If websites were like watches, you could peer inside to find out what’s going on with the mechanics. However, online marketing and SEO rely on many more moving pieces than a standard timepiece—and it can be pretty tricky to determine whether to opt for repair or replacement with a website.
Let us be your tour guide behind the scenes. This is a basic tutorial to help you decide whether it’s time to scrap your site and start fresh or switch up your SEO tactics.
Here’s how to assess your current site, review your current SEO strategy, and a framework to decide whether your site or your SEO strategy is the problem.
Assessing your current site
The first step is to assess your current site. Here’s how to get started:
User Experience (UX): Ask a friend or review feedback from existing clients. Is your website easy to navigate? Is it mobile-friendly? Google has recently started attempting to measure user experience (Core Web Vitals is one example of this); but one of the large risks of a poorly designed website is that it can impact the traffic your SEO strategy IS bringing to the site. When assessing performance, it’s important to understand whether it is underperforming SEO or is it that the traffic coming to your site can’t find what they need because the site has a bad UX, or is slow on mobile with limited internet?
Content Quality: Do you have high-quality, relevant content? This can be improved without scrapping your entire site, of course. But if good articles are the only thing you’ve got going for you, it might be worth migrating that content to a brand new site.
Identifying SEO issues
While web performance and SEO go hand-in-hand, let’s consider some SEO-specific issues.
Keyword Ranking: How are you ranking for your target keywords? A good keyword strategy should be tailored to your business and your budget. Look at both long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords. (As a brief reminder: short-tail keywords are those with high search volume, such as your practice area + geographic location. Long-tail keywords, by contrast, are specific and often longer phrases that typically indicate a more focused and niche search intent but have lower search volume.)
If you’re consistently ranking poorly despite a strong content strategy, it may indicate a website issue.
If you’re ranking poorly but your content strategy is a mess, then you may see some improvement in SEO by changing your approach.
On-Page SEO Analysis: Are your meta titles, descriptions and headers optimized for relevant keywords? Are there issues with duplicate content or broken links?
If your on-page SEO is well done but you’re still not seeing results, your website could be to blame.
Backlink Profile: Assess your website’s backlink profile. Are you receiving high-quality, authoritative backlinks, or are there toxic links harming your site’s reputation?
In the event you redesign your website, it’s usually good idea to keep the same domain name (and current URL structure) for several reasons, one of which is preserving any SEO juice from high-quality links. If you switch to a new domain,you can use redirects to retain your earned links. It’s important to note, however, that PageRank is not 100% passed through 301 redirects. In fact, this is actually one of the primary reasons to avoid getting a new domain because it’s not always possible to retain the full authority of your backlinks even if you redirect the URLs properly. It should but, unfortunately, it’s not a guarantee. A better route, if you do decide to change your domain name is to reach out to all the sources that link to your old site and ask them to replace the links, but it’s pretty tedious and you’ll get mixed responses.
Benefits of purpose-built SEO websites
Let’s take a moment to consider the advantages of a purpose-built website designed with SEO in mind.
SEO-Friendly Architecture: Purpose-built websites are constructed with SEO principles from the ground up. They have clean, organized code and proper page architecture (think URLs organized in folders), making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your website content.
Responsive Design: These websites are designed to be mobile-friendly, ensuring a positive user experience on all devices. Plus, this is a crucial ranking factor.
Content Optimization: Some websites include integrated tools for content optimization, making it easier to create SEO-friendly content. Whether you hire an external agency or work with an in-house specialist, you can get a lot more mileage out of a purpose-built site.
Finding a Path Forward
Now that you’ve assessed your current website and identified SEO issues, you can make an informed decision.
Consider a website redesign: An outdated website could be hindering instead of helping your SEO performance. Your growth might be limited by the constraints of your existing code or the platform it’s built on. If you have a strong SEO strategy but stunted growth, start over again.
Try a new SEO approach: If your issues are related to on-page SEO problems and keyword ranking drops, you may see some traction by switching tactics. Invest in better content, improved technical SEO, more backlinks, and an updated keyword strategy.
Remember that it can take some time for SEO to work on your law firm’s website.
Instead of focusing on immediate results, consider the long-term growth of your firm and which type of website will provide steadfast support for your business. If you determine that your firm could benefit from a website redesign and a new SEO approach, undertaking one big change at a time (i.e., launch your new site and then your new SEO strategy) makes it easier to measure which change had the greatest impact.
Review and next steps
Struggling with digital marketing is not a flaw. Websites are tricky!
Your current website could be preventing you from growing, even if you’ve invested a ton of effort into SEO tactics.
Find out what’s working and where you can improve with a consultation. Omnizant’s team provides SEO for lawyers, website design, identity development, media placements, and more. Get growing!