By Leanne Dempsey

Website rebuilds: the power of development + SEO collaboration

April 24th, 2024
3 min read

Reduce traffic drops with your new website by making sure SEO is included throughout the development process.

Updating your website, and building a new design and functionality is an exciting time for any business or service. 

You brief your chosen agency. Look on in awe as their user experience and design teams create incredible user interfaces, expertly including your brands colours within the website layouts. Then the experienced development team turn these designs into a highly functional website. You can’t wait to give the final sign off and have your newly rebuilt website launch in the wild.

However, after a few weeks you notice your website traffic has dropped and with it, your usually steady stream of inbound leads. But why?

In this familiar scenario, it’s likely that most of your inbound leads were coming from organic search. Sadly, unless you invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) support during your new website build, you may have lost a lot of the authority that your website had before it was rebuilt. Yes, even if you’re keeping the same domain.

This doesn’t mean that the rebuild wasn’t a success or that the developers or designers have done anything wrong or incorrectly, it just means that you missed out on a core element of your build: considering SEO.

The power of collaboration within a website rebuild

The truth is that any rebuild of a website will result in a dip in organic traffic, particularly if pages are being moved or restructured. However, making the decision at the outset of your project to have SEO involvement will support your website’s ability to recover your traffic performance once the website is live.

It is unrealistic to expect your development team to also create a comprehensive and thorough SEO migration plan as part of their standard deliverables. Developers and SEO experts have different yet complimentary skillsets, so ensuring an SEO expert is on hand to provide a migration plan alongside the website build is critical.

However, through their commitment to implementing industry standards in quality, developers will naturally support several essential requirements that will satisfy search engines. This alignment comes from the fact that both developers and SEO experts share a common interest in key metrics but approach them from different perspectives.

Although developers may not be responsible for the extensive planning and execution of an SEO migration, their adherence to industry best practices naturally lays a solid foundation for meeting essential SEO requirements. So, what should you expect from your developer when it comes to addressing some fundamental SEO needs and where does SEO expertise come in?

  • Developers should create well-structured, semantically correct, and cleanly written HTML code that search engines can easily read and index. SEOs will support this by ensuring any relevant schema is implemented during the build phase to help boost your websites visibility.

  • Both will work together to create a rational, user-friendly, and search engine-friendly URL structure, making it easier for both users and search engines to navigate your website. SEO will ensure that old URLs are redirected to their new counterparts to migrate existing authority from the old website to the new.

  • Developers will focus on optimising site performance by minimising loading times, reducing image sizes, compressing files, and utilising effective caching strategies – all of which are crucial factors for SEO success.

  • Developers will ensure your site is responsive, providing an optimal user experience across various devices and screen sizes. This not only benefits users but also aligns to Google’s mobile-first indexing.

  • Developers make sure search engines can access, parse, and index your website effectively by implementing correct headers and XML sitemaps.

This list of course is not definitive. To learn more about the importance of SEO migration being included in a website rebuild project, watch our Masterclass How to not fall off Google with your new website.

Leanne Dempsey

Head of SEO

With over 10 years of experience in many industries including financial services, retail, travel and non-profit, our Head of SEO Leanne is keen on getting under the bonnet of your website to discover what might be halting growth whilst generating long term plans to grow highly relevant website traffic from organic search.