Website Re-Design: do not remove old content if you want your audience to find you

All manner of organizations seem to get tired of the look and feel of their advertising and communication material. Consequently billions are spent worldwide on re-launch, re-branding, re-design just because the audience is "supposed" to have got tired of the "old" design. If you notice only the biggest brands (like Coca Cola and McDonald's ) do not redesign their logos and have extremely detailed and thick design manuals to follow throughout the world. A can supplier to Coca Cola in Brazil needs to match the exact red on the can. These mega brands were onto something – much before the Internet and search engines.

In a non-Internet world you cannot have even minor changes in your brand communication without some loss of audience traction. In the Internet world when your audience (customers,suppliers and stakeholders) search for you or some particular aspect of your activity.It's really important to be found.

Between organizational leaders,advertising agencies,digital marketers and website folks   somehow "looks" sometimes counts more than the "content." Suddenly everyone is so ashamed of the old content that they simply take it off-line. This is just disastrous for Search Engine Optimization(SEO) and particularly ironical as there is no additional cost to keeping the old digital content up.

Now the Google bot (yes Google's eyes are mechanical – OK I mean digital) had classified and stored your old content over months and years. As you added more content and more people found you,  refered you- your search engine rankings improved or you became better in SEO terms.

Now your organization takes off the old content and there is some time gap between putting up the new content. In this period all your search engine visitors find broken links and are disappointed. If the search engine bots can't find your old content – guess what:  your web ranking and credibility declines.

Just think of a retail store or coffee shop in the brick world. Would you as the store-owner smother the building with tarpaulin including its signs – as you renovate?  No. And that's what happens when you take off old web content.

Granted that  if you are re-launching,re-branding or re-designing you are doing so because you are not Coca Cola or McDonald's. But ask your web folks to make sure that all website content is never taken off and only added to. Contact StratoServe.

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