicus and Hemingway to write precise and direct sitemap content for your ranking’s benefit. Without a good and informative sitemap, your website will quickly drop under the proverbial search radar.
- Update your Metadata
Metadata is one of the most important elements in terms of search engine ranking and user visibility. This data is used by search engines to assess whether or not a link is relevant to individual internet users – similar to sitemaps. If Google considers your link to be relevant to an individual, they will be presented with your metadata in the form of a short two-to-three sentence paragraph below the link’s title.
Internet users often base their engagement on metadata and whether or not it is written for people or search engines. It’s important to use personalized writing, a casual tone of voice and to incorporate keywords sparingly and in a meaningful way. Find a balance between content personalization and SEO in your metadata writing to ensure that the website redesign process moves forward in the right way.
- Refresh your Keyword Selection
As we’ve previously touched on, your keyword selection is a high-performing factor in whichever aspect of web design you are involved in. Web developers, content creators and SEO specialists alike need to make sure that their keyword selection is up-to-date and matches the industry standard. This applies throughout the site (such as with headlines, subheadings, body copy, image alt attributes, meta titles, and descriptions) and carries over into paid search marketing (sometimes referred to as pay-per-click or PPC) since good keyword research matters.
In order to achieve this effect, you can refer to platforms such as Google Ads to discover which words and phrases to incorporate into your website redesign process. Eliminate poor-performing keywords entirely and refresh your navigation, landing page and individual content pages with a fresh selection. This will inject new life into your website, it’s ranking, old content and any aspect of your business centered on user engagement and conversion.
- Keyword-Driven URLs
Even though most of the internet users rely on contextual browsing and organic embedded links to bounce from page to page, some still pay attention to URLs. Your website’s URL structure has a two-fold effect on your site’s performance – both in SEO and user engagement sense. It’s good practice to incorporate trending keywords into your URL structure to ensure a smoother, cleaner and SEO-friendly browsing experience. Platforms such as WoW Grade and Grammarly can be used to optimize your URL writing so that it is legible and informative enough for SEO.
Reliance on keywords in your URLs will make it easier for individuals to share your links with their social circles due to understandable wording and absence of special characters which would only confuse a casual visitor. Not to mention the fact that keyword-driven URLs make it easier for web developers to coordinate with their content creator colleagues in the process of a website redesign.
- Optimize Load Times
Website load times are of utmost importance in terms of attracting organic traffic, user retention and search engine ranking. According to Top Tal, 53% of mobile visits are abandoned if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, with 62% of users admitting this lack of optimization resulted in their avoidance of the associated brand. In the age of high-speed internet and intuitive mobile browsing, people have grown used to quick load times and accessible websites.
You can use tools such as Google’s Pagespeed Insights (which has Lighthouse integrated with it as of not too long ago) to check your website for speed bumps, load time obstructions and detractors which may cause your links to rank low. You may have to adjust your multimedia content’s optimization, eliminate certain slow plugins and other elements which drag down your load speed in the long run. Make sure that your website is as lightweight and easy-to-load as possible in order to grow not only in terms of SEO but also in UX and user appeal in general.
- Check for Broken Links
Lastly, it’s important to check your existing pages, content, and sitemap for broken, dead and malicious links. Over time, website administrators change the contents of their links and you will have no way of knowing if a case study or a blog post you’ve published on your website still exists at all.
Make sure to check outbound links which are not under your domain and ensure that they are still valid. Eliminate or replace dead links with fresh ones which you can search for to add extra value to your own content. This will effectively raise your website’s search ranking and ensure that the website redesign process has tangible results.
Mistakes to Avoid
Website redesign is a process akin to a game of dominos – once a single piece is moved, the entire website will be affected. This is why it may seem like a lot of information to take in at first – and that’s okay. However, it’s worth pointing out mistakes which can result in a worse state of your website than it was previously. Try to avoid these at all costs and your site refresh should go along smoothly.
- Website is Slower than Before
It’s a good idea to check your website’s speed and performance after every added or eliminated element. While it may slow down your website redesign process, it will ensure that your site’s speed goes up instead of down.
Don’t rush to implement new features, plugins and visual elements without considering the effects they might have on your site’s load times.
- Visual Content is Off-Brand
Creating a total redesign of your visual elements, color selection, branding, and other features is a noble endeavor. However, it should be pointed out that any visual changes you make should still look like they belong to your business.
Don’t drastically overhaul your visual identity and branding – opt for subtle changes instead. This will help you attract a new audience, raise public awareness of your website and ensure that its SEO ranking goes up.
- Lack of Tangible Metrics
In the end, a redesign process should bring tangible, measurable results for your business. With that in mind, it’s good practice to set several metrics to monitor throughout your redesign effort.
Metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, and domain authority should find their way into your ongoing website tracking activities. Keep your site’s performance under a watchful eye before, during and after the redesign to measure whether or not your efforts have had a positive impact.
If you’ve been following along with the SEO and content marketing tactics we’ve presented, it’s clear that a lot goes into a website’s overall reception, performance, and ranking. A website redesign is a team effort of web developers and content creators – it should never be done by a single person in a vacuum. Only with a combination of complementary ideas will your website manage to rise to the top of search engine ranking pages. Make it a collaborative effort and you will undoubtedly create a positive impact on your business through the website redesign process.
Want some professional help with your redesign? Get in touch today to speak with a Key Medium expert.
This article is a guest post, contributed by Estelle Liotardis a content writer and SEO specialist, contributing this guest post.