How a property management company used a website redesign to preserve and build on its page one rankings

A website redesign is a significant undertaking for marketers. These projects typically last months and can take a big chunk out of the marketing budget. That being said, they are still worthwhile…when done correctly. 

Redesigns can be used to refresh your brand, introduce new functionalities to the website, and create a better experience for users. When done with SEO in mind, a new website can be relaunched for ongoing growth to improve keyword rankings and drive more qualified traffic. 

Unsuccessful relaunches, on the other hand, can create issues that tank your keyword rankings and lead to expensive and unplanned post-launch development fixes. Significant losses in rankings and the subsequent drop in website traffic create a financial toll that compounds weekly and can take months to reverse. 

Companies that want to protect their online visibility — and bottom line — should take the time to do the job right and make sure SEO is always top of mind throughout the process. 

Importance of SEO during a website redesign

No one goes into a website redesign intending for it to be less than a success; especially not the website owners, but no less the designers, developers, and agencies responsible for the new website. Unfortunately, gaps in knowledge about website redesign SEO or rushing through the redesign process can lead to top-performing content and effective SEO elements being deleted or altered, resulting in a loss of keyword rankings, organic traffic, and sales.

Changes to design, architecture, and content can put your organic visibility at risk if you don’t fully understand what elements of your website are driving traffic in the first place. Good website redesign SEO means taking the time to pinpoint your current website’s strengths so you can build on them and identifying its weaknesses so you know what can safely be eliminated. You never want to change your URLs, rewrite content, or delete pages — all common redesign tasks — without first understanding its impact on your SEO. These issues can even create problems for other marketing channels like digital advertising, which marketers rely on to point additional traffic to their new website.  

By bringing in SEO experts at the beginning of a website redesign, you can make sure your website not only avoids these common pitfalls, but sets up your website for even greater success in the future.

Undertaking a website redesign with Windsor Communities

Windsor Communities was already working with Pure Visibility as a PPC and SEO provider when they approached us about assisting their web developer on the website redesign by auditing the website, advising on SEO, and writing new on-page elements. As a digital marketing agency, Pure Visibility had managed SEO strategy for their corporate and property websites for many years, as well as paid search campaigns for 135+ individual property websites. We understood the property management company’s unique situation when it came to website redesign.

So what was the issue? Windsor Communities had a website that was long overdue for a redesign from both an aesthetic and functionality standpoint. It looked outdated and had problems with a customized theme and certain plugins that made it difficult to keep functionality up to date. 

This lack of functionality often kept them behind their competitors. The old website, for example, did not have the ability or potential to pull in data automatically from APIs. This meant that Windsor Communities could not pull in the current availability of units/floorplans or specific pricing for any of its properties like its competitors did. 

Because of these issues, keyword rankings and the website’s online visibility had been sliding for a while. The antiquated website design, slow speed, and lack of mobile-friendliness made it harder and harder to not only gain new competitive rankings, but to maintain existing ones. 

Strategies for website redesign 

Windsor Communities wanted to make sure their website redesign was a success. It took time, but they did not cut corners!

Keeping SEO top of mind

Windsor Communities added to their current scope with their digital marketing vendor, Pure Visibility, so that SEO was part of the plan from the beginning. Considerations were made at every stage of the website redesign process, including:

  • Website platform
  • Hosting
  • Page layouts
  • Copy/content changes
  • URL structure/website and information architecture
  • Third party tools/APIs/plugins/integrations

All of these items were run by our SEO team so we could provide feedback before and during integration. This made sure that the implications for SEO were always kept top of mind.

Prioritizing most critical items  

Windsor Communities had a lot they wanted to accomplish, but they inevitably had to push some items out to stay within their budget, scope, and timeline. In these situations, we’ve seen some companies prioritize slick features over functionality, creating major issues post-launch.

Fortunately, Windsor Communities made an excellent decision to make sure core functionality and “must have” items were in the first launch, and push out smaller “nice to have” items out to a later date when they could launch a second version. Building on the WordPress framework the way they did allowed them to do this without issue.

Hiring experts

Windsor Communities avoided one of the most common redesign mistakes: hiring just one provider. They knew that one agency or vendor could not do everything they needed. 

For many website redesigns, especially larger and more complex ones, you want to make sure that everyone is an expert at what they do. The expert designers and developers working on your website are not necessarily experts in SEO. You never want seemingly small technical details to be overlooked because developers are focused on functionality or feel — this can cause indexation issues and lost rankings. 

Windsor Communities had a web design and development agency with great experience in user experience, design, and app development. Bringing in Pure Visibility for our digital marketing expertise allowed everyone to focus on what they did best.

A successful website launch

Pure Visibility partnered seamlessly with the other vendors and teams to provide strategic guidance and sound recommendations. 

When the website relaunched, we initially saw a dip in page one rankings, which was expected; new pages had to be crawled, indexed, and ranked by Google in a highly competitive search landscape. In the two months that followed, Windsor regained these important page one keyword rankings and began ranking for additional terms as well. New page one keyword rankings included both branded property names and non-branded keywords with high monthly search volume, like “apartments in Houston” and “apartments in Boston.” 

Notably, many of these keywords were ones that the corporate website had not ranked for previously. In addition, organic traffic increased about 20% year-over-year in the 3 months after site relaunch. This indicated to us that the newly relaunched website had been successfully optimized for SEO and set up for ongoing success. 

A strategic website redesign can maximize your organic visibility

Making strategic changes with website redesign SEO in mind can protect your current rankings and build on your website’s strengths for further growth.

About GID/Windsor Communities

GID, a vertically integrated real estate company, owns and operates over 48,000 multifamily units across the United States. The company’s operating platform provides a broad scope of knowledge and experience in managing, operating and investing in multifamily properties. Windsor Communities, the firm’s in-house property management arm, manages all of GID’s multifamily properties across the United States. Windsor Communities has achieved a long-standing reputation in the property management industry and is continuously recognized for its top-rated customer service, established and successful ESG standards, cutting-edge technology, notable marketing, and outstanding maintenance services.

About Pure Visibility

Pure Visibility is a digital marketing agency based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We are a Google Partner and Microsoft Advertising Partner. In 2005, Linda Girard co-founded Pure Visibility with a mission to build an SEO company that puts results ahead of tactics. Clients can expect data-driven, digital marketing success honed through our more than 17 years of experience working with companies like Windsor Communities, TheStampMaker, Heinz, and Chrysler.

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