Whenever you are making wholesale changes to your website, it is crucial to ensure your website does not take a hit in the search engine results pages. Making sure to avoid any potential SEO hit should be one of the main objectives when implementing major website changes.
Google’s John Mueller recently participated in a discussion on Reddit and shared some valuable insights, advice, and best practices on how to implement big changes without negatively affecting the site’s SEO and rankings.
Here are a few important points John Mueller mentioned:
Domain name changes are safer than you think
You would think that changing the domain name of a website would have a big impact on everything SEO related, but it is relatively safe.
According to Mueller, moving your entire site structure and content is relatively safe — especially when compared to a website redesign and update.
He said, “You’ll potentially see more fluctuations from the redesign / revamp than from the domain name change. Moving things 1:1 from one domain to another is – for the most part – a non-issue.”
Website redesign and major structural changes
As an SEO, you are always looking to make any improvements to the website’s improvement if you can. Making structural changes and redesigning your website is something that many SEOs undertake. However, there may be unintended consequences.
According to Mueller, you should be extra careful if you are doing any of the following things:
- Moving site to a different content management system
- Rebuilding a website
- Restructuring site content
- Changing URLs
- Redesigning the website design
- Revamping the internal linking structure
Make big changes in multiple phases
Furthermore, John Mueller advised that big, structural changes to the website should be done in multiple phases.
The big reason is multiple phases would allow you to give proper attribution to improvements. Moreover, you will also be able to understand the reason for any potential negative impact and attribute it to a specific change.
“If you do everything at once, you’ll never know what to fix, and even if things end up “same as before”, you won’t know if one part went down, and was compensated by an improvement on the other part. Keep things controllable & trackable,” says John Mueller.
Rebuilding or redesigning a website is often a big undertaking — one that may have unintended consequences for the website’s SEO performance and search rankings.
Many of those potential problems can be avoided by following John’s recommendations.
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