Monday, 11 January 2021

How To Avoid Traffic Loss After A Website Redesign


One of the key goals when redesigning a website is retaining and improving your hotel website SEO and organic traffic

This requires not only careful planning for the site migration, but also a clear understanding of how SEO and website design work together. 

Designing a new website for your luxury 5-star hotel is an exciting venture. While the creative process can be rewarding there are many technical pitfalls to avoid. 

To make sure that your new luxury website development does not suffer any organic traffic and revenue losses, the redesign SEO needs to be an integral part of the process from the start. 

Ask yourself:

  • What type of a website upgrade are you preparing for? 
  • Do you want to change your domain name? 
  • Do you want to move to a new content management system? 
  • Do you want to redesign the entire website? 

Let's look at 5 important SEO considerations for website redesigns. 

1. conduct a website audit on your current site

Conducting an SEO audit at the start of the redesign process will help in evaluating the condition of your current website. It will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your luxury hotel SEO.

  • Decide what elements are to be migrated or perhaps deleted. 
  • Identify which sections meet technical requirements (so that search engines can detect them)

Firstly, your site needs to be crawled to note all the URLs and to understand the URL structure. 

Next, check the speed of key landing pages such as the home page, accommodation, dining, and special offers. If the load time is slow, investigate the reason so it can be improved for the new website. 

Analyze the top organic keywords so you have a basis for comparison after the new website goes live. 

Conducting the predesign audit will help to spot potential issues as well as the strengths which can be replicated on the new site. 


2. Redirect old URLs to new ones 

Redirects are one of the most important elements to implement during a website redesign process. 

But be careful! Not having proper redirects in place is the most common cause for traffic loss. 

If it's done in the right way, Google and other search engines can pass their page rank from the old URL to the new one and index the new pages accordingly. 

Redirects should point from the old page to a similar page – you should always aim to find the closest content match for page redirects. 

These are called 301 redirects and they help Google and other search engines understand that the word or phrase that was once found [here] is now found [in this new place].

For example, if your hotel no longer offers a junior suite, that page can be redirected to the generic suites page:
hotelname.com/accommodation/junior-suites 
re directed to: hotelname.com/ accommodation/suites
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3. Review your on-page optimization 

You may need to rewrite sections of your website content. For example, you might rewrite your homepage copy, or change your offer descriptions to feature more up-to-date information Including new keywords. This is good for search engines.
 
On the other hand, if you remove pages and keywords which were driving a lot of traffic to your old site, problems will arise. 

Before launching your new site, find the keywords that your current website is ranking for. You can use Google search console for this approach. Ensure that any high-volume keywords are carefully weaved into the redesign. 

Take this opportunity to include other important keywords that might boost your ranking. Ensure you carry over SEO elements such as headlines (H1, H2, and H3), meta titles, meta descriptions, URL structure, alt tags for images and internal linking. 

4. Do not delete pages

Your website has been on its CMS platform for several years and you have achieved good keyword positions. Do not discard your optimized pages and, as a result, lose all the traffic they bring to your business. 

For instance, if your website has a section listing local attractions with a specific page dedicated to each place of interest you may assume that these pages do not generate much revenue. 

In fact, this type of content often brings people to the site and is excellent for local search queries.

When potential guests look up "museums in central London" or "hotels near the London Eye", these organic searches will drive valuable traffic to your website.  

If you drop these pages you will quickly lose ranking for important keywords. Google will no longer consider your website relevant to these topics hence losing value in the rankings and traffic. 
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5. Keep the site structure intact 

The structure of pages on your hotel website is called site architecture and refers to how each page is connected to another. Items listed in the main navigation bar are primary pages such as rooms, offers, weddings and so on. 

These primary pages pass link equity down to the secondary pages with the same topic.

Google understands how value passes from one page to the next through internal links. Where the target page is located in the hierarchical structure will determine the value passed to these pages. 

Internal links are implemented through the navigation bar or content hyperlinks. Both can be utilized to connect with higher value pages if you want to push for more prominent ranking for a certain page. 

During a website redesign it may be suggested that a primary navigation page should be moved elsewhere. For instance, 'spa' might be included under a new section called 'leisure'. 

In this case, remember that link equity will be lost from the old website's primary navigation as the internal linking structure would also change. 

Traffic for these 'spa' pages will drop and take some months to recover in this search results. 

Try to keep the same structure for the new website as that which existed on the old website in order to retain link equity.