My personal branding has, for many years, been around the term “SEO guru”. It is always cool when I can tell people that I am the SEO guru and that I rank #1 for the term. However, about two months ago I did what every SEO fears doing. My website was redesigned and it was a huge change. Just as a FYI whenever a website gets redesigned it can destroy rankings. It is a very scary thing to do especially with over 10 years of my personal branding at stake. In the past I’ve seen clients’ sites destroyed by such changes. This happens a lot. Often I get them ranked and business starts pouring in for them and then they decide they need to take their business to the next level, so they do a complete redesign without telling me. This is usually followed by a call a few days later where they wonder what happened to their rankings.
Designers have often no clue about proper coding or SEO. Many web designers focus on the aesthetic of the website, rather than how well it will perform. When a client is considering doing a redesign, I often strongly caution them against it. I tell them at a minimum they need a SEO involved to make sure that it goes smoothly. So when I made the decision to redesign my site, I did not do so lightly. My old site was pretty ugly and though it ranked well it really didn’t reflect well on me. There is always a balance that must be struck between functionality and design.
So I guided my developer through all of the important SEO elements that needed to be maintained. H-tags, meta titles, URLs names, content, etc. all needed to be maintained. My developer has been working with me for over 10 years and he knows the importance of following my instructions. However, with all of these precautions my site’s ranking fell for the term “SEO guru” to #2. This might not sound like a big deal but for me my whole brand is built around being number #1.
At first I checked my content to make sure it was 100% maintained. It was. I checked the URLs to make sure all were indexed. They were all fine. Then, I checked the code and saw the issue. The new layout had pushed the term “SEO guru” slightly lower within the content. Instead of being the first piece of text it appeared after the navigation. This small issue with the code which visually was not apparent caused a major impact on how Google perceived the site.
Realizing this issue, I got my developer to make a correction to the code. Now just a few days later the site now ranks again #1 for the term SEO guru. This story doesn’t just apply to my site, but is important for all businesses to understand. Be very careful when redesigning your website and make sure you get a SEO guru involved from the beginning of the process.