iGB Affiliate 55 Feb/Mar - Page 29

TRAFFIC WEBSITE REDESIGN: 5 SEO CHECKS TO SAVE AND INCREASE YOUR TRAFFIC Are you planning to change the design of your website or its underlying platform? Here Matteo Monari of BizUp provides his expert guide to getting the right strategy and checks in place to protect against losing traffic in the process. WITH MORE AND more users switching from desktop to mobile devices as their favourite way to access the Web and mobile searches1 surpassing desktop searches, many websites still stuck in the desktop-only world are rushing towards mobile-friendly possibly even mobile-first - redesigns. Most changes in the design (i.e. front-end) of a website are potentially critical in terms of SEO, and if we consider the fact that very often redesigning a website also means re-platforming it (e.g. changing its backend and URL structure as well) we can easily understand why any action of this kind entails several SEO risks. Long-term benefits following a good redesign are often significant, but in the short and middle-term, even small mistakes in the redesign and migration processes can lead to significant traffic loss. To help you limit these risks and improve the SEO benefits of a website redesign, here are 5 SEO safety checks you should always perform before launching a new design. 1. Identify your most important pages and sections Websites can have hundreds, thousands and even millions of pages, but most of the time the value of their content follows a typical 80-20 distribution rule, in which 20% of the pages are responsible for 80% of their traffic and revenue. More precisely though, the most important pages of your website are not only those with the highest amount of traffic, but those with the highest value. This can be assessed in number of different ways – traffic, but also rankings, persuasion, conversions and links. Before launching your newly designed website - possibly even before starting to develop it - you should make sure to know Figure 1: Majestic analysis of most linked-to pages what the most important pages of your site are, not only in terms of traffic and conversion (i.e. sign-ups and leads) but also in terms of rankings, links and SEO value. Here are four questions you can ask yourself to identify such pages: 1. W  hich pages are the most popular landing pages for SEO traffic? 2. W  hich pages are key steps in the conversion funnel? 3. W  hich pages drive most conversions? 4. W  hich pages have received the most links in the past? Ahead of starting your redesign you should answer these questions and make clear lists of your top pages. As a matter of fact, in your redesign you will want to pay special attention to their layout, hierarchy and migration, in order not to lose their precious traffic, persuasive power, conversions and SEO value. From a technical point of view, questions 1 to 3 can be answered by your analytics software, while for question 4 you can use SEO tools like Majestic2 or Moz3, which can provide http://searchengineland.com/its-official-google-says-more-searches-now-on-mobile-than-on-desktop-220369 http://www.majestic.com http://www.moz.com 4 https://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.it/2015/10/deprecating-our-ajax-crawling-scheme.html you with lists of your site’s most linked-to and “powerful” pages (See Figure 1). 2. Make sure your new design has no obvious SEO pitfalls If you are changing your old website for a new one, it goes without saying that the latter should satisfy all basic requirements in terms of SEO. As a quick checklist, here is a non-exhaustive list of macroscopic mistakes you may make when redesigning your site: Moving content to login-protected areas. As search engine spiders are not registered users, it would be impossible for them to access any area of your site that requires a username or password in order for users to access it. Therefore, you should consider replicating any “hidden” piece of fundamental information in a publicly accessible area of the site. Generating key areas of content using AJAX and JavaScript. Despite recent advances in crawling and indexing JavaScript-based content4, HTML-based content remains a safer and easier-to- • • 1 2 3 iGB Affiliate Issue 55 FEB/MAR 2016 25