SEO is tricky and web redesign projects can add an additional layer of confusion. Fortunately, I have compiled a checklist to ensure you correctly implement the appropriate 301 redirects to preserve your the SEO integrity of your site.
Step 1: Obtain a list of all URL’s that will be changing.
I am well aware this isn’t always possible when a client is undergoing a website redesign. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask them to provide you with a list of all URL’s that their development team plans on changing. From here you can crawl their development/ test site and find appropriate redirects for the pages that are changing.
If they do not have any idea which pages are changing are do not give you a list we go on to the next step.
Step 2: Login into Google Analytics and export a list of the top landing pages that receive the most traffic.
Take the website into account and pull landing pages that have a decent volume. Don’t waste time redirecting a page with minimal traffic.
Step 3: Find their equivalent match within the test or development site.
Step 4: Do a find & replace within excel to switch out the domain for the production domain. All that should change essentially is the URI.
Step 5: Correctly compile and implement your redirect list.
As a side note if the website I am working on is an ongoing digital marketing client I like to add tracking parameters to the 301 redirects.
Over time too many redirects can wreak havoc on page speed. Therefore, it’s important to only use a 301 redirect when it’s necessary which is why we add the tracking parameters. It is a good idea to double back after a few months and remove any redirects that aren’t being used.
There you have it 5 simple steps to implement 301 redirects during a site redesign and preserve SEO equity.
Let me know about some of your best practices when it comes to website redesigns!