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How to Redesign Website Without Losing SEO Ranking: SEO Checklist 2018

Redesigning your website will definitely render a new & fresh look to it but you must have a clear idea if it will be successful or not. Because SEO website redesign may prove beneficial or the biggest blunder with every single change in layout, content, links, and more. Mainly, an SEO-friendly website can rank on top with different strategies but its redesigning may affect its ranking and the number of visitors.

Website redesign may spoil the efforts laid by your SEO experts. So, you must follow different steps for a successful website redesign.

Step-by-Step SEO Guide to Redesign Website

Before Launch
1. Building Temporary Development URL
2. Make a Fresh New Robots. Text
3. Benchmark Existing Search Engine Metrics
4. Check If the New Design is Supported by Server
5. Audit your Previous Site
6. Prepare a List of Backlinks
7. Check for Blank/Doorway Pages & Eliminate them
8. Don’t Forget Checking Template Pages
9. Refresh, Proofread & Publish the Older Content Instead of Deleting it
10. Keyword URL Mapping
11. Use Relevant Keyword Per Page
12. Create SEO Friendly URLs
13. Verifying the Purchase of Previously Owned Domain
14. Make a Redirect List for 301 URL Mapping
15. Updating & Adding HTML Annotations
16. Review Internal or External Links
17. Include Both New & Old Sitemaps
18. Analyze Mobile Compatibility
19. Check Website Performance
20. Check Image Size
21. Optimize Site with AMP & Articles
22. Consider Implementation Microdata
23. Privacy Policy & Legal Compliance Pages
24. Check Contact, About Us & 404 Page
25. Eliminate Meta Keywords
26. Add Subscribe & Share Buttons

27. Check Your Redesigned Website
28. Get Ready with a Warning Message
29. Handle Site with Monitoring Plan
30. Keep Tracking Codes Placement
31. Set Analytics Goals
32. Launch Time
33. Remove Password & Make Your Site Live
34. Check Out the Robots.txt
35. Redirecting from Older Domain
36. Redirecting From Changed Domain
37. Focus on Search Console Settings
38. Use Disavow Files
39. Reindexing with Search console
40. Annotation in Google Analytics

After Launch
41. Find Search Console Errors
42. Audit & Compare New Site
43. Resolve Server Logs Error
44. Renew the URLs to Social Media Covers & Redesign
45. Take Time to Manage Website
46. Check out the Indexed Page
47. Indexable Pages are Easily Crawled
48. Determine Cached Date for Indexed URLs
49. Remove Unwanted Backlinks from New Domain
50. Rebuild Backlinks
51. Keep an Eye on Search Traffic
52. Keep Analyzing the SEO Visibility

Before Launch

1. Building Temporary Development URL

The foremost step for the website redesign is having a temporary dev URL. Developing your site in different URL’s is necessary before its launch to ensure if it won’t get indexed and you can do so with a secured password.
Afterwards, you can change the temporary domain to the real and add subdomains to it. As you add different subdomains, you can use cPanela or FTP to upload your work and select the Subdomain folder and click the Password Protect Directories to add a password.

2. Make a Fresh New Robots. Text

This is another step in the pre launch phase in which the robots.txt file is created. Through this file, the web robots can find your site and the related information. Also, it may be possible that the web robots will not read your robots.txt file and can scan your website for security. However, you can block these robots by placing the User-agent: * Disallow: / The “User-agent: *” code in the top-level directory.

3. Benchmark Existing Search Engine Metrics

Auditing the website is necessary to analyze the results after the SEO is done. Many specialists note down the bounce rate, traffic, existing rankings, the number of indexed pages, and domains of the site in order to compare the results later.

4. Check If the New Design is Supported by Server

Testing your renewed website is the best way ensure to that it will run smoothly on your server when it will go live. Many SEOs take this step to run a renewed site for testing before it is launched as there are possibilities of getting errors and technical issues.

5. Audit your Previous Site

Reviewing your older website is necessary to add some necessary features which are missing in its updated design. Comparing redesigned and previous sites is important to determine that what is lacking.

6. Prepare a List of Backlinks

Listing all the backlinks is beneficial as these inbound links are the main pathways for your site’s visitors. Thus, to ensure better SERP rate, you must maintain a list of backlinks through the different SEO tools.

7. Check for Blank/Doorway Pages & Eliminate them

Many SEOs face this issue with the redesigned site as there are chances of having blank pages in it. It is obvious that a site with blank pages is not acceptable at any cost and it is also considered unfavorable for the SEO.

8. Don’t Forget Checking Template Pages

Obviously, you might have some remaining template pages if you have used a preset theme for redesigning a website. If you have used a template having elements which can be integrated easily, then there are chances that other site’s owner may use & mix it up for his/her website. So, you must check out the remaining template pages.

9. Refresh, Proofread & Publish the Older Content Instead of Deleting it

Obviously, the content of your site is relevant and unique which is an another factor behind its ranking and visibility. Content is a vital SEO strategy that not only connects with the online visitors but also drives huge traffic towards your site. So, you just need to improve the content of your older site for the redesigned site and maintain the originality of your content.
Moreover, before publishing your content ensure that it is grammatically correct and unique as the search engine can easily catch errors & duplicacy. You can use different tools to proofread the content and plagiarism detector to check its uniqueness.

