How to Redesign Your Website & Retain the Search Engine Rankings at the Same Time

Your business website is the face of your company for your online customers. It works as the primary sales pitch for your site visitors and as an online business card too.
All of these identities are equally essential for your business branding, both online as well as offline.
When you think along the above lines, having a well-designed website becomes extremely important. It is important to have an easy-to-navigate website to make your online presence work well with your target audience.
Furthermore, your website must also be user-friendly and look appealing to users for your business to grow.
Having a well-designed website can also improve its overall functionality. Hence, you might consider redesigning your website for this purpose.
With a good redesign, your website will look up to date and contemporary. It will increase the number of visitors to your website too. But first, you must consider certain things before you revamp your website.

Website Redesigning & SEO

If you consider a website redesign for a more appealing look, will that impact your SEO?
What if you do not consider the SEO during the website revamp?
Well, the answer is, “You Will Lose out on a Lot of Things.”
This article will tell you if the SEO of your website gets affected when redesigning a website. And if it does, how to overcome it.
Consider this article as an SEO checklist for your website. This article will also assist you through a step-by-step guide on website redesigning. It will help you in creating an appealing website for your users without hampering the SEO efforts.

Why You Should Consider Website Redesigning

Website redesign involves a fair amount of time, resources, and money. It is important to know whether your website needs a design overhaul before spending the company’s valuable resources.
There are several reasons you might need a website redesign. But sometimes, an overhaul can cause more harm than good.
If your website is attracting a fair amount of traffic and is converting leads, there is no reason to change the design. Redesigning just for the sake of it can confuse users.
However, if you have changed business goals since the last website launch or the branding needs an update, redesigning would be a good idea.
There are other numerous reasons why you should need a website redesign. Some of the most common reasons include,

Redesigning the website does not necessarily mean changing the website domain. But it is always a good idea to keep your website up to date with improved designs and features.

  • It will add to your users’ delight.
  • It will also help you with the SEO of your website.

Why You Should Consider SEO During Website Redesign

Your site might not be attracting a lot of traffic, or it is not ranking well, which is why you need the overhaul. But would you want to let go of the traffic to the pages doing well while redesigning your website?
Of course not.
Instead, you should take this as an opportunity to improve the overall performance of your website. But to keep the SEO values of your website intact, there are certain strategies that you should follow. Given below is a rundown of the steps:

How to Redesign Your Website Without Losing SEO

SEO is extremely important for your website to get ranking on search engines. So, it is natural to worry about losing SEO when redesigning your website. But there are ways you can successfully redesign your website without loosing SEO.
Here’s how:

  • Creating a backup of your website before creating a new one.
  • Creating a website on a temporary URL.
  • Checking the present SEO rankings for a better understanding of the current website position.
  • Checking and updating the website structure and content.
  • On-page optimization of the content within the website.
  • Testing of the website on the newly developed test website URL.
  • Switching the new website onto the old one and going live on Google.
  • Audit after the launching of the website.

Although such long steps might sound rather overwhelming, they are pretty simple for a website developer to handle. Here is a quick detailing of each step for a proper website redesign without losing SEO to make things easy for you.

1. Back up Your Website Data

It is always a good idea to keep a backup of the website you plan to overhaul. Keep a backup of theme files and the database, the plugins, and the contents. That way, if things go awry, you can always fall back on the previous website version.
Creating a backup is also simple, with some plugins available as free tools on Google. Just follow the instructions, as mentioned in the plugin tools.

2. Don’t Forget to Do Your Research

Studying how your users perceive your website can go further than just a simple website redesign. Conduct comprehensive research on the improvement areas that you need to focus on.
Also, thoroughly check the following things to ensure your website is user-friendly:

  • Keywords that can give your website the desired ranking on search engines
  • Current domain ranking for your website
  • Any potential short tail and long-tail keywords that can help you to get better rankings

The domain ranking of your website is an important factor for consideration. The older the domain, the more authority it holds.
Of course, the older domains have the potential to rank higher than the new domain. Since it is not easy to adjust the domain rankings, the easiest thing you can do is keep up with the site-wide SEO best practices.
It is also important to look at the potential keywords that can help enhance your website’s ranking.

3. Don't Change Existing URLs

The foremost thing that you should work on while redesigning your website is the URLs. Most clients have a misconception that revamping a website will impact SEO.
That is why they prefer to change the existing URLs. However, that is not the correct approach. Existing URLs hold a lot of credibilities and should not be changed.
Instead, you should ideally copy your website’s existing URL into a temporary one and work on the new design. Once the website is ready, you can always switch back to the old domain, and it works fine.
You should move your developing website into a temporary URL to avoid having the search engine crawlers visit it.
Indexing an incomplete site on Google will lead to duplicate content issues. Hence, to prevent Google from indexing your testing website, you should add a “no index” meta robots’ directive to all the webpages. It will disallow the crawling robots from checking your website in its testing phase. You can also switch to a “site under maintenance” mode with a landing page plugin.

