Be careful! Having a new website can kill what you made in many years or what you want to make in the following years. I created this article to help you keep what you have and add more to it. In this article, we will cover how to protect SEO authority when you want to redesign a website and create a new website without any SEO issues on setup. We will cover three different scenarios:

  1. New WordPress website for a new company
  2. Redesign a website on the same domain
  3. Redesign a website on the separate domain

New WordPress website for a new company:

In this case, the company just started and they have a new domain and host. There is no created authority, no search engine came to that website, and there are no index pages. That is a great starting point because there is no concern to lose authority. We should follow the following steps to do our job right:

  1. Install WordPress on the main domain (example.com).
  2. From the admin panel of WordPress click on “Setting” and then find “Reading”. On the right page find “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”, select it, and click on save changes button. By that, you prevent search engines to come to your website and index the pages that are not finished or index pages that created in the process of theme installation.
    Wordpress dashboard
  3. Complete your design and remove all created pages in the process of theme installation.
  4. Make all pages SEO friendly
  5. Finally, when the design is ready, deselect “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” to let the search engines come and crawl your website

Redesign a website on the same domain

In this case, we have a website. That website is the main website of a company for a while and now the company wants to have a new website on WordPress on the same domain. From a developer perspective, we have two solutions for that problem. The first solution is to design the website on the local computer then transfer it on the host, the second solution is designing directly on the host. I will cover both practices as following.

  • Design the new website on local computer then transfer it to the host
    1. Install virtual server on the computer (like WAMP or XAMP)
    2. Install WordPress
    3. Complete the new website
    4. Make all pages SEO friendly
    5. When the website is completed make a backup from the old website and its database
    6. Upload new website and its database to the server
  • Create the new website on a server
    1. Create a folder on the host (for example create a folder with the name of “test”. Now you have a section on your host with this name example.com/test which is your new area to work).
    2. Install WordPress in that folder
    3. Because it is on the server, we should discourage search engines to crawl our new website. So from admin panel of WordPress click on “Setting” and then find “Reading”. On the right page find “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”, select it, and click on save changes button.
    4. Complete the new website
    5. Make all pages SEO friendly
    6. When the website is completed make a backup from the old website and its database
    7. Migrate the website from test to root

Protecting SEO authority

From an SEO perspective, the current website made an authority. Therefore it is so critical to protect and keep that authority. What we can do in this situation is copying the URL of the most important pages of the old website to the new one. To find the most important pages of a website we should use google search console. If there is no google search console installed, we can search for google to find important pages then copying those URLs. If the old website is so huge, you have no option to redirect all 404 pages to the home page with 301 code in htaccess. If you do not know what Http codes are meaning, look at this article.

Redesign a website on another domain

In this case, you have a website on domain www.example.com but now you want to scrap it and have a new website on www.example.ca in WordPress. From the development perspective, it is easy to design a website on the new domain. The process is the same as the first case that we explain in this article.

From the SEO perspective, we should transfer the authority of the old website to the new one. In this case, we have to redirect important pages of an old website to their same pages on a new website with redirect code of 301. If the website is huge, we can send all other pages to the home page of the new website with redirect code of 301.

In this case, we have google search console so after redirect we should transfer the authority to the new website through search console. Before starting this process, please verify your old and new website on google search console. New search console panel does not have that ability but the old panel let us redirect our current website to the new one. To do that follow the following steps:

  1. On new panel from left sidebar click on “Go to the old version”
    search-console
  2. On old panel from the top left of the page find the gear image and click on that
    Search console old version
  3. Click on “Change of Address”. If you do not have that option on your panel, you are not the admin of panel. You should ask the admin to do the process.
    Search console change address
  4. For the first input select your new website and then submit. If all steps are correct, your authority will transfer.

Let us do what you imagine 😃