We’re excited that you’re considering a website redesign! Doing so could open up great opportunities for you and, if done well, may lead to new clients, help you sell some products, or increase your business’s brand awareness.
Whatever your reasons are, it would be wise to create a plan of action for keyword research to support this project.
This article will discuss why it’s important to conduct keyword research before starting a website redesign and how to conduct keyword research for SEO.
Why is keyword research important?
A keyword research plan can tell us many things about how well your site ranks on search engines. You’ll find out what keywords your website is currently ranking for and which ones you should make the focus of your future marketing efforts.
And while these are great insights into how you’re doing and what you should focus on in the future, gaining insight into your target audience is the most valuable aspect of a keyword plan.
Keyword research will provide you with insights into what people are looking for online. Successfully implementing these keywords will allow your brand’s website to be found by those searching for it.
Thankfully, plenty of keyword research tools on the web (some paid and some free) can help you formulate a keyword research plan. Once you’ve discovered what words to rank for, this will drive your content strategy.
How to do keyword research for SEO and your website redesign
1. Analyse onpage SEO
Firstly, let’s take a look at your existing website. You can use any SEO tool online to run an audit on what is and isn’t working. There’s no need to create extra work for yourself by starting from scratch when you already have a library of helpful content to reuse.
Look at the keywords you currently rank for but pay attention to metrics such as your visitors, bounce rate, conversions, and domain authority. A page with a high bounce rate might indicate misaligned search intent so consider updating the content to match the search terms better.
2. Develop a sitemap
Before starting the website redesign, create a clearly defined sitemap. Doing so will ensure a more natural placement of keywords rather than stuffing them in after the fact.
Analyse your internal page structure and asses whether all your pages flow clearly. A well-structured sitemap should have a clearly defined user journey. The sitemap typically starts from the homepage and will branch out into your product or service pages. Some information pages should also be sprinkled there (such as a blog, about us, or FAQ page).
Can any of your keywords be used to describe your pages? Not only will a sitemap make it easier for Google to find your web pages, but using descriptive page headings will boost your rank in search results.
During this stage, start to look at what redirects are needed. Can you use a 301 redirect for any low-performing pages with a better organic ranking?
3. Analyse your site structure
Now you’ve laid the groundwork; it’s time to identify what content you can utilise on your new website. Based on your initial analysis, decide what to keep from the old site, if pages could be split to target more specific keywords and how existing content should be used or supplemented with something new. You’ll more than likely have content on the same subject/service/product, so considering the site structure of your website redesign is important.
Site structure differs from your sitemap as it refers to how your website content is organised. A website often consists of content on a variety of – related – topics, presented on posts and pages. Site structure deals with how this content is grouped, linked and presented to the visitor.
Consider importance when organising content, not only does this tell google to rank the most important and relevant content first but it also helps you avoid competing with yourself in the search results.
Many pages take on a Hierarchical model that typically starts with a homepage and then branches off like a tree into more specific page categories.
Image credit: Yoast
4. Page optimisation
Now, let’s get started with onpage optimisation. A few key things to consider when implementing your keyword research plan into your website redesign. We’ll list them below:
- Choose a unique focus keyword for every page, post, and product. If you’re repeating keywords throughout your site, Google won’t know where to direct traffic.
- Organise your page headings. Following HTML SEO best practices, use one H1 title per page and keep H2, H3, and so on organised.
- Optimise photos by using alt tags. Complimentary content such as videos and images should not only be relevant to the content but should be optimised with relevant titles and alt text.
- Don’t overuse keywords. Keyword stuffing can seem unnatural and lead to a negative user experience.
- Create content for the audience using their language. More on this in our next point.
We have a whole article on on-page SEO for more consideration.
5. Create content your audience wants
“If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about.”— Nate Elliott, Marketing Technology Advisor
There’s no point in researching and executing a keyword research plan if the result isn’t relevant to your audience. If you’re continually posting about oranges, but your customers are looking for apples, you’ll find a lot of visitors will quickly leave your site. This will inevitably be detrimental to your SEO.
Three things to consider when creating and optimising content for your new website should be; the user’s search intent, content relevance and how useful it is to the audience.
If your goal is to sell products, don’t send your visitors to an informative blog post. Similarly, sending visitors to a business page for a location in another state is neither relevant nor useful.
6. Know your goals
Now you have a greater understanding of the work ahead, determine what results you expect to see. In this step, decide what you intend to achieve with your SEO efforts.
Knowing your focus, whether that be an increase in organic traffic or improving your ranking for your top-performing keywords will give your website redesign purpose. It will also give you a baseline on how to measure your results after a defined period of time.
We like to use SMART goals to define what success looks like when implementing a website redesign. Some SEO SMART goals can look like this:
- Acquire 3 quality backlinks per month for the next 6 months
- Achieve a top 3 ranking for high-quality keywords in 6 months
- Increase organic search traffic by 50% 6 months post-website launch
Strong Digital specialises in building strong websites. Our designers, developers, and marketers work together to create an experience optimised for organic growth 💪. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is just one of the many ways we implement these strategies for success. Reach out to us now to explore what we can do for you!