Have you ever gone to the grocery store to pick up a few things and you can no longer find your favorite BBQ sauce because the brand updated all their packaging including the logo and the names for the different flavors? Or maybe you’ve experienced the challenge of completing your routine shopping trip after a store has undergone a renovation and moved where all the products are—even the aisles and sections of the store have changed? That’s what happens when you ditch your current website and decide to start over from scratch.
87% of shoppers begin product searches on the Internet. That means no matter what you sell—whether it be handcrafted pottery or medical devices—the bulk of your new customers will discover you from an online search. Your goal is to appear on the top of the results list—otherwise known as search engine ranking—since consumers rarely look past the first one or two pages of results.
The way you achieve a higher SEO ranking is by showing the search engine that your web page is relevant to the searched term (a.k.a. “search engine optimization.”) Establishing relevancy with an automated program builds up over time as the search engine gets to know your keywords, is able to navigate your site map quickly, and becomes familiar with the meta descriptions and tags of your pages and content—much like how you are more successful finding the right BBQ sauce when you know what products the store carries, which aisles and shelves the products are placed upon, and what the jars and boxes on the shelves contain.
What does this mean for your SEO ranking?
If you decide to complete a major overhaul or a complete replacement of your website, you can lose all the relevancy you’ve built up with search engines to date and you’ll be back at square one on SEO ranking.
When should you avoid starting over?
Too many times companies fall into a trap thinking they need a completely new website and then suffer because they’ve lost everything they’ve built to date. For example:
- New top management decides the website doesn’t reflect their image any longer and the solution, of course, is to build a new site.
- A budget-minded leader determines the company can save money by cutting out professional website management and recreating the site using free or inexpensive online web development tools.
- The internal marketing team feels the current website doesn’t have the latest bells and whistles and hires interns from the local community college to build a new one.
- The list goes on….
How do you decide whether or not you should start over?
- Is your page ranking well now? Don’t use subjective measures like “when I Google ‘chimney sweepers in XYZ County’ we come up 3rd on the list.” Instead, use actual website analysis software to determine how well search engines can find your page, which keywords are most popular, and what content is pulling users to your site.
- Do you have real, technical issues with your website? Is it truly broken beyond repair? Make a list of what isn’t working (latency, 404 errors, etc) and then discuss those with a professional web developer to determine what it would take to fix them before you start over.
If you have established an adequate amount of SEO ranking and the site is not so broken it can’t be fixed, then you have two options:
- Update your current site. A professional website developer can do a lot to update the appearance, feel, and even operation of your website to make it more modern and functional without destroying the underlying foundation used for search engine ranking.
- Convert it to a new site. This requires a professional not only knowledgeable in website development but one that is experienced in website conversions. A conversion involves mirroring the complete foundation of the current site to a new platform, transitioning high-performing pages and content appropriately, and retaining the site map in as much exact detail as possible.
Paradux Media Group Can Help Get Your Ducks in a Row and Keep Your SEO Ranking
If you’re in the middle of making a decision about your company’s website or you’re on the verge of kicking your website to the can and starting over, give the professionals at Paradux Media Group a call first. Tell us what’s not meeting your needs with your current website and we’ll perform an analysis and work with you to determine the best solution for your specific situation – and keep your existing SEO ranking.