Monday: New Site, New Problems
It happens all the time, for big reasons or little ones, and it’s one of the greatest chal-
lenges to an SEO campaign: a website redesign in which all or most of the URLs on the
site change. Suddenly, every inbound link to your site is outdated. Bookmarks lead to
broken links. Traffic plummets. Your search engine ranks drop off the map! And these
problems can linger long after the revamp.
If your site was recently redesigned, or you’re still working through repercus-
sions from a long-ago revamp, or even if you’re planning your site’s next incarnation,
here are some ideas for handling the sticky situations that crop up:
Do all your outdated pages redirect to appropriate new ones? Don’t
just redirect them to the home page. Ideally, each old page would redirect to a new
page with similar subject matter. If this is not the case with your site, your task for
today is to create a list of old URLs that are still getting traffic and the new URLs that
they should be redirecting to. Then send it to your IT team member, who can help set
things right using a server setting called a
File Not Found Page
Do you have a kinder, gentler File Not Found (
The page should, first and foremost, apologize to your patient readers for not being the
page they’re looking for. Next, it should
help them find the page they’re looking for!
This could be by providing a site map, search box, or suggested links. If your File Not
Found page is not helpful, your task is to propose new traffic-friendly content for the
page and either implement it or deliver it to the person who can do so.
Do you still have a multitude of links pointing to your old pages? If so,
your task is to sweep the Web for links to your old URLs and request updates. We
showed you how to find links that point to a specific page in Chapter 6, “Your One-
Month Prep: Baseline and Keywords.”
Did you clean up your old navigation? You’ll never know until you
check. Run a
, a program that checks your website for broken links inter-
nally. Tomorrow, you’ll learn where to find these and other fun tools.
Massive site revamps have been known to cause more harm than good. So we
would be remiss if we didn’t tell you this:
Before you think about a site redo just to “keep things fresh,” take stock of
whether you’re satisfied with your rankings, whether you have a good number of
inbound links, and most important, whether your site satisfies the overall goals of your
organization. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t want to tempt fate with a redesign.
Pearl of Wisdom:
Sometimes it’s best to follow the old maxim If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
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