admin Head of Development
2020.04.15.
SEO
Head of Development

Redesign SEO mistakes

When you redesign a website, any kind of problem may occur. With a best case scenario, these are just small bugs or misspellings.

Worst case, complete features fall prey to negligent work.

But what happens sometimes is… just a disaster.

What you can see from the graph is that the website’s organic traffic disappears overnight, and basically instead of 150,000 organic clicks a day, no one comes from Google.
By the most pessimistic calculations, this can cost thousands of dollars. Each day.
And the most annoying thing about it is that it could have been completely avoided!
But how?

Website redesign SEO mistakes

A ton of errors can happen, if the website owner is starting to redesign the website alone, without professional help.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of cases where “experienced” professionals made the same mistakes.

In such cases, here’s what usually happens:

1. Instead of dedicated pages, there is only one, giant monster

This is a very rare, but fatal mistake.

The following happens:

• Website owners believe the longer the content, the better (from SEO perspective)

• So they compress all of their articles into a one, big, giant page – with the same URL.

The results?

Hundreds of articles, tens of thousands of words, hundreds of work hours… 0 organic traffic.

It’s a typical mistake, you wouldn’t believe it happens until you see it.

Here is an example: http://web.archive.org/web/20180830184714/https://www.mall.hu/blog

Even if we take off the SEO hat for a moment, the idea is absolutely wrong. Who wants to scroll through tens of thousands of words and 150 pages online?

We don’t want to read a book on blogs, but rather find a solution to our questions!

Solution: You should always publish your content on unique URLs, and each one should have a different keyword target.

2. The improper use of redirects 

When redesigning a page, it is advisable to eliminate the zombie pages.

Zombie pages are those that have 0 traffic on a website. 

Unfortunately, in many cases, website owners do not even get to the point to recognize their zombie pages, not to mention redirects.

Deleting a subpage will remove the content, but not the URL. As a result Google will detect and index it. There will be nothing on the subpage, just a 404 error code.

And this seriously hurts the credibility of the website, considering both the users and the search engines.

Solution: There are 3 ways to handle zombie pages:

  1. You can optimize them to meet the SEO requirements
  2. You can merge it with another, well-performing content and redirect it
  3. If the previous 2 versions are not working, then delete the page and redirect the URL.

In addition, the use of proper redirection is very important too when migrating complete domains.

3. Completely ignoring mobile traffic

In 2020 mobile is the most important tool for a website user.

But websites are never built on mobile.

For this reason, home-made websites often completely ignore mobile visitors – however, nowadays they are far more numerous than any other device.

Google Search Console will notify you immediately if it finds that your webpage is not mobile-friendly or does not work well on a small screen (e.g., clickable items are too close to each other, text is not readable enough, etc.)

A flawless website works just as well on every device, whether it’s your computer, tablet, phone or anything else (like smart TV).

This means that the features should work the same way, the graphs should appear, or the table of contents should remain clickable, as you can see it in this Hungarian business article:

Solution: Responsive design. Without it, it is impossible to get the right place in search results today. There is no element hanging down from the screen. There is no separate mobile URL and no separate desktop URL. Just one, well-designed responsive website.

4. Incorrect use of images

If a single bug had to be highlighted, that is present on almost every web page, that would be the incorrect use of the images.

They can cause a lot of problems:

  1. they are not properly sized, so they hang down – or just too small
  2. are uncompressed and therefore take up too much space
  3. contain text that search engines cannot read
  4. image file name and alternative text are not optimized or completely missing
  5. no scaled image service

…and the list can go on.

They make the UX worse, slow down the page – and have a negative impact on Google rankings, both directly and indirectly.

The faster and more useful a page is, the better it will rank.

Solution: It is important that you upload your images with keyword-optimized filenames and alternative texts, and they are compressed and scaled to the exact size of the page requires it – and never contain too much text, because search engines can’t read texts from images.

5. SSL Certificate

A common mistake is that new pages are not made as HTTPS pages.

However, Google has reacted openly against HTTP sites, it has labeled non-SSL certified sites as “Not safe” from 2017, but has begun to “penalize” those sites much earlier, in 2014.

The certificate costs only 4-12 bucks a year, but in return it provides a secure and encrypted channel between the client and the server.

As a result, sensitive information (such as credit card details, login details) is transmitted during encryption to prevent data leakage or theft.

Solution: All new websites must be SSL certified. There are no exceptions.

You can easily check if a page has it.

If so, you will see a “secure” padlock, just like in etuo’s webshop.

This is important in their case, since they deal with cell phone cases, so a lot of credit card and personal information are handled by the website.

However, if you do not see the “secure” sign, a warning sign with the inscription “Not secure” appears. Never provide personal information, passwords or credit card details on such sites.

5 + 1. “Accidental” blocking of search robots

It’s common that a website’s organic traffic is going to zero during migration.

The first thing worth considering:

Is the page set to no-index?

It should be as trivial as looking around before you step on the road.

If you have any problems with your organic traffic, be sure to check it!

A page should only be non-indexed if you do not want it to be detected by search engines.

Summary

A lot of things can go wrong during a website migration, domain move, or redesign.

It is important to back up the page, so that you do not lose important visitor traffic until the problem is found.

If you want to avoid the unknown and gamble with your website – and rely on a team of experts instead – you’re in the right place!