The goal of a site redesign is typically to make the site sleeker and easier to navigate. Sometimes the goal is to be able to use a simpler content management system. Whatever the goal, the path to the redesign entails moving content and files around, sometimes renaming, redirecting and, unfortunately, losing content whether intentional or not. Being sure you don’t lose content you should keep requires a plan that evaluates much more than the look and navigation.

Update Mishaps

  1. Elimination of query string urls: The use of query strings to identify session ids and store user preferences creates thousands of urls per page. Links to the query string urls will need to be redirected. Users tend to copy urls from the address bar. If people link to your pages with the query string urls and you don’t redirect those urls to the new target pages, you will lose the link juice and traffic those back links produced.
  2. Creation of additional query strings: Many updates are done to accommodate additional filter options for ecommerce store category pages to include search choices like price: high to low, price: low to high, color, size, etc. Each one of these search options will generate a new url. If all the content is contained on the search page, then it’s better to block those filter option url pages from being picked up by search.
  3. Scaling down your on-page content to make a sleeker page will inevitably remove words that helped that page rank. If you can’t find an organized way to maintain that page content, you can move that content to a new page and link to it from the original. Tossing the content altogether can have a negative impact.
  4. Deletion of page:  When a page is redesigned, you might forget about a link to a page on your website, turning that linked-to page into an orphan page or neglecting to import it to the new site.
  5. Subdomains: If you move content to a subdomain, your main site won’t enjoy the seo benefits of that content. That’s a tactic you should reserve for poor quality content that’s hurting your site. Any effort you can make to improve the poor quality content instead of moving it would be far more beneficial.

Proper Planning

You should create a spreadsheet of old urls and where their places are in the new design. Don’t change a url if you don’t have to; you’ll only throw your rankings for a loop. If you must change the url because the content management system won’t produce the same url structures, then be sure to redirect all the old urls and update the internal links to the new urls.

Theresa Happe works with where you can buy .com domains for any type of website.

What Gets Lost In Site Redesigns