Practical Ecommerce

Ecommerce Redesign: Five SEO Pitfalls to Avoid

A new website launch or redesign requires the integration of management and marketing staff, as well as members of your design, content and tech teams. Each of these groups plays an integral role in the site’s overall success.

A new or redesigned website will also want to drive traffic, or preserve traffic, through natural search. To do so, avoid these five search engine optimization pitfalls.

Common SEO Pitfalls in New and Redesigned Websites

  1. Flash Websites

    Regardless of recent enhancements, search engine spiders have difficulty indexing Flash content effectively. A single Flash file that contains your entire website will limit the number of chances you have to rank in the search engine results. Build your site in HTML, including Flash elements only for visual appeal.

  2. JavaScript Navigation

    Search engine spiders have a hard time executing JavaScript. Website content that is accessible only by this form of navigation is not likely to be indexed. Additionally, such links do not contribute to the site’s overall link popularity. Most JavaScript navigation can be replaced with CSS (cascading style sheets) or DHTML (dynamic HTML), so get your programmers to use these other methods.

  3. Dynamic URLs

    Dynamic URLs are a common side effect of most content management systems. These URLs are problematic because they provide little to no information about the page itself. URLs play an important role in search engine rankings, and should, therefore, be rewritten to include relevant keywords. Make sure that whatever CMS system or database system you are using you can implement optimized and keyword-rich URLs.

  4. Non-Permanent Redirects

    If a redirect of a page is required and is going to be permanent, use a permanent 301 server-side redirect. This not only points search engines in the right direction, it transfers the existing link equity of the older page to the newer one. Typically, all other types of redirects should be avoided. This includes 302, JavaScript redirect, and META refresh–all of these are big no no’s.

  5. Lack of Content

    Some form of relevant content should be on all pages. Ideally, each page should have at least some mentions of your keywords. If content blocks are not an option within your template, you must ensure that your tier-one and tier-two level pages utilize text-based <H1> headers.

Consequences of SEO Failure

Although these SEO highlights can and should be applied to all sites, each situation presents its own unique solutions and challenges and I strongly advise that you get your design, SEO and programming team working together. Otherwise, your site could face the following SEO-driven consequences:

  • Indexed pages drop out of the search engines.
  • Back link history is lost.
  • Search engines cannot find new site pages.
  • Bookmarks are rendered useless, leading to “not found” error pages.
  • Valuable site traffic is lost.
  • Lost conversions and sales.
  • Possibility of duplicate content.

Summary

Though I’ve only listed five topics that I see occur in a lot of redesign, revamps and new launches, please feel free to add to this list because it goes on.


Amanda Barnes
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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Ben Acheson July 1, 2010 Reply

    Pitfall number 5 is perhaps the most important of all. Quality dynamic content is the key to consistently securing the traffic – and to securing quality organic inbound links: the foundations upon which every solid, long-term search engine optimisation strategy is built.

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