4. Crawl Your Existing Website to Identify the Changes

The crawler software looks at all the webpages on your website. It takes a queue of all the links on those pages. These data are then collected and sent back to Google.
With the help of crawlers, you can identify the changes made to your new website. It will give you an idea about the set up of the new website. It will also give you the current website’s metadata and the structure with existing URLs. It will help you in matching the new website with the existing details.
Several free crawlers are available online that allow at least 500 free crawling pages for a single website. You can also buy a crawling tool at a reasonable rate for this purpose.

5. Check for Broken Links

Once the website redesigning is over, you need to ensure no broken links in the newly developed site.
There are chances of broken links in the javascript or CSS of a testing website. Although broken links will not affect the SEO of your website, it is better to check before going live.
There are several link-checking free tools available on the web. You can use these tools to check whether all the links are valid or not. Also, make sure to take down the “site under maintenance” from your website after making all the requisite changes and before going live.

6. Check All the Landing Pages of Your Existing Website

Changing your website’s URL structure is a good idea, and you must let Google know that you are making changes to your website. Not doing this will affect the ranking of your website and decrease the trust of your domain. It can result in your website losing traffic.
How to let Google know that you are making a change to your existing website?
You can do it simply by creating a list of all the existing URLs of your present website. The simplest way to get it done is by going to the sitemap and saving it as a text file.

7. Conduct a Thorough Audit of Your Old Website

An audit will help you to find out what Google likes and dislikes about your website. That way, you will be able to spot pages that need your intervention and pages that you can retain in your new site.
There are several free tools available online that you can use for auditing your website. But it is always better to do it manually.
Some of the things that you can find out with such an audit include:

  • The duplicity of page titles
  • Missing page titles
  • Missing or duplicate H1 tags
  • Missing or duplicate metadata
  • Canonical tags
  • Broken links

You can also check the below-mentioned points for your new website:

  • Site performance
  • Site speed
  • URL Structure
  • XML Sitemap
  • Pages indexed by Google

All these data will give you a fair understanding of which areas of your new website will need improvement.

8. Consider On-page Optimization of the Website Content

When you have the basic website design structure in place, you also need to do an on-page analysis of the website content. Retaining the titles, and the headers, content, and meta descriptions can help with the on-page optimization.

9. Create 301 Redirects for All the Old URLs to the New Ones of Your Website

Moving some pages to new URLs will impact your SEO. You would not want to hamper the SEO performance of your existing page. In case you want to delete the old page and redirect it to a new URL, you need to perform a 301 redirect.
A 301 redirect will also tell the search engines that the URL change is a permanent one. It will keep most of the SEO values from the old page intact for the new website.
Using a 301 redirect:

  • You can remove the old page and redirect the URL to a new page.
  • You can move the website pages to other sections keeping the page names the same.
  • You can remove subdomains and keep the materials in a different section of a website.

With 301 redirects, a page with high rankings and lots of backlinks will not lose traffic. A 301 redirect will let Google know that the page has changed the URL. It will also ensure that the social media links and bookmarks will work as before for the new website.

10. Move to Your New Website

The most awaited step towards a new website is to make the switch. After spending a considerable amount of time designing and developing the website, it is now ready to go live.
You should make the switch to the new website all at once. Make sure to remove your website from the staging site once you publish it live for the users. There is a trick involved here.
You can choose to move from the old website to the new one in stages. But it is always better to get it done at once since Google recommends it. It will expedite the crawling of the website all at once and make an impact on the SEO.

11. Verify and Index Your New Website on Google

When redesigning a website, usually the developers stall the search engine crawlers for the developing site. But once the website is developed and ready to go live, you need to resume the crawling of your website.
When the crawling recommences, the next step would be verification. Redesigning of the website must be verified by Google.
Finally, you can resubmit your website URL to Google and get it indexed. You can run a check with the Google search console.
With the Google Search Console, you can also use the URL Inspection option. It will ensure that Google can read and accurately index the new website.
Once the website is inspected and comes out with no issues, you can submit it to Google. It will get crawled by the search engine within a few hours.

12. Check the Robots.txt

After the basic verification and indexing of your website, you also need to check the website’s robots file.
You can do this by using the robots.txt Tester option. It is a file that can allow or deny the search engines to access the various webpages within the website.
Having an incorrect configuration of the robots.txt file on the website can stop the search engines from crawling it.

