SEO after a Redesign with @JeffLouella #vcbuzz

SEO after a Redesign with @JeffLouella #vcbuzz

We know that most redesigns are usually the worst SEO nightmare and the ideal scenario is when there’s always an SEO overseeing the process.

More often than not, this is not the case though.

In most cases, SEOs are presented with the redesigned website after the fact and have to deal with its new structure and possibly traffic drops.

What to do? Where to start your redesigned SEO audit?

Let’s discuss!

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About @JeffLouella

.@JeffLouella is tech SEO at @wirecutter / @nytimes, moderator at /r/TechSEO, co-host of The Page 2 Podcast as well as developer of Quick Click Website Audit Chrome extension.

Check out Jeff’s website: thetechseo.com

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

I went to school for 3D Animation in the mid-’90s and took an HTML class. I loved it. Started building my own sites. Got hired at a small startup company. Worked with amazing people. I kept evolving and went from Designer, to Developer, to SEO.

I also love data. Data is key to being a good marketer.

Q2 What’s the first step in making sure there’s anything to worry about when you are presented with a redesigned website? How to quickly diagnose a problem?

Hopefully an SEO is brought into the initial conversations of the redesign. We can sniff out early issues with taxonomy reviews and wireframes. At this point, we want to start mapping old content to new content to look for gaps and begin building our redirect strategy.

Q3 If you notice URL structure changed, do you commonly suggest going back to the old URL structure or a sitewide redirect?

This depends on how early this takes place. If URLs were fine before the redesign, I try to keep them. Some redesigns are more than just a fresh look. Complex redesigns with massive content and structural changes would need newer taxonomy and sitewide redirects

This is true. It can help to start fresh and get the site to the best position.

Q4 What are common problems you see after website redesigns?

Redirects not implemented properly. Sites are not stress tested and crash once launched. Pages being noindexed by accident. No real usability study on the design. Devs slow to make fixes once the site is up. The longer it’s broke, the longer it takes to rebound.

Blog pages are usually the biggest offenders since they are not always attached to the main CMS.

Q5 Do you agree or disagree with the statement that Google treats 301 and 302 redirects the same? What was your experience with that?

Google does not treat them the same, at least to start. 301 redirects are permanent and are so from the start. 302 redirects are temporary. Google says it will switch if a 302 is in place for a long time. If you expect it to be permanent, do it that way to start.

Ain’t nobody got time for 302’s to turn into 301’s. If it’s permanent, do it right and set up a 301. I’m looking at you .NET developers.

This is the issue. 3-4 months down the road 302 may be treated as 301, but initially, Google needs to think you really meant your old pages would be back and not rank the news stuff because of it.

Q6 What are your favorite SEO audit tools?

Screaming Frog is my favorite. DeepCrawl, Botify, SiteBulb, Content King, SEMRush, Serpstat, and AHREFS are all great tools. I also build my own tools for specific tasks. You can find some at TheTechSEO.com

Our previous SEO chats:

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