Upside down mentality – why giving your site a fresh look can do more harm than good.

Having a web site redesigned from time to time can be a good thing.  Maybe your visitors will see a fresh look and think they should spend more time on the site.  Maybe you’ve come up with a way to better organize the flow of information, or make the site experience more intuitive to use.

The biggest problem with this from a search engine optimization perspective is whether you seriously consider how much time, energy and work went into optimizing your site the last time – you know – all those hours you or your search optimization consultant put into properly seeding every one of the fifty pages on your site….

It simply boggles my mind that clients come to us from time to time and say how they hired someone to give the site a completely new look and feel, only to have me discover that no consideration was given to search engine optimization in that process, and where the results are 50 or 60 hours of SEO work are trashed.

Meta tags are gone.  Image alt tags and HREF link titles are gone.  Div, table and section labels are gone.  On-page in-links, bolding, italics, and lists are gone…

All the things we do on a site’s pages are trashed.

Fortunately, some of these clients are willing to pay us to do the work all over again.  And some of them even have no problem with the fact that we now have to apply 301 redirects to all the pages from the previous version of the site, now that those fifty pages are no longer going to be valid in the search engine indexes.

Yet they don’t seem to get the fact that the process can cause massive drops in search ranking.  Some of which might not be re-gained for months….

What really gets me is when they have the design changes made without giving us the ability to do the re-optimizing, have the changed site go live, and months later come to us and say “how come my site doesn’t come up on the first page at Google anymore…”

So if you are going to do a major overhaul to your web site – check with your SEO consultant first okay?

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