As a small business, your website is your greatest marketing tool and asset. You need to leverage it as such. It is the first thing that your customers are going to see. It can also be a strong customer acquisition tool to acquire customers through search engines, social media, etc.
Regardless of your size, it is always a good idea to redo your website and its design. My small business redesigns our website every year and a half. It is such a long process that, basically, once we finish the design, we start working on the next one. The reason for this? We see how much value it provides us with leads, and it is a crucial piece of our business.
If you haven’t redone your website in at least the last three years, then you’ll want to look into it. However, if you do end up redoing it, you’ll also want to make sure that, when you move, your rankings don’t suffer but instead increase. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you don’t increase or worse, if you lose ranking, it doesn’t matter how good the design is because it doesn’t convert.
Website Redesign SEO Tips
Here are the website redesign SEO tips I use to increase organic search engine rankings when implementing a new website design or using a new website platform.
Before you start selecting a new website design, you want to be mindful of the platform you are on. Also, have an open mind when it comes to platforms. We have been on WordPress forever and love it.
However, during our new redesign process, we were considering various platforms, such as Craft, Square Space, and more. We ended up going back to WordPress, because, in my professional opinion, it is the best platform for SEO, but you’ll still want to do your own full due diligence in selecting a platform.
If you are using a company to help you redo your website, then consult with them about the best platform. This will help you get a good idea of what is out there and what would be a good fit for you. If you are doing it yourself, then look into different review sites and try to figure out which will be the best platform for what you need.
If you want the best SEO, then I would highly recommend WordPress. It isn’t a huge surprise the majority of SEO companies use it. If you want something easier to use, and cheaper, look into Square Space. You can do the design yourself, and I have seen a lot of local businesses find success with it.
If you have a large budget, then I would recommend using a design company and even trying their custom cart solution. Don’t write off website design companies who do not use a common platform. Just be sure to look at their sample websites and make sure they are fast and do well in organic search engine rankings.
Whether you are making the website yourself or using a company to help you, make sure there is a competitor analysis. Make sure you are not just looking at companies that you think compete with your business. Look at companies that are competing with you for search engine real estate. You can do this by using a tool like SEMRush, where you can see what competitors rank for.
Using this data, you can look at competitors and understand what they rank for and what pages rank for these keywords. Once you have this data, you should use it for your new website project and create a similar structure or use their tactics in your favor in order to gain an advantage.
Obviously, each situation is different, but the main goal is to analyze what competitors rank for and then develop a strategy to outdo them with your new website.
You want to make sure that you have solid site architecture which will put you in a good position for organic search engine rankings. The main way that you can do this is to understand what your main keyword phrases are and target them with the main web pages on your navigational bar.
The reason for this is that Google likes pages that have backlinks. If you link your pages on the navigational bar, they share in the backlink authority of the homepage (which has the majority of your backlinks) and, it is hoped, they will rank higher in Google!
Make sure you understand your main phrases and which pages are targeting what. You want pages to target similar pages, So, if you are a home security company, you want a “Residential” page targeting phrases like “Home Security Company,” and a “Business” page targeting “Business Security Company.” Then you can have landing pages targeting phrases like “(City) Home Security Company” and various other phrases.
Site architecture takes a little bit of thought and strategy but, with it, you can target a lot of different phrases for which your customers are searching.
Landing Page Creation
As we discussed above, you want to have solid site architecture, which includes landing pages. You also want your landing pages to be well optimized for SEO. There are over 200 factors in Google and thousands of items to look at about on page optimization.
Instead of going through all of these items, you’ll want to make sure the following items are met:
- Keyword phrase inserted and filled out meta title.
- Keyword phrase inserted and filled out meta description.
- Keyword phrase in the header tag (h1 or h2).
- Keyword phrase in the first 100 or so words.
- Short 2-3 keyword phrase in the URL; i.e., example.com/example-content.
As long as you do those things, you will be successful. Here is an example of a perfect landing page.
If you do decide to move websites, you will obviously want to improve the following items, as they are what Google looks at when judging a website for authority. Make sure you use this as a checklist to ensure that you will improve your SEO when moving.
Site Speed – This one is fairly standard. You want to make sure that your site speed is superior, and that you have a good Google Page Speed score. If it isn’t, then you need to work with your developer/designer to make the necessary changes to improve the site speed. If you are using WordPress, there are various plugins to improve your speed.
Content Writing – Google can detect poorly written content and will penalize you for it. If the user searches Google, goes to a website, and then leaves right away, Google will penalize your website for that search. So, long story short, you need well-written professional content to rank high in Google. Use a professional copywriting service to make great content that your customer base will want to read and which they will relate to.
Proper Coding – This is more for companies with websites built on things like Ruby on Rails. You want to make sure your header tags are on an H1 and that you only have 1 per page. You want to make sure you have a meta title and description for each page. For a complete list, check this out, and make sure your web pages check off for at least the majority of them.
Site Structure – This one is fairly straightforward. If you use WordPress, then, generally, you are good to go as long as you select the permalinks that are keyword rich. You’ll want to use the following structure for your URLs:
You can see that the URLs are keyword rich and easy for Google to understand. If you change your URLs when moving, make sure you 301 redirect the old URLs to new ones.
Mobile Optimization – Last, you want to make sure that your new site is mobile-friendly and does not have interstitials, which can penalize you. Make sure you do not hide content on mobile, either, because of the mobile-first index.
Start a Blogging Schedule
Finally, post launch, make sure you start a blog schedule. Creating long-form content on your blog is an extremely effective strategy, especially for local businesses. The main reason that blogging normally doesn’t work for small businesses is because they do it incorrectly.
Create 1,000-word blogs that are in-depth and answer customers’ questions or solve their problems. This will capture them in the research phase and, then, you’ll have a better chance to convert them into customers in the buying phase.
There are thousands of ways to optimize your website for search engines, but these strategies are surefire ways to implement best practices easily and effectively. If you are redoing your website or thinking about it, I highly suggest you follow these guidelines to be successful.
Search Photo via Shutterstock