In today’s digital landscape, a well-designed website plays a crucial role in attracting organic traffic and maintaining search engine rankings.
However, a website redesign can sometimes result in a significant drop in organic traffic and rankings if not executed properly.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to recover organic traffic and rankings after a flawed website redesign.
Whether you’re a small business owner, a web developer, or an SEO professional, following these strategies will help you get your website back on track.
Assessing the Traffic Loss
Analyzing Traffic Data
- Utilize web analytics tools like Google Analytics to compare traffic patterns before and after the redesign.
- Identify specific pages or sections that experienced the most significant decline in traffic.
Understanding User Behavior
Examine user behavior metrics such as bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rates to gain insights into the impact of the redesign on user engagement.
Checking for Technical Issues:
- Perform a comprehensive audit to identify common technical problems, including broken links, missing pages, slow page load times, and improper redirects.
- Use tools like Screaming Frog to crawl your website and identify any technical issues that may be hindering search engine visibility.
Optimizing Website Speed
- Consider implementing a content delivery network (CDN) to improve website performance.
Comparing Old and New Pages
Evaluating URL Structure:
- Compare the URLs of old and new pages to ensure consistency or set up proper 301 redirects.
- Use tools like the Wayback Machine to access previous versions of your website and compare page content and structure.
Assessing Content Changes
- Analyze the quality and relevance of the new content compared to the old content.
- Consider user intent and keyword targeting to optimize the new content for search engines.
Investigating the Culprits
- Verify that all important pages have proper redirects in place (301 redirects) from the old URLs to the corresponding new URLs.
- Test a sample of high-traffic URLs to ensure they redirect correctly using tools like Screaming Frog or online HTTP header checkers.
Addressing Missing Pages or Content
- Identify any missing pages or content that performed well on the old website.
- Restore missing pages or content on the new website and set up appropriate redirects.
Reviewing Content Changes
- Compare the old and new versions of pages to assess the impact of content changes on rankings.
- Use the Wayback Machine to analyze previous versions of pages and identify any significant alterations.
Considering Protocol and Domain Changes:
- Evaluate if the redesign involved changes to the protocol (HTTP vs. HTTPS), subdomain (www vs. non-www), or domain.
- Ensure that redirects account for these changes to maintain search engine visibility.
Historic Changes and Redirects:
- Analyze the history of your website to identify any previous domain changes and redirects that may have been overlooked during the redesign process.
- Ensure that all historic redirects are correctly set up to preserve search engine authority.
Implementing Fixes and Monitoring
Applying Technical Fixes
- Address technical issues identified during the audit, such as broken links, slow page load times, and improper redirects.
- Optimize website architecture, metadata, and other technical elements to improve search engine visibility.
- Revise and optimize content to align with SEO best practices, including keyword optimization, proper header
- tags, and compelling meta descriptions.
- Improve user experience by making the content more engaging, informative, and relevant.
Resubmitting Sitemaps and Monitoring Indexation
- Generate an updated XML sitemap and submit it to search engines to ensure proper indexing of your website.
- Monitor indexation progress using tools like Google Search Console to track the number of indexed pages and identify any crawling errors.
- Continuously monitor organic traffic, search engine rankings, and user engagement metrics to assess the effectiveness of the implemented fixes.
- Make data-driven decisions and iterate on your optimization efforts based on the observed results.
Recovering organic traffic and rankings after a flawed website redesign requires a systematic approach that combines technical expertise, content optimization, and continuous monitoring.
By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can identify and address the factors contributing to the traffic loss and regain your website’s visibility in search engine results. Remember, a well-executed redesign can lead to improved user experience, increased organic traffic, and ultimately, better business outcomes.