[#AtelierFW] Redesign and SEO: the 15 commandments

by bold-lichterman

The last FrenchWeb workshop devoted a chapter to SEO as part of a site redesign, with 3 experts: Nathan Samis (PSA Peugeot Citroën), Jeremy Coxet and Pierre Wiltz, respectively Associate Director and Project Director at the Vanksen agency.

A redesign of digital media is a key moment for a brand, and an important budget item in marketing. In such a context, the SEO dimension is sometimes neglected. However, this overhaul constitutes both a real risk and a formidable opportunity to develop its traffic, its visibility… and the turnover which results from it.

How to make SEO a priority in a redesign project? How to avoid negative impacts in terms of visibility? How to maximize your return on investment? With the contribution of our experts Nathan Samis, Digital Communication Manager / PSA Peugeot Citroën, Pierre Wiltz, Project Director at Vanksen, and Jeremy Coxet, its Associate Director, FrenchWeb lists the 15 commandments to reconcile redesign and SEO:

1. The SEO you will understand

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques aimed at promoting understanding of the theme and content of one or all of the pages of a website by search engines. “

2. The right SEO word to the client tu will preach

Agencies must carry out a mission of evangelization with their clients. Indeed, “managers often have their eyes on the home page, design and user experience. On the SEO side, often only the results matter but we don’t necessarily want to know what’s under the hood, ”explains Jeremy Coxet. There is therefore real work to be done in the company to evangelize management and all employees on this issue.

3. A tree structure you will define

The life cycle of a redesign project follows a classic logic that begins with the appearance of a need and the development of a structure. Then come the steps of creating and selecting the right tools for production. And finally, those of launch and maintenance.

We must therefore start by developing a structure, ie a tree structure. The idea is therefore to establish a list of priority keywords for the site, but also to take into account the demand of Internet users. For example, if at PSA Peugeot Citroën, marketing focuses on using the word “vehicle”, it is also necessary to include the term “car” more used by Internet users. It is also advisable to create additional landing pages to meet this demand.

4. Good content you will write

The interlocutor must be briefed and made aware of SEO issues when writing. Editors must therefore follow a sort of “Guidelines” in order to adopt the most “user-friendly” writing possible. Again, it’s all about balance and compromise. It’s not about adopting purely SEO writing that doesn’t make sense. “However, it is better to insist widely with the editors to have a minimum of result”, assure Pierre Wiltz and Jeremy Coxet of Vanksen.

5. Of design you will be wary

We must not forget that the home page of a site is the best SEO landing page. It is therefore very important not to use certain languages ​​on the home page that are very bad for SEO, at the risk of ending up with the phenomenon of the “blank page”. We must therefore integrate the SEO issue in the design phase (validation of models by SEO) in order to find the best possible compromise between design and SEO efficiency.

6. The right back office tools you will choose

It is very important to check the administrability of the content. You have to think about providing optimization rules by default in order to obtain a basic optimization. Also pay attention to the URL writing module. This should allow you to modify the URL in order to use words that are more optimized for SEO.

7. The placement of off-page elements you will plan

As part of a redesign project, it is also necessary to be vigilant with Robots.txt, Sitemap.xml and Webmastertools.

8. The monitoring tools you will maintain

It is necessary to take into account the monitoring tools right from the start in the specifications. It is also ideal to keep the same traffic analysis solution, the same account and the same tag in order to easily make comparisons.

9. The social media environment tu will heal

Social signals are taken into account by algorithms. The opening and animation of social spaces dedicated to the brand therefore contribute to the establishment of a certain confidence expressed by the search engine in the sites concerned.

10. The mobile problem you will anticipate

According to our speakers, there is not necessarily a dream solution and the choice of responsive design should not be systematically chosen. An option that, while it offers some advantages like automatic updates and avoiding duplicates, also has some SEO disadvantages.

11. The front office you will develop

The objective here is to anticipate the obstacles to SEO performance. Flash, Javascript or even iframe technologies and images, which are not very “SEO-friendly”, should therefore be avoided.

12. Three errors during the launch you will avoid

Pay attention to the indexing of the recipe environment. Remove the protections when launching. And finally, correctly set the DNS setting so as not to duplicate your new site on several URLs.

13. The old URLs you will re-direct

“This is a key step,” explains Pierre Wiltz, who here takes the image of a real physical trader who changes address. As part of a site redesign, it is therefore essential to set up a 301 redirect and “operating a page by page redirection for the most important is not a luxury”, insists Jeremy Coxet.

14. The launch you will “teaser”

It is also advisable to promote the launch of a new version in order to generate as many backlinks as possible, favorable to good SEO.

15. On alert you will stay

It is very important to follow the evolution of indexing very closely during the hours, days and weeks following the launch.