With building or redesigning a website, it is very important to keep track of the SEO traffic and rankings once the website goes live. It’s important to have retaining and improving SEO and organic traffic as a key goal during the building or redesign of a website.
When doing so, it is very important to have a clear understanding of how SEO and website design work together and careful planning for the site migration. If all is done right and correctly, you essentially should keep (and improve on) rankings and traffic.
But in reality…this is not always the case. The new site or design goes live, and suddenly traffic has dropped significantly and naturally panic then kicks in. However, it’s important to realise that not all is lost and there tend to be the usual suspects as to why this drop has happened.
We are going to run through a few steps as suggested by Marcus Miller from Search Engine Land to recover SEO traffic and rankings after a website redesign.
Step 1. Gathering Information
Not a lot is needed here but in an ideal world, the following would be wanted:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Date of Launch
- Website URL
- Historic or alternative URLs
- Historic keyword rankings (if available)
Step 2. Confirmation
Next, it’s time to jump into Google Analytics and Search Console and review the traffic drop. What you should be looking for is a drop in traffic the day or week of the redesign. The drop could be slow and steady or a sudden, large drop.
To further confirm the drop, you should compare the organic traffic to the traffic of other platforms like your Facebook for example. If there is no change in the other channel traffic but a drop in the organic traffic then the redesign is the culprit here.
If you have Google Search Console and keyword rankings, then these can be used to help confirm the date of the traffic drop.
Step 3. Understanding the Losses
Before being able to improve things, you must be able to understand these losses in order to help yourself in fixing the problems. In order to do this, you would need to get a better understanding of keyword rankings and pages that were most affected.
Rankings – If you have some previous historic ranking data, then you can run reports to get a better overview of areas where positions could have been lost. If this data isn’t available, don’t worry! You can use popular SEO tools to get this particular data!
Landing page traffic – The aim here is to compare before and after traffic via Google Analytics. This can be done via Google Analytics: Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages. The best time to apply this is a number of weeks after the migration so that it is possible to compare this period with the previous period. To help with comparing the data, it would be best practice to input the data onto a spreadsheet so you will be able to clearly see the differences before and after the migration.
Step 4. The Usual Suspects
With an understanding of the losses, you will then be able to look into the common problems and what you can do to correct the problems.
The usual suspects are:
- Missing Pages
- Content Changes
- Protocol and Domain Issues
- Historic Changes
- Technical Issues
- Optimisation Issues
These are usually the reasons as to why traffic has dropped with the launch of a new site or new design. Whenever we hear that traffic has dropped to a site, we find that it can be narrowed down to at least one of these reasons. If you find that you’re having any of these issues and need help solving them, do not hesitate to get in touch with us!
Step 5. What If Everything Seems Okay?
So you’ve checked the data and traffic has dropped but as far as you can see everything is normal with the new website., all the links are correct, all the pages are accounted for, everything looks normal but then why is there still the sudden drop?
There could be a number of reasons. A really basic one could be that the Analytics is not set up properly where your pages have not been tagged correctly and therefore are not reporting page views the way they should. Other reasons include the likes of seasonality, Google Algorithm changes, and even hacking/security issues.
Get in touch with us today and we can help you recover the traffic to your website after a new launch or redesign!