Belfast SEO: Why an Effective SEO Transition is Crucial When Building a New Website


Belfast SEO: Why an Effective SEO Transition is Crucial When Building a New Website

When building a new website it can be tempting to start completely fresh. The problem? Being new also means being unknowable. And this is where an effective Belfast SEO transition can save you.

Your website’s current SEO is instrumental in ensuring your online visibility, assuming it’s already optimized. Therefore, while constructing a new website, preserving the effort invested in your existing SEO is paramount. Avoiding actions that could undo the hard work put in by you or your team safeguards the gains achieved in terms of search engine visibility and online presence, solidifying your digital foundation for continued success.


Redesigning your website can feel like walking into a minefield in terms of search engine optimization. Worst case scenario, you could lose all your search engine rankings and have to start from scratch. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to happen if you do the transition the right way.

Let’s look at why an effective SEO transition is crucial, and how to execute it.

1. Redirects

If your new website involves a new set of URLs, 301 redirects are a must-have. 301 redirects inform search engines that the content has permanently moved to a new location. This way the search engines know that the new pages have the same or similar content and that it’s safe to assign the existing rank to the new page. This is also the case even if you’ve only changed the extension, such as changing “” to “”.

It’s vital that every page on the old website is set up with its own 301 redirect both for SEO purposes and to keep your visitors from running into broken links. Some site owners try the shortcut of setting up a general redirect that funnels all the old pages to the homepage of the new website, but this will annoy users and search engines alike. If it isn’t possible to do a one-to-one match between old and new pages, you should at least have the old pages point to a new page with similar content. If this isn’t possible to do automatically, and you have too many pages to redirect manually, at the very least, be sure to set up 301 redirects for your most important and most visited pages.


  • Make a custom 404 page to help users find what they’re looking for
  • Track URL changes and be mindful of internal links working
  • Control the old domain and redirect it to the new domain for as long as possible
  • Mark dates in Google Analytics to monitor changes
  • Update everywhere your domain appears: social media and physically
  • Make sure there are page titles and meta descriptions for every page, and that they are well-written



Collect the stats of referring links to your website (backlinks) and identify the most popular of these. This information can typically be found in an analytics or SEO tool. Ideally, you would contact the owners of all referring websites and have them change the link to point to your new page, but this isn’t practically possible. Alternatively, try contacting the owners of the most popular backlinks and have these changed. Then make sure that the pages that the rest of the backlinks point to are properly 301 redirected.

Learn More: Essential Link Building Strategies for SEO Belfast



3. Sitemaps

When you launch your new website it’s a good idea to have two complete sitemaps configured: an HTML sitemap for users and search engines and an XML sitemap for search engines only. An XML sitemap helps search engines crawl and index your website faster. You can submit an XML map to search engines like Google and Bing through their webmaster tools.


4. 404 Page Not Found

Although you want as few visitors as possible to see it, a 404 error page that’s both users and searches engine-friendly is an important element. Even if you’ve created 301 redirects for all content on your old website, the odds are that users are still going to come across broken links from time to time. A good 404 page will help the users and search engines get back on track in an easy way via useful links, a search box, or at the very least a redirect to the homepage. It is also a good idea to keep the menu of the website on the 404 pages for increased usability.

Besides having a user-friendly 404 page, it’s also important to make sure that the page actually returns HTTP code 404 so search engines are made aware that they followed a broken link. You should also ensure that you have to track your 404 pages, so you can identify the referrers and fix the broken links. If you aren’t careful, you could end up having the 404 pages being one of the most visited pages on your new website.


Final Summary

The key components to maintaining your rankings and SEO during a site redesign are:

  • knowing what works on the existing site.
  • understanding any areas that could be improved.
  • carefully planning the new site.
  • 301 redirect all old URLs to new.
  • carefully monitoring the results.

A redesign should be an opportunity to improve your SEO and conversion rates. However, for sites with strong organic search traffic, this should be undertaken with care to preserve your Belfast SEO. Following the instructions in this article should ensure you only see positive improvements.

Looking for Belfast SEO Agency?

We are recognised throughout Belfast, Northern Ireland and the UK as a leading Belfast SEO Agency.  We offer a full-service digital agency experience. Combining the most effective forms of digital marketing, SEO techniques and web design and development services we craft campaigns that bring with them a substantial Return on Investment.

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