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3 Dangers Of A Website Redesign For B2B SEO

Thrilled. That’s how Steve felt the day the new website redesign went live. The B2B site had been in development for months now, and he knew his boss would love it. But his excitement was short-lived. Almost overnight, the company’s search rankings tanked. Unfortunately, the search engines couldn’t crawl big chunks of the new site. Ready to pull his hair out, Steve questioned his decision to consider SEO after the launch.

Understanding The Dangers Of A Website Redesign

Believe it or not, Steve is far from alone. Time and again, B2B marketers fail to make SEO a priority at the start of a website redesign. As a result, it can wreak havoc on all the SEO work that has already been established. This can end up costing the company a lot of time and money to fix the problems that will surface.

For instance, if your new website is optimized for keywords that people aren’t searching for, or are not relevant to your products and services, don’t expect a return on your investment from the redesign.

In addition, if the new site results in a user experience that is not intuitive, it will most likely not be intuitive for a search engine either. As a result, it could deter confused users from returning to your site, and will also hurt your search rankings. Moreover, while the new site might be beautiful to look at, it’ll hardly be worth the investment if your pages won’t appear in search results because the engines can’t analyze your content.

Ultimately, these issues can cause a loss of existing search rankings and traffic, and can hurt the company’s ability to meet their desired business goals. To prevent this from happening, B2B marketers should consider SEO from the very beginning, not after the launch when it can be too late.

3 SEO Considerations In Website Redesign

Below are a few tips that underscore the importance of factoring in SEO from the beginning.

1. Start With Keyword Research

First consider how your target audience might navigate to your site. If someone was searching for your products or services, what would they search for?  Use Google’s Keyword Tool to help with this brainstorming process. Once you have a master list of keywords, group the terms into categories and remove any irrelevant ones.

It is important that your keyword list be accurate because if you pick the wrong words – either keywords that are not relevant to your site or keywords that have low search volume – you will end up with irrelevant traffic, or no traffic at all. Following this step will likely increase the targeted visitors to your site fairly quickly after it goes live.

2. Create A SEO Friendly Taxonomy

A clear site hierarchy will allow search engines to easily understand how one piece of content relates to another, and which pages are the most important. Each category of your website should have clear themes with subcategories and individual pages fitting into the overall category theme.

For example, if you are a B2B company that offers both products and services, divide the content into two categories: don’t put service information within the product portion of your website, and vice versa.

Beyond organization, you can let the search engines know which pages on your site are the most important ones by how you link to them. Ensure that your main site navigation is set up so that the most important pages are easy to navigate to and have the most links. Remember, burying your content doesn’t just make it difficult to find for users, it also makes it a challenge for search engines.

3. Review Design Requirements Before Development Begins

An intensive keyword research process and the most intuitive navigation won’t do anything to improve your search engine rankings if your website is designed in a manner that search engines can’t crawl. As in Company X’s case, the design team had a great sense of what aesthetically would make for a great website, but they lacked the knowledge of what search engines would be looking for when analyzing a website.

It is essential that you have the conversation up front with your design firm to ensure they are on the same page in terms of what technology not to use for an SEO-friendly site. If you’re engaged with a search engine firm, ask them to be involved in the process of reviewing wireframes before the development begins.

If you are going to undertake a website redesign, protect your investment by factoring in SEO from the very beginning. Doing so could end up saving your company considerable time and money.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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