Moving your website to a new content management system (CMS) can wreak havoc on your site’s SEO. That’s why it’s important to make sure you do all you can to maintain your SEO in your site’s redesign. Google Analytics will become your best friend in making sure you keep your current SEO rankings.
Start with your current site’s analytics
You should know your current website’s analytics inside and out. Know which pages are ranking for which keywords, which pages are the biggest organic traffic drivers for your site, what your bounce rates are like, and more. You’ll need this information for content strategy as well as to use as a comparison after the redesign has launched.
URLs and links
If possible, try to keep your URLs and URL structure the same. While this is not always possible, if you can keep them the same, it’s best to do so since these URLs already have authority with Google.
Internal links are also important to maintain as they not only help users navigate through your site, but they help Google crawlers navigate through pages and structure of your site as well. Make sure you include them in your redesigned site to help with your SEO.
Your site’s backlinks
You’ve spent countless hours building backlinks to your site, but what will happen to them when you redesign your site and move to a new CMS? To handle these backlinks, again, go into your Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to find out what pages on your site are currently being linked to and create permanent 301 Redirects for these pages so visitors won’t be taken to a broken page when they click on the link to your site. While this only fixes the backlinks on your end, you can also reach out to the websites that are linking to you and give them the new link and ask them to update the link on their page.
Submit your sitemap
Now that you have a new design, new CMS and new site structure, you need to prepare and create a sitemap that you can submit to Google for indexing purposes. After you submit your new site to Google, be sure to use Webmaster Tools to check for crawl errors to see if any of your pages are now sending visitors to a 404 or broken link. That being said, make your 404 pages work for you by providing useful links and information to visitors to land on them.
Moving to a new CMS and maintaining your current SEO rankings can be very tricky. However, to avoid an all out SEO disaster when you move to a new CMS, be sure to follow these four tips and keep a constant tab on your site’s analytics.