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Does redesigning a website affect SEO?

When redesigning a website or migrating to a new CMS, you'll want to make sure you take steps to avoid a Google penalty. Many companies have lost up to 70% of their organic traffic following either of these.

Thankfully, there are ways you can avoid punishment when hoping to improve your website.

Crawl Your Website and Understand It

When you implement a website redesign, you're likely to see a change in URL structure. If this is the case, you need to make sure search engines are aware of this change. If they aren't, you can inadvertently deteriorate your SEO value. Once those old URLs are gone, they're gone, meaning that you'll see a drop if Google doesn't automatically switch to the new URLs.

You can perform a website crawl to better understand your URLs and see how they'll change. Screaming Frog is a great software to use this, with a great free version available. Make sure you don't forget any subdomains.

Analyze Your Inbound Links

Inbound links are vital for building SEO power, with the potential of losing power when changing URL structure. An inbound link analysis can help you develop a full picture of your link profile. Following an analysis, make sure your developers know which pages need to be migrated, and use 301 redirects to point all old URLs to new corresponding relevant pages.

However, if you can keep the same URL structure, this is advisable. You won't need to worry about the potentially daunting task of redirecting all of your existing pages that way.

Get an SEO Audit to See What Could Use Improvement

To see where your website's SEO stands and how you can further improve it prior to migration or redesign, get an SEO audit. A professional audit can tell you what's working and what isn't, helping you prepare for the move to avoid penalization. You can even use an audit to develop a roadmap for future SEO tasks.

These are a few ways you can improve your website's SEO and avoid getting punished when redesigning or migrating your website.