Things to Keep in Mind when Changing a Site Design

    December 21, 2006

When you create a new site design, you should always remember a few key points. If you don’t, not only is it bad for search engines, but also visitors.

1. Consider keeping the same file naming structure so that it will be easier for spiders to re-crawl the new site and peoples bookmarks don’t return 404 error pages.

2. 301 Redirect all old or changed URLs to the new corresponding page.

3. Create 404 error pages so that when errors occur, visitors get a nice message with the site’s look and feel.

4. Look for broken links that may have come up as the site architecture changes a bit.

5. Create a site map for your visitors so if they feel lost, they have a listing of all the pages on the site.

6. Create an XML site map to submit to Google, Yahoo and MSN to make them aware of all new URLs.

7. Keep the content the same as much as possible to keep any rankings. This ties into #1 as a file name change can also effect rankings.

8. Keep the title tags the same as much as possible to keep any rankings.

9. If changing domains or page names, consider updating links in directories or on other sites if possible. You don’t want to loses those links you previously had. Worst case scenario, 301 redirect them.

10. Tell your SEO before you make the new site live so they can help prevent any issues.


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Thomas McMahon is a SEO Designer for TopRank Online Marketing in Minneapolis, MN. His specialities inlude technical optimization of existing web sites, creating search engine friendly web designs, and blog optimization. He has also created a number of blog marketing tools, WordPress plug-ins and FireFox add-ons.