But the way in which you upgrade and rebuild your site can have a big effect on your business, and more specifically how your rank organically in the major search engines. Organic traffic for most sites makes up between 30% to 50% of all visits and applying changes that affects this traffic means you get less visits, leads or conversions.
So here are 6 of the biggest ways to harm your online search traffic and therefore your key online business metrics in the process:
- Change the domain
Your organisation’s domain is a brand asset and changing it means losing all the search engine reputation it may have built-up over time. On the flip-side, if your domain has been significantly tainted by bad (black hat) SEO practices in the past, it may be best to start from scratch again with a fresh URL.
- Change the user experience
A change in the site design, the navigation, the directory structure you use and many other factors can influence how your site ranks.
- Change the content
Not all online content is created equal. The way your copy is written can have a major influence on how your site is indexed and then ranked online.. from its relevance to the search term(s) to the way the text is structured. However, a new web presence is an opportunity to review all of your content (including your images and the meta content behind the scenes).
- Change the hosting platform
Migrating from one website host to another may seem like a simple task. But where and how you host your website can have an effect on how you rank in Google, Yahoo, etc. especially if the hosting is slow or not located in the country / region where your customers (and target search engines) are.
- Ignore web standards
It takes hard work and determined effort to deliver a new website, especially if you have tight timescales to deliver to. And the area that can get compromised include: the quality of the code, the compliance to accessibility, the use of ‘alt’ tags for image alternatives, etc. In other words, a failure to follow web standards can have a negative impact on your site’s rankings in search engines.
- Re-launch it incorrectly
Sites fail to launch properly in all sorts of ways, from failing to cut-over all content correctly through to not getting the new site indexed in Google as quickly as possible… you are never going to get a second chance to make a first impression on the main search engines.