At some point you’ll decide to redesign your store.
Perhaps you’ll get tired of the current design. Or realize it no longer delivers to your customers’ expectations. It doesn’t matter.
What matters is how much the change is going to affect your traffic, rankings and sales.
Launching new URLs will result in losing backlinks. Wrong redirects will cause drop in traffic. New templates might lack their predecessor’s on-page optimization and thus, will no longer rank so well, and so on.
In this post, I’ll detail which SEO elements you need to specifically pay attention to during a store redesign.
Fixing many of those and other common errors would require starting from scratch. Not ideal, is it? So if you plan to redesign your store, get an SEO specialist involved from the start. They will be able to look at any of your ideas from a traffic perspective – and spot problems designers and developers are likely to miss. With that out of the way, we can now look at ways to ensure you won’t lose as little traffic as possible after a redesign.
Chances are, if you’re only changing your store’s theme you won’t be amending URLs or a site structure. But if you’re:
Changing an ecommerce platform? The new platform may create different URLs.
Fixing prior poor URL structure? New slugs are inevitable.
Changing the strategy and site architecture? You’ll have to amend URLs.
Because of these changes, you might run at problems with how Google indexes your site. The search engine might drop certain pages from the index, causing a loss of traffic.
Prevent this by setting up proper redirects between old and new URLs. Ideally, use a 301 redirect to ensure Page Rank passes from old to the new URL.
Changing URLs may have one more negative effect on your SEO – loss of backlinks. Many of your URLs have backlinks pointing to them. New URLs means that those links will now point to pages that no longer exist. 301 redirects help somewhat, but inevitably, some links will be lost in the process. And without them, your store might lose its SEO authority. To ensure this doesn’t happen:
During the redesign process you might decide to delete some pages from your site. These might be old resource pages, tutorials you find out-dated, or other content you consider irrelevant. But many of these pages might still be bringing traffic.Removing them could result in drop in visitors. Not to mention that they might have links pointing to them as well. Deleting those URLs might result in loss of precious authority signals and rankings. Therefore, instead of deleting those pages, consider updating them with new content and making them even more attractive to visitors.
Given the effect images have on conversions, you may feel tempted to focus on visual elements on a site while reducing the content. Content, however, is one of the key ranking factors and cutting it from the site will reduce this important relevancy signal, causing a drop in rankings. Instead of replacing content with images, why not try:
Ensure that you optimize your pages to the same level as they were before the redesign. This means ensuring not only that meta-tags are optimized but also ensuring pages load fast and contain no technical errors.
With your new store ready, update sitemap(s) to tell Google of any new URLs or site structure changes and help the search engine index your site.
Lastly, conduct a thorough site audit. But do it twice – once before the redesign process commences, to discover what elements you should fix. Then conduct the audit again after the process concludes. This will help you assess if:
Redesigning your store is a tricky process. New design can help refresh your site and increase conversions. But it can also cause a serious drop in traffic, rankings, and revenue. To avoid any of this from happening, involve SEO in the process from the start.