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Redesigning Your Website? Why You Need to Work with an SEO Firm

Why Do I Need an SEO Firm?

When redesigning your website, it is vital to take SEO into consideration. If your website isn’t easy for Google to crawl, doesn’t provide a simple UX, and portray trust to your customers, no amount of keyword optimization or SEO magic is going to help you improve search engine rankings, grow your online presence or increase online leads/ revenue.

To ensure your new site will resonate with your targeted audience — and to save yourself from costly headaches down the road — SEO needs to be integrated into your website redesign strategy from the beginning.

SEO is not just about optimizing page titles and on-page content, it’s about all the factors that help you improve your search-engine rankings and online presence, and YOUR WEBSITE EXPERIENCE is #1.

You can partner with a website design/development agency, but without an experienced SEO company/specialist you’re going to have to make significant changes after your new website has been created.

What is SEO?

SEO is anything that impacts potential links, any input that engines use to rank pages. Anything that people or technology does to influence those ranking elements is what the practice of SEO is about.

– Rand Fishkin, Moz

Related Post: How Long Does it Take for SEO to Produce Results? ➢

Your Website Redesign & SEO

While you may want to try and save money by pausing your retainer with your SEO partner during your website redesign, you’re likely going to end up paying more in the long run because of the significant changes that will probably need to be made from a website UX perspective. Changes include: adding CTA’s, URL/folder structure, keyword optimized URLs, H1 vs H2 title tags, internal linking, content that builds trust with readers, etc.)

Myself, along with other digital marketing and SEO experts can’t emphasize enough the importance of incorporating SEO into the redesign of your website:

“If you don’t have SEO in mind from the initial strategy session, you’re going to lose what you took so much time and effort to build. Everything from the structure of your website to the meta description of your website pages is important and should be taken into consideration.”

-Laura Hogan, OverGo Studio

“All too often, when we’re brought in for SEO work on a redesign, it’s often late in the process, such as when the site is being coded or even totally complete. The advice that usually needs to be passed on at this point will most likely cost the company much more in design, coding, and more.”

-Jeff Ferguson, Fang Digital Marketing

Like many small-to-mid-sized business owners, you might wonder why your digital marketing firm is talking about your website’s UX. The overall design experience of your website, as well as its mobile friendliness, is a ranking factor for Google. Plus, in order for SEO and PPC to be effective in helping you grow your business and generate leads, your website has to provide a great UX to visitors and establish trust.

Related Post: Mobile Optimization vs. Mobile Friendly: What’s the Difference? ➢

 “SEO is neuropsychology. SEO is conversion rate optimization. SEO is social media. SEO is user experience and design. SEO is branding. SEO is analytics. SEO is product. SEO is advertising. SEO is public relations. The fill-in-the-blank is SEO if that blank is anything that affects any input directly or indirectly.”

 -Rand Fishkin, MOZ

Related Post: What is SEO? – Beyond the Keywords ➢

Isn’t My Website Good Enough?

‘Good Enough’ won’t cut it when it comes to your website’s UX

A few reasons why having a good UX matters:

  • A poorly designed website can impact the trust users have in your business.
  • A poorly designed website can deter visitors from buying your products or services.
  • A poorly designed website can impact if users will share your content.


If you choose to hire a web-design company or freelance designer for your small to mid-sized business, you should be sure to also choose an individual or SEO firm to partner with during the redesign process. They will help ensure SEO best practices will be properly integrated into your new website from the beginning. This will save you time, and money, down the road.

man reviewing a whiteboard

New Site Launch SEO Checklist


6 Step Pre-Launch Checklist

Keyword Content map

Before you go through your SEO checklist for your new site, make sure you map out the entire structure of your website in excel outlining the architecture of the website.

URL > Level of Depth > Keyword of Focus > Page Title > Meta Description

1. Accessibility

Can crawlers get to all pages. Screaming Frog is a great tool.

  • Duplicate Content?
  • Thin Content?
  • Broken Links?
  • Broken Pages?

Is content accessible to all browsers? Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari. Use a browser checker.

Do Pages load fast from everywhere? Google Speed Test.

Is the user experience (UX) enjoyable for everyone? Can ask family, friends, employees to conduct an informal usability test on the website. Five Second Test or UsabilityHub are great resources for formal testing.

2. Create a 301 redirect strategy

Create an index of top pages on the site.
Use analytics data to help develop a strategy for top content.
Determine if there will be new pages, where pages can be eliminated and what pages should be recreated.
Individually map old URLs to new URLs, organized by site architecture.
If a page is being eliminated, find the most relevant page for a 301 redirect.
This may be THE most important step in the entire redesign process in terms of retaining traffic and rankings.

3. Set Up Important Services and tracking

  • Google Search Console
  • Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Google Analytics
  • Raven / Moz / Hrefs / SEMRush
    • Track your rankings, set up regular crawls, find competitive opportunities, potential link-building opportunities etc.
  • Retargeting and Remarketing – Even if you don’t want to pay now and you’re not going to use any of the services, go ahead and put the retargeting pixels from at least Facebook and Google onto your website, on all of your pages, so that those audiences are accessible to you later on in the future.
  • Brand Alerts – The cheapest option is Google Alerts, which is free, but it’s not very good at all. If you’re using Moz Pro, there’s Fresh Web Explorer alerts, which is great. is also good.

4. Schema, Rich Snippets Opengraph etc.

After initial page optimization are there other content and image opportunities?
Rich Snippet opportunities?
Open Graph opportunities?
Resources available for Facebook, Twitter, Google, Bing.

