If you have an existing website with a reasonable search engine ranking, redeveloping that website can cause a dramatic dip in ranking if it’s not managed properly.
Why? Well, search engines are frequently ‘crawling’ the internet looking for new websites and content. At some point in the past, your website’s content was added to each search engine’s master database.
So if your home page has changed from www.yoursite.com/index.html to www.yoursite.com/default.aspx on the new site, search engines can no longer find the original page and they’ll remove it from their listing or mark it as ‘temporarily moved’.
Of course, given time, your new website pages will be found by search engines, however they’ll be starting from scratch as far as their ranking goes, unless your website developer follows some crucial steps:
- Retain existing metadata
Metadata (technical data about your website) is used by search engines to find out more about your site. Assuming that this metadata is already set up and configured properly on your existing site, your developer should ensure it’s added to your new website as well.
- Set up redirects from old pages to new pages
To avoid search engines thinking your old website has disappeared completely, your developer must set up ‘301 redirects’ for every page that has had a change of address on the new site. What this does, in layperson’s terms, is tell search engines ‘Page ABC from my old site has now permanently moved to page XYZ on the new site’.
- Let search engines know about the new website
Your developer can create a sitemap.xml file which essentially lists every page on your website. A link to this file must be submitted to search engines as soon as possible after the website is launched to ensure they have an accurate, up-to-date listing of all of your new website pages.
Following these steps will ensure that there is minimal, if any, impact on your website’s search engine ranking.
If your website is overdue for a revamp, we can guide you through the entire process.