The Challenge launched an ambitious website redesign project. The redesign required extensive site architecture and page layout changes that if handled incorrectly, would have led to a drastic reduction in organic search engine rankings, traffic, leads, and ultimately revenue. (Note: It is not uncommon for a website to lose 30% or more of its organic search engine traffic after an extensive redesign.)

The Solution

Silverback’s role in the project was to work with the Marketing, Web Design & Development, and Content Development teams to coordinate and execute a comprehensive SEO transition strategy designed to minimize organic search engine traffic loss and preserve the website’s SEO-related equities.

A comprehensive SEO website transition checklist was developed for each stage of the redesign process; Pre-Launch, Launch, and Post-Launch. Various individual tasks were assigned to the appropriate stakeholders at Silverback Marketing and PHD Virtual and a production timeline was established for the project.

Some of the critical steps that were incorporated into the process were as follows:

  • Simulated Site Crawl: Utilizing proprietary software, Silverback simulated a site crawl of to generate a comprehensive list containing all of the URLs present on the existing website. Each URL was evaluated to determine whether or not the content contained within the web page would be preserved or not on the new website.
  • URL Sitemap: Silverback developed a URL sitemap document reflecting the redesigned website’s new architecture and provided URL naming conventions and folder structure recommendations.
  • URL Mapping and 301 Re-Directs: Silverback compared the entire list of new URLs to the list of existing URLs and mapped each existing URL to its new URL location on the redesigned website. Corresponding mapping for 301 redirects was established and staged for implementation at site launch.
  • On-Page SEO: Every proposed URL was assessed from an on-page SEO perspective. Keyword targets were established for each page and on-page SEO code was prepared to ensure that the web pages were fully optimized to rank for the targeted keywords at launch.
  • Baseline Analytics: Baseline traffic and other SEO KPI metrics were established to measure pre versus post-launch organic search performance.
  • See example SEO Website Transition Checklist below for additional details.

The Results

As mentioned previously, it is not uncommon for a website redesign similar in scope to the project to result in substantial losses in organic search engine traffic. Even if the redesigned website does address some of the required SEO website transition best practices, the site is likely to lose traffic initially before gradually, within a three month timeframe, returning to pre-launch traffic levels. Neither of these outcomes was the case for In fact, comparing year-over-year statistics, the website experienced a 13.07% gain in organic search engine traffic in the first 30 days following the re-launch.