Updating your Website without Disturbing SEO efforts

If your website is doing great business and there is good traffic on the website. Now you want to redesign or update a website and you are thinking that what will happen to those efforts that you have done for SEO website. So how to update a website without disturbing the SEO elements.

Step 1 Count the SEO efforts
Many clients think that there is no effect on SEO when they update or redesign their website and they continue to remove those important pages. This is due to the reason that they don’t understand how Google reads the website and what the credibility of the URL is.

Step 2 Crawl the present site
You need to crawl the website to know the structure, meta tag and URLs so that you can know what is changing. For that you can use SEO tools like Screaming Frog which give you meta data and structure and other important information which you can use to match with the new website.

Step 3 Audit the present site
You can audit the website by using tools like Woorank available on the internet. But it is suggested that you do this work on your own so that you can note down the problem areas. In this way you can find out what the search engine like and don’t like about your site.

It is suggested that you check the following things by Screaming Frog
• Missing page titles
• Duplicate page titles
• Page titles over 512 pixels
• Page titles below 200 pixels
• Missing H1 tags
• Duplicate H1 tags
• Multiple H1 tags
• Missing meta descriptions
• Duplicate meta descriptions
• Meta descriptions over 923 pixels
• Canonical tags
• Cannibalization
• Broken internal/external links
• Image alt text
and you should manually check that
• XML sitemap
• Robots.txt
• Duplicate content (do exact match search “insert content” or use Copyscape)
• Pages indexed by Google (do a site: command in Google)
• Site speed and performance
• URL structure
• Pages indexed by Google using a site: command in Google
• Site speed and performance
After analyzing the above data you can find the areas where the website is doing well and where it needs improvement.

Step4 Giving no index to the website
When you are working to build a new website or redesign the existing one. You will have to give no index to the website so that its maintenance can be done easily. This can be done by two ways
1. If you open your site CMS there you will find the option for no index. If you are using WordPress then you can simply check the box against “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”
2. The second option is to block the site in the Robots.txt file.

Giving no index to the website
Step5- Crawl the new designed site
You need to crawl the new test site to know how the new site look against the old site. For that
1. Open the first crawl of your site and make its copy. Name it current site Crawl for editing. This will be your editable copy.
2. Crawl the new site. Save it as “Test Site Crawl”. Make its copy and name it as “Test Site for Editing
3. Now take the current site Crawl for editing and perform a find and replace on all the URL. Replace the domain name example.com with test server domain “test.example.com”.
4. Select all the URLs and copy those in text file. Save it as the “Testing crawl for SEO tool”. Now you have the following documents.
• Current Site Crawl (xls)
• Current Site Crawl for Editing (xls)
• Test Site Crawl (xls)
• Test Site Crawl for Editing (xls)
• Testing Crawl for Screaming Frog (txt)
5. If you are using Screaming Frog then select Mode in the menu bar. Now you can upload a .txt file to the crawler.
6. Select the text file of all URLs that you have changed and pop them into Screaming frog and Click Start.
Crawl the new designed site
7. By following the above steps the crawling of all the URL is done. Now you will have to crawl blocked/non indexed URLs. Click configuration and Spider. Then a box will appear which says ignore robot.txt, you have to check the box. In the Advanced tab you will observe Respect non index uncheck this box
Now download all the HTML and save it as “Final Crawled Test Site” under excel file. At the last you will have the following documents.
• Current Site Crawl (xls)
• Current Site Crawl for Editing (xls)
• Test Site Crawl (xls)
• Test Site Crawl for Editing (xls)
• Testing Crawl for Screaming Frog (txt)
• Final Crawled Test Site (xls)
Now you can look at what will work for the website and what doesn’t. You can also observe what is missing on the test site.

Step6 Analyze the data
Now open the Excel sheet “Final Crawled Test Site” from Screaming frog. You observe a lot of data
Delete the row named “internal HTML”. Then repeat this action for number “2”. If it comes out to be a blank row then you should have these headings.
• Address
• Content
• Status code
• Status
• Title 1
• Title 1 length
• Title 1 pixel width
• Meta description 1
• Meta description 1 length
• Meta description 1 pixel width
• Meta keyword 1
• Meta keywords 1 length
• H1-1
• H1-1 length
• H2-1
• H2-1 length
• Meta robots 1
• Meta refresh 1
• Canonical link element 1
• Size
• Word count
• Level
• Inlinks
• Outlinks
• External outlinks
• Hash

Some of the above have 1 after them that signifies that there is only one. If there is 2 next to them then it shows there are several of them. The elements that should not have 2 after them are

• Title
• Meta description
• Meta keywords
• Canonical tag
• H1 (I’ll leave that open to debate)

With all the steps we will start observing what changes need to be done.
Now go to the Status code header, click on the filter icon and select 200 code. These shows that all the URL are working.

How to match the data
Now the question arises as to what to do with the crawl data. The main idea to crawl your current site and the test site is to find out the meta data, structure and error that the current site has. Now apply a filter to the columns.

Now select the level heading, right click on it and sort from smallest to largest. Now arrange all the data. Take first seven columns on the spreadsheet and highlight them. Copy and paste these into another sheet within the same spreadsheet called “Page Titles”. DO the same process for Meta description but pick first 4 columns and then 8-10. Repeat this process for each section which will result in different sheets as follows.

• Page Title Sheet
o Address
o Content
o Status code
o Status
o Title 1
o Title 1 length
o Title 1 pixel width
• Meta Description Sheet
o Address
o Content
o Status code
o Status
o Meta description 1
o Meta description 1 length
o Meta description 1 pixel width
• Meta Keywords Sheet
o Address
o Content
o Status code
o Status
o Meta keyword 1
o Meta keywords 1 length

• H1 Sheet
o Address
o Content
o Status code
o Status
o H1-1
o H1-1 length
• H2 Sheet
o Address
o Content
o Status code
o Status
o H2-1
o H2-1 length

• Canonical, Word Count, Level, In-links and Out-links
o Address
o Content
o Status code
o Status
o Canonical link element 1
o Word count
o Level
o In-links
o Out-links
This number of sheets may look like overkill, but in my experience working with smaller amounts of data is much easier than trying to work on one large, data heavy spreadsheet.

Step 7
Additional steps
Rank check- if a particular keyword takes a jump from page 1 to page 20. Then there is a problem. Do the following check.
• Did the URL change?
• Did you change the meta data?
• Has the page lost all its content?
• Is there a redirect in place?
• Does it have a no index tag in place?
Don’t try to delete the old blogs and your landing pages content because these add credibility to the website.
Analytic code

google analytics code
Place the analytic code in the head section of the site. Regularly check the e-commerce tracking, goals and event tracking.
Unblock the site
Follow the reverse instruction of blocking the site.

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