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13. Optimize and Resubmit Your Website’s XML Sitemap

If there have been changes in your website’s URLs, your website’s XML sitemap will have new structures. Submit the new XML sitemap to Google. It will help Google to index your website and keep the rankings of your website stable.
Once the optimization and XML sitemap submission is over, you still have to take a look at your website for any errors that might come up. Certain things might be shown as errors if not checked thoroughly.
Make sure to take a look at the below points with precision:

  • Test the content of the website
  • Check all the 301 redirects and make sure to implement all of them
  • Check all the on-page optimization factors like titles and headings, meta descriptions, and more.
  • Compare the page speed and rankings of the new website with the old one
  • Remove any extra plugins from the website if you do not need them again for designing purposes. Having extra plugins can slow down the website
  • Make your website mobile-friendly
  • Copy all the tracking codes on the new website to keep track of all website data

14. Monitor the Keyword Ranking of Your Website

Once the website is getting crawled by the search engine, you need to follow it up for two-three months. Next, you need to do a rank checking for your new website.
A rank check will help you measure how your site performs against a given set of keywords on Google. Use this data with the old website data to find out the improvement areas in your new website.
If you can find a huge difference in your website’s ranking positions, you have to take corrective measures for the new one.

Should You Hire Professionals for Revamping Your Website

Getting a website redesigning done by a professional developer is important. The reason is that experts would know better how to keep the SEO intact. Other things need to be taken care of, too, when it comes to website redesigning. And they are:

A) Check Bounce Rate

You need to check the bounce rate of your website before and after the redesigning. Having an increase in the bounce rate is not a good thing. Hence, if you see an increase in the bounce rate, your target audience is not happy with your website’s new design.

B) Check the Content of the Website

Often, if you change the website’s entire content, it can affect your website’s rankings. Thus, it is always a good idea to only make the changes to those directly related to the website redesign. You can also make changes to those content that are directly impacting the look and feel of the website.

Give Utmost Priority to User Experience

When redesigning a website, you must give utmost priority to user experience. Create a user-friendly interface to help visitors have a pleasant experience browsing the website.
You can seek your employee’s and developers’ opinions about the new website design before launching it live.

Keep Track of Social Media Post Counts

Changing the URLs of your website will also change the overall count of the various social media posts.
For instance, you might see that the social media count has come down to zero for your new website.
Do not get panicked by this result. Within a few hours, social media networks will be able to read the 301 redirections.
With the readings, the social media counts will get transferred to the new pages.

Some Must-haves in Your Newly Designed Website

There are certain improvement points that you can use in your website to make it look and feel better for visitors, such as:

  • Use smart customer information forms on the website to make it a pleasant experience for your users.
  • Have an easy-to-navigate internal search engine for webpages within the website. Most users like to use internal navigation to go from one page to another within the website.
  • Make sure that the checking out procedure is efficient and simple to use. It should be crisp and less time consuming for your customers. Having a lengthy checkout process can drive your potential customers away.
  • Don’t forget to integrate your website with various social media platforms. It will help you in garnering organic traffic to your website.
  • Add an FAQ section to your website. Many users might have certain queries regarding the product or services that you offer through your website. Adding such a section to your website to answer your users’ queries will lead to visitor satisfaction. It will help you in gaining your users’ trust too. The section must have easy to understand content with a simple color scheme.

Pitfalls to Avoid While Redesigning a Website

Getting a website overhaul is easy, but there are certain pitfalls that you need to be careful of. For instance, having a website without proper data-backed insight will not make it work.
Always remember that the users are the ones that make or break a brand. So, make sure to maintain brand consistency while redesigning your website. It will help users recognize your business, feel connected, and convert into brand advocates.

1. Prioritize the Right Attributes on Your Website

Unless you can recognize and prioritize the correct attributes, overhauling the website will not work. For instance, many users prefer the aesthetics of the website instead of functionality and content.
In reality, the functionality of the website should take precedence over visual aesthetics.
For instance, the content, easy navigation, and the CTA (Call to Action) buttons should be easy in functionality. The website’s overall functionality will facilitate the SEO efforts for your website and help you drive traffic.

2. Do Not Compromise on the Performance of the Website

The functionality of the website is important, but at the same time, you should keep in mind the website’s overall performance.
During the website redesigning, you should closely monitor the key technical aspects. You should keep track of features such as speed, navigation, uptime, content, and mobile-friendliness of the website.
The same holds for the website performance metrics too. SEO is an ongoing process. Performance metrics like the SEO sitemap, page load time, and mobile-friendly UX will help get a better-designed website.

3. Post launch, Don’t Forget to Announce to Your Loyal Users

When you have launched your newly designed website, your loyal users might come back and wonder what happened. Let the visitors to your site know about the changes that you implemented and why you did it.
Make sure to give a proper and exciting explanation that will grab their attention. Gather feedback from your users about what they like and dislike about the new website. Learn whether they have any suggestions regarding the new look.


When you think of a website redesigning, you need to plan and prioritize well. The success of the redesigning process will depend on the right kind of planning and preparation.
Check the assets that you are going to use, the areas that need improvement, and the goals you want to accomplish. These will make your redesigning project a successful one.
Contact us today to learn how we handle SEO when we redesign a website. Get in touch with us to get a customized search engine optimization strategy for your website.

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Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.