Ideally, you would keep track of important SEO factors during a website redesign. But that isn’t always the case and websites can always be re-optimized. Although it’s better to have a SEO web design checklist to work off of during the redesign process, it still helps to evaluate your site after a major change. Although the list can be endless, here are a few things to take note of before things get out of hand.
Duplicate content – Have you ever seen a site with hundreds of duplicate pages? You’d be surprised. Make sure to check for duplicate content when you go through your sitemap and cut down any low/no ranking pages with low content. The goal is to funnel down the most helpful information and help it rank even better. There are many helpful tools like Copyscape and Simple Page Checker.
URL changes – If possible, always try to keep your original URLs. This isn’t always possible, especially if you switch over to a content management system or vice versa. If this is the case, make sure to 301 redirect and direct internal links to the right pages. Tools like LinkSleuth should come in very handy for that.
robots.txt file – This text file is a crucial part of any well-optimized website. It tells search engines what pages to ignore and where to look for things on your site. One mistake could prevent your website from being crawled or blocked from Google bot. Not good!
Website analytics – If possible, it’s helpful to check analytics at least once a month. This includes Google Webmaster Tools and anything else you use for checking keyword rankings and search results. Using these tools regularly will help you gauge the success of your website and help you diagnose problems such as a decrease in website traffic and a fall in rankings.
Search engine marketing news – Sites like SEOmoz and Search Engine Roundtable always break the latest SEM news. Articles and comments can help give you a heads up on Penguin and Panda updates and what to look out for. Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing so things that were important, say 3 years ago, can be quickly outdated.
Many things can change and be lost during a website redesign. If you’re handing off your website to a new internet marketing firm, it’s important to know that they’re committed to continuously optimizing your website and not just doing it once and leaving it stagnant for months or years. This checklist can help serve as a starting point for something that can be done on a regular basis to ensure that your website is in good health.