SEO Pitfalls with a Website Redesign

The biggest mistake I see amateur or inexperienced web designers make when doing a website redesign is neglecting to do proper page redirects. This may sound like some “geeky” thing, but it could cost your business dearly.

What is a page redirect?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say your old site had an “About” page and the URL was https://www.yourcompany.com/about. Your website designer builds a shiny new site for you with an about page also. Only this time the page URL is https://www.yourcompany.com/about-us. Guess what happens when someone does a Google search for your company and the search results page shows your “About” page.  Your visitor clicks the link and instead of seeing your shiny new “About” page, they see a “Page not Found” error. Commonly referred to as a 404 error. That’s a pretty big deal. But what if this happens for other pages on your website like product pages on an e-commerce site or your services pages?

How could this have been prevented?

The right way to do this is to do what we call a “301 redirect” for all pages from the old site to the new site where the old site URL is not a perfect match to the new site URL. This involves taking an inventory of all pages on the old site while it’s still in production (before the new site goes “live”). Then match them up with the appropriate pages on the new site and creating a 301 redirect for each one. These redirects can be added to the .htaccess file or with a WordPress plugin.

A little planning and know-how is all it takes to avert catastrophy.

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