Moving your website to a new design? There are some challenges when moving to a new website design. Lots of people simply throw away their old website, replace with the new one and cross their fingers that the new one will work better. However, there is a better way…
- Never take down the old website and replace with a “coming soon” type message or image. Doing this could literally wipe away ALL your historic status with Google and the other search engines. If Google comes round to index your website whilst it is effectively down, there will be no information for it to record – everything you have built up will be wiped from it’s records.
- Always transfer the important tags: keywords, description and title tag. Even if the old website was not doing much in the way of SEO it is important that you at least reuse the old tags or build on them.
- Keep track of your stats. If the motivation for the new build is the belief that you will receive more hits, then prove it. Be sure to stick Google Analytics on the old website so that you have a before and after snapshot for comparison.
- Keep the old website. I am sure, in most cases, that your new website will be amazing. But it is always worth keeping your old website code available should you need to either revert or analyse some unexpected events.
- V important – Tell google. There is a special file call .htaccess – it allows you to tell Google that a page name has changed. By setting up redirects correctly in the .htaccess, visitors to your old pages (from inbound links or bookmarks) will automatically be presented with your new equivalent page.
You should expect to pay a little bit extra for your developers to take a more care over your website transfer. But in my opinion it is worth it – there is no point is simply throwing away all previous credibility with both your visitors and Google.
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