5. Benchmark current metrics 

Home Page Authority
Domain Authority
Number of pages indexed in Google


Launch Checklist:

Launch architecture audit 

  • Are pages properly 301 redirecting from 301 redirect strategy?

Try Gsitecrawler to check your server result codes.

  • Are titles, meta descriptions and H1s correct and unique?
  • Were Google and Bing Webmaster Tools installed properly?
  • Was Google Analytics (or another analytics software) installed properly?
  • Were passwords/noindex, nofollow and robots.txt disallow directives removed?
  • Are the new drop-downs crawlable? How about the rest of the content on the site?

(While there are many tools to check crawlability, you can use the Fetch and Render feature in Google Search Console.)

Annotate the site launch in analytics software

This will be a helpful note in the future as a benchmark for increases/decreases in traffic and conversions – an easy reference should anyone ever question why the site is doing so well all of a sudden!

Submit your new XML sitemap in Webmaster Tools

Related Post: How Long Does it Take for SEO to Produce Results? ➢


Post-Launch Checklist:

Number of pages indexed 

The number of pages indexed will likely drop off post-launch. Once 301s are picked up, this number should climb back up. Be sure to check that there aren’t duplicate pages being indexed either.

Should pages indexed remain low, something could be wrong with the implementation of 301s or crawlability of the new site. If duplicate content issues crop up, develop a plan to remove the duplicate pages either through 301s or the canonical tag.

Home Page PageRank, Home Page Page Authority & Domain Authority

HP PageRank, HP Page Authority and Domain Authority should remain constant throughout.

You won’t notice a drop in these metrics right away, as it will depend on Google and Moz updates, but a drop could indicate an internal linking issue page to the home page. Highly unlikely, but still good to monitor just in case.

Google Search Console Errors

GWT errors will begin to climb and then diminish as you assess and take care of them. Be sure to clean up 404 errors and 301 redirect them to the most appropriate pages. 404s are inevitable during a redesign, as it’s near impossible to catch every page on your website when planning you 301 strategy.


You will also see rankings take an initial dip while the engines are picking up your 301s and assessing the new pages. Rankings could be down for 1-3 weeks, possibly more, so plan a redesign during your slow season or low traffic period.

Analytics data – Learn more about Parqa’s Web Analytics & Reporting Services ⇾

Organic traffic per week –
This will drop and then return, but could indicate that you’re missing out on the long tail if you don’t see numbers return to normal.

Organic traffic post-launch compared to pre-launch –
Similar to monitoring rankings, you want to know how much traffic you’re missing out on and make sure it returns.

Top content driving traffic post-launch compared to pre-launch –
If you see that there is content that drove traffic and is now bouncing, you may want to consider adding this content back to the site.

Related Post: Understanding Your Company’s Digital Needs: Is It UX Or Digital Marketing? ➢


Next Steps:

Once the site launches, you should see traffic and rankings take an inevitable dip, as the above case study illustrates; however, within 2-4 weeks (depending on the crawl rate of your site), you should see everything return to normal. If traffic and rankings do not recover, walking backwards through the process should point you in the right direction and careful monitoring of the above metrics should help pinpoint where an issue may be.

Related Post: Top 5 Questions Business Owners Have About Digital Marketing ➢


desk with paperclips pencil and coffee

Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO: What’s the Difference?

The difference between Black Hat & White Hat SEO refers to the techniques used when trying to improve a website’s search engine ranking.

Black Hat SEO:

Focuses on utilizing techniques and strategies to deceive search engines into ranking their particular websites higher on search results.  It’s typically used by those looking to see immediate & quick results, rather than a long-term investment.  Often times Black hat SEO focuses on only search engines and not so much a human audience. Black Hat techniques that are seen as deceptive and violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines include:

  • Keyword Stuffing: “Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.
  • Hidden Text: i.e. using white text on a white background, setting font size to 0, hiding a link by only linking one small character—for example, a hyphen in the middle of a paragraph, etc.
  • Link Farming: Links intended to manipulate PageRank1  or a site’s ranking in search results (i.e. buying or selling links that pass PageRank, excessive link exchanges (“Link to me & I’ll link to you”)
  • And More

While these techniques can provide quick and immediate SEO results – and may seem appealing in the short run -consequences can result in your site being banned from a search engine (most likely Google) and or ranking penalties.  This means people won’t be able to find your site organically, defeating any short lasted traffic/sales/leads you may have gained from Black Hat techniques.

“Black hat SEO focuses on search engines and not so much a human audience.”2

White Hat SEO:

White Hat techniques target human audiences rather than simply search engines.

Techniques and strategies typically utilized in White Hat SEO include: conducting keyword analysis and keyword research, rewriting meta/page titles and meta descriptions to speak more specifically about what the page is about, writing and creating quality content for HUMAN READERS, internal backlinking and natural link building, just to name a few.  However, probably the most important White Hat SEO technique is creating quality content.

White Hat SEO is a long-term investment and takes time to build and see ROI, however the pro is that the results last a long time.

Related Post: How Long Does it Take for SEO to Produce Results? ➢

“Creating quality content may be time consuming, but it will be well worth it in the long run. […] The more content-rich your site is, the more valuable it will appear to the search engines and human visitors/ customers/ clients.”

Related Posts:

1 PageRank – (PR) is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank websites in their search engine results, and is a way of measuring the importance of website pages. IT IS NOT THE ONLY ALGORITHM USED BY GOOGLE to order search results

2 & 3 Quoted from Unamo University – online marketing resource center

1 2

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