10. Keyword URL Mapping

Maintaining your keyword URLs in an organized way is necessary to carry out the process of SEO smartly. You can list top 100 keywords of the high ranked pages and place them appropriately in a spreadsheet.

11. Use Relevant Keyword Per Page

Each article with a specific keyword always ranks on top. Optimizing your article using an appropriate keyword per page is necessary for successful SEO. You must use that keyword in the content of your site, landing page and the related links.

12. Create SEO Friendly URLs

Dynamic URLs are unfavorable for SEO as Googlebot doesn’t understand them. Make the URL as shorter as possible and use dashes instead of underscores. Moreover, don’t forget to insert the keyword in URL so that the visitors may not face any difficulty while saving & using it.

13. Verifying the Purchase of Previously Owned Domain

It is necessary to check out that if you have purchased previously owned domain or an expired domain before the launch of your redesigned website.

Firstly, in order to transfer Search Console Ownership, you must log into the search Console page using the Gmail address. After receiving the required data, verify the backlink profile of the previous domain through the SEO Link Analysis tool. After thorough review and verification of the backlink profile, you can determine the spammy and irrelevant backlinks and remove them through other linked websites.

14. Make a Redirect List for 301 URL Mapping

For a redesigned website structure of URLs may change from .html to non .html format and that’ why, you need to list the old and new URLs in different columns in the spreadsheet. You can take the following steps:

  • Mention 301 redirects
  • Focus on the main URLs
  • Verify URLs in server log
  • Don’t forget including static content URLs
  • Make use of CMS (Content Management System) if required
  • Change & update old URLs

15. Updating & Adding HTML Annotations

Google may understand your redesigned site easily if it comprises the pages linked with the updated Sitemaps i.e HTML annotations in the URLs. For this step, you need to:

  • Update & add rel=”canonical” tag
  • Update & add rel=”alternate” tag
  • Update & add mobile annotation
  • Update & add rel=” previous/next”

16. Review Internal or External Links

You must ensure that your site’s homepage or any other webpage may not exceed the count 100 outgoing links as Google ignores them and this can be the major penalty for you.

17. Include Both New & Old Sitemaps

After changing the domains, you must submit both renewed & older sitemaps to Search Console in order to ensure that the search engine will index your website faster.

18. Analyze Mobile Compatibility

Always make sure that your site is compatible on different devices rather it is a mobile gadget or a desktop. If your site’s layout is adjustable and fits on different sized screens & supports multiple functionalities, then it is highly responsive and compatible as well.

19. Check Website Performance

You can enhance the overall performance & speed of your site using different tools like PageSpeed Insights and WooRank.

20. Check Image Size

A site with high-quality graphics and large-sized images may have slow loading speed and thus, you must compress every image and save it with a descriptive alt tag.

21. Optimize Site with AMP & Articles

AMP is Accelerated Mobile Pages and it allows you to optimize your site through interactive content. In this way, you can build a second version of the pages of your site.

22. Consider Implementation Microdata

Microdata is considered advantageous not only for eCommerce sites but for other business related sites as well. Apart from analyzing the format and pattern of the pages, Microdata offers automatic item updates and Google Sheets Merchant Center add-on feature.

23. Check Cookie Law

Privacy legislation enables information storage on the browser. With this cookie law, the online visitors may save the login information through the cookie warning.

24. Privacy Policy & Legal Compliance Pages

Internet rules and regulations are favorable for the users and the respective websites’ owners. So, you must ensure that you can display all legal pages based on using the Google’s analytics software including Google Adsense and Google AdWords.

25. Check Contact, About & 404 Page

With about us & contact pages, you can perform an effective SEO as you are providing NAP citations through the site i.e Name, Address, & Phone number.

On the other hand, you must create 404 page which refers to external error or unknown location. Through this page, you can redirect your visitors to another page if they have clicked on unavailable link.

26. Eliminate Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are useful only for eCommerce sites as Google & Yahoo search engines have ignored this factor to rank any website.

27. Add Subscribe & Share Buttons

Sharing & subscribing both are necessary to reach each & every online visitor. You must add, share & subscribe buttons on your site’s homepage so that more & more users may land on your site and get informed with every update.


28. Check Your Redesigned Website

Redesigning your website offers professional look to site making it updated, feature-rich and compatible. But, at the time of launch, you must test your site’s functionalities and determine many possible mistakes & errors in graphics, colors, content, spacing, layout, and more.

29. Get Ready with a Warning Message

Many websites which are under development display messages like “coming soon” and a clock showing the time left for the launch. With these type of warning messages, you are connecting with the visitors and promoting the launch of your redesigned site.

30. Handle Site with Monitoring Plan

While using different SEO tools, you handle the ups & downs of the site’s ranking, changing traffic, bounce rates, and more.

31. Keep Tracking Codes Placement

With different services like Search Console, Bing Webmaster tool, Tag manager, & analytics tools, you can manage both metrics & statistical data easily.

