It is always an exciting prospect when you are about to redesign or have just redesigned a new website for your company. It is something that most businesses have to do every several years – not only to stay modern and appealing, but also to sign onto new industry standards such as being mobile friendly, having an SSL certificate, etc. When done right most redesigns go without a hitch. However, just occasionally, website owners may notice a substantial traffic dip days and weeks after their launch. This is the opposite of what should be happening, so what went wrong? Here, we explore some of the main culprits in a decrease of site traffic and how to avoid traffic loss after a website redesign.
Firstly, keep in mind that a small drop in traffic after a site relaunch is completely normal. The reason for this is because Google needs to index and crawl all your new webpages, which will result in a temporary and usually small decline in traffic from search engines. However, if you notice a drastic decline or that it’s been a week or so since you noticed the drop in traffic, then it most likely means that something has gone wrong during the redesign. If that is the case, it will be necessary to diagnose the problem. Here, we examine the three leading causes of traffic loss and how to fix them.
Probably the most common cause of traffic loss after a website relaunch. It is extremely important during a website redesign to setup proper redirects, unless, of course, you keep all of your URLs exactly the same, in which case redirects are not necessary because you are just redesigning the old pages. Redirects tell search engines and browsers where the new versions of each page can be found. Without redirects, search engines will simply believe that the pages don’t exist. If the URL structures been changed or if any pages have moved to new locations and proper redirects were not set up, then this will be the likely culprit of your traffic dip. To find out if this is the case, then head to Google’s Search Console and then go to Crawl, followed by Crawl Errors and finally look under the tab titled ‘Not found’ – pages without redirects will show up there. If you do discover any pages without redirects, then you will need to fix them in order to regain your traffic. Read this blog on how to implement 301 redirects.
Many websites undergo drastic changes to the website’s structure during a redesign. The website’s structure is important when it comes to search engines indexing and understanding your website. So if there has been a big or complex change in the structure of the website, then you will need to make a new site map. Sitemaps are important because they provide a basic listing of all the important pages and where they can be found on your website. By submitting a new sitemap to the Search Console, then you can re-index your pages for search engines and begin to restore some traffic. To create a new sitemap, then find more here. Similarly, it might be worth considering your internal links as well. The reason being is because if any of the links within your pages are outdated or broken, then it can lead to crawl issues. You can either manually check these or download a plugin that can find and restore broken links.
Occasionally, search engine optimizations (SEO) that gave your old websites a decent search engine ranking may have not been included in your redesign. If the pages are no longer written in a way that search engines can find those keywords that helped your previous rankings, then your search engine ranking is going to take a big plunge. The simple reason being is because these search engines cannot locate those keywords and, as a result, you will no longer show up in their results. If this is the case, then you have a few options. Either, you can get some help from people who are experts in SEO, who should be able to increase your ranking by making sure those target keywords are in the right place or if you have a saved backup of the old website then you can use that to determine which keywords were used on each page. Alternatively, you can download an SEO plugin and start again with your optimizations for your website. If you do take this option, then be sure to seek some professional advice.
If all the fixes to your new website have been made correctly, then your ranking and website traffic should be restored within a few weeks. For more information on any of the points made here, or if you would like some professional help boosting your search engine positioning, then be sure to contact us.