What To Avoid In Your Redesign: Forgetting all about 301 redirects

Broken LinkOne of the easiest mistakes to make when redesigning your site is that you tend to get rid of the old while creating new materials. When you do this, you are trashing pages that possibly have rank in search engines or have backlinks. This means that you’ve just eliminated all SEO value attached to those pages and when you relaunch your new site, you may wonder why your search engine rankings have plummeted. This brings us to our next topic of conversation - forgetting to set up 301 redirects.

A 301 redirect is super easy to set up and will save you a lot of heartache later on. A 301 redirect is simply a permanent redirect from one URL to another. If you are switching domains or simply consolidating content as part of your redesign, 301 redirects are crucial to ensure that any SEO value from your old URLs gets transferred to the new URLs. This will help Google know where your content can be found.

For example, you might have a page with the story of your company (yoursite.com/story) as well as a page talking about your team members (yoursite.com/teammembers). In your new design you would like to consolidate the content of these two pages into an “About Us” page. In order to transfer whatever SEO value you have in those two pages, you need to set up 301 redirects so that people will be redirected to your new URL page.

And before you get too crazy with the delete function, here’s a handy tip to follow. Before deleting any pages or even beginning to set up your 301 redirects, first set up a URL outline of your old site. This will allow you to catalogue all of your menu sections and menu sub items with their corresponding URL. By organizing your site, you’ll have an easy to read road map of all the 301 redirects you need to create and you can mark each one as you go. This will ensure you don’t leave any pages in the dust.

Remember, ALWAYS redirect your old site pages to the new URLs. Not doing this will pretty much equal SEO suicide when you try to launch a new site and your rankings, not to mention traffic, have all but disappeared.