32. Set Analytics Goals

You can create goals, make a request for an offer, and take subscription for a product to analyze & track ROI. Moreover, you can check out maximum 20 goals but you can’t delete any of them.

33. Launch Time

You must launch your redesigned website after midnight as turning your renewed site live at peak hours is unfavorable in many ways.

34. Remove Password & Make Your Site Live

After the successful launch of your redesigned site, you can relax and start redirecting it from ALT text. Also, remember to remove the preset password in order to allow the users & web crawlers to access your site.

35. Check Out the Robots.txt

A newly launched website is scanned and read by several web crawlers which are the factors behind its search engine ranking and online visibility. Check and update the robots.txt file to make sure it blocks the parts you don’t want to be show in search result and it doesn’t block search engine spiders from crawling main website pages.

36. Redirecting from Older Domain

This is the biggest mistake made by many SEOs as migrating your site to its redesigned version. Without changing the domain, you must redirect URLs to the new ones in the following steps:

  • Submitting XML sitemap to Google
  • Checking accuracy
  • Using 301 redirect codes
  • Viewing orphan 404 pages
  • Maintain the redirects

37. Redirecting From Changed Domain

You have already maintained the list of older URL’s in the pre launch phase but never forget to create all 301 URL’s to redirect your customers to the redesigned site. However, if you have transformed your site completely, there is a need to redirect the root domain to each webpage.

38. Focus on Search Console Settings

Search console settings are favorable to update the new configurations. This step includes:

  • Setting URL Parameters
  • Targeting worldwide
  • Determining URL crawl limit

39. Use Disavow Files

It is possible that you may have used a disavowed file in your old site. So, you have to add those files in the redesigned site as well.

40. Reindexing with Search console

In order to drive increased traffic to your redesigned website, you need to reindex its new domain. Just click the menu at Crawl > Fetch as Google to enter the domain & then click fetch. Finally, you have to click on the Request Indexing option.

41. Annotation in Google Analytics

Annotation is the easiest way to note down the data regarding the website redesign launch. This is helpful to keep a track on the data of newly launched site in the most effortless manner.

After Launch

42. Find Search Console Errors

Many errors may appear through the Search Console system and thus, you need to check out the messages other warnings appearing in its menu. After the launch of your website, you must overview & resolve these issues in better way.

43. Audit & Compare New Site

After fixing all technical & external errors, bugs, and other issues, you must start auditing your redesigned website. With this step, you can compare the indexed links and results from the previous site and look for other possible errors like alt tags, missing titles, and descriptions.

44. Resolve Server Logs Error

The 404 error is a backdrop for any redesigned website. You can determine those server logs errors through your web browser and connect to the hosting account’s cPanel. Just scroll the page and click the “Logs section” or “error log” icon to view the error messages.

45. Renew the URLs to Social Media Covers & Redesign

You site must be redirected to various social media pages and thus, you need to update the URLs linked to them. Also, don’t forget to redesign its cover pages & profile pictures in order to match them with the newly launched site.

46. Take Time to Manage Website

You can monitor your site effectively by keeping a track on bounce rate, conversion rate, traffic, ROI, SERP and more.

47. Check out the Indexed Page

On typing the site:yourdomain.com in Google, you can view the number of indexed URLs.

48. Indexable Pages are Easily Crawled

If your webpages are in noindex settings, then the search engine may not crawl them easily. Majority of SEOs face this issue because every noindex tag on your site’s page will automatically block the web crawlers to read the important content on your site’s page leading less traffic and decreased ranking.

49. Determine Cached Date for Indexed URLs

You can view the version of your site through cache:yourdomain.com operator. If the cache data is not updated & its date is very old then there is a possibility that indexing problem have occurred.

50. Remove Unwanted Backlinks from New Domain

New domain comprising undesired backlinks must be removed manually. Unwanted backlinks for new domain are harmful for your site and thus, consider eliminating them.

51. Rebuild Backlinks

As your redesigned site has gone through the complete transformation, you must have changed URL or domain. So, you need to replace those backlinks for the older domain to the new URL or domain.

52. Keep an Eye on Search Traffic

After taking all these post launched SEO steps, you can compare the search results on your redesigned site to the previous one. For an SEO expert, comparing & analyzing results is necessary and thus, you can use Search Console data and analytics for this task.

53. Keep Analyzing the SEO Visibility

Every SEO expert stays updated about the site’s ranking through different tools based on comparing the site’s visibility & search engine ranking. After launching your redesigned website, you can maintain and keep a track over its ranking through the most searched keywords, online traffic, and visibility.

How to Redesign Website Without Losing SEO Ranking: SEO Checklist 2018, 6.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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  •   PSD to HTML - November 8, 2017 @ 1:59 am

    I have been following this Blogs from bettergraph.com & it is really very nice to learn more about SEO Ranking.

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  •   thulasiadaalo - June 6, 2017 @ 11:36 am

    Wow. such a great blog , its really useful to redesign our website by seo onpage and off page optimazation. so that we will not loose our ranking , anyways great thanks for sharing this article.

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