Frank Olivo

Frank Olivo is the founder of Sagapixel. He writes on a number of topics related to digital marketing, but focuses mostly on SEO.

Traffic Drop After Website Redesign? – The Steps to Bounce Back

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Recovering Lost Traffic After a Website Redesign

If your website saw a drop in organic traffic after its last redesign, this video is going to help you diagnose the issue and hopefully provide you some next steps to recover that traffic. So let’s get into it.

My name is Frank, I’m the founder of Sagapixel. After you fix this issue, you should check out the rest of my channel and learn some more tips about increasing the organic traffic to your website, not just for recovering it.

Is it Common for Traffic to Drop after a Website Redesign?

To start, is it normal to see a drop in traffic after a website redesign?

It’s common but entirely unnecessary. The only time that this is going to happen is when the web developer really didn’t know what they were doing with the SEO of your website. If you see a drop in organic traffic following a website redesign, it’s going to be because of one of three reasons:

  1. The developer introduced some sort of technical SEO issue. I’ll get into that in a minute.
  2. The developer changed the content somehow. 
  3. The design itself has some sort of UX problem that is either resulting in fewer people coming back to the website or just fewer people interacting well with the website and Google seeing that and not really wanting to show your website as frequently to people that are searching on Google.

Identifying and Fixing Technical SEO Issues

So one by one, let’s go through these three categories of problems and the most common things that I’ve seen.

By far, the most common issues are technical SEO issues.

Are There 404s on Your Website?

To start off, see if the site architecture was changed in any way.

This is by far the most common mistake that I see developers make. First, check if the developer changed any of the actual URLs on your website.

If they did change the URLs, did they implement a 301 redirect?

If they did not, there’s a very good chance that your traffic is not going to recover over time. I’ve seen this a whole bunch of times, so someone needs to get in there, find how to implement redirects from where the articles and pages used to be over to where they now are, and get that resolved as soon as possible.

Did The Developer Change Internal Linking?

Next, see how the internal linking has been changed on your website, if at all.

Was this page that used to rank very well before in the top-level navigation and it no longer is?

Was it once linked in the footer and it no longer is?

Was it once linked to from the homepage and no longer is?

When it was linked to before anywhere, was the anchor text changed in that link from that page over to this page that has dropped in search traffic?

I’ve seen cases where before they were linking to a page like “web design Philadelphia” and they changed that out for a “read more” button. That’s going to change the relevance of that page in the eyes of the search engine ever so slightly.

Fix Whatever Technical SEO Problems You Find

Now, depending on which of the issues that you’ve encountered that you found while diagnosing this issue, the next steps are really to address them.

Either change back the URL structure to how it used to be or implement redirects.

Add back any internal links to the page that used to be there on the old website, be it on the homepage, other pages on the website, the footer, the header.

See if the old website had maybe breadcrumbs and this one does not. Try to get all of the internal linking and the relationship of all of the pages to one another as similar to the previous website as you possibly can.

Addressing Content Changes to Improve Relevance

Once you’ve confirmed that there are no technical changes that have been made to your website that could be resulting in this drop in organic traffic, next we need to look at the content.

Another extremely common issue that I see with website redesigns that will affect your traffic for better or for worse are content changes.

Changing the content on your website will increase or decrease the relevance of that content to the searches that people are performing. And if you’ve decreased the relevance of the content on your website to the searches that people are forming, Google is going to show you further down in the search results, resulting in a drop in organic traffic.

Were Title Tags Changed?

First, you’re going to want to see how the title tags were changed on your website.

Take a look at the title tag on your website and compare it to the title tag that used to be on that same page.

A website’s title tag is often going to be reflected right in the search engine results. Not only does it send an extremely powerful signal to Google about what that page is about, it also impacts whether people are going to click on you in the search results or not, which in turn could actually affect the position that you’re ranking in.

Were Header Tags Changed?

Check the headings on the page. Were any of the headings changed? Was any of the content, the paragraph content, changed on the website?

If you have a page where you made significant changes to the content and there’s been a subsequent drop in organic traffic, you’re probably going to need to revamp that content and possibly get it back to being a little bit more like what it used to be like. Google obviously doesn’t think as highly of it now as it did before.

Improving User Experience (UX) for Better Engagement

And finally, we have UX issues. This is the least common of the three types of issues that I see with website redesigns resulting in a drop in organic traffic, but it does happen.

In some cases, the design is just so poor that either people are not interacting with the website as well as they used to or they’re just not coming back to the website as much as they used to. And if Google sees that, it’s going to result in a drop in organic traffic.

Check Time on Page to See if People Are Less Engaged Following Your Website Redesign

First, see how the design has impacted the bounce rate or the time on site. If you see a significant change in either of those metrics, there’s a very good chance that the design is at least partially to blame for the drop in organic traffic. If you’re seeing that people are just not interacting with the website as well as they used to, you’re probably going to need to get a designer in there to make some changes to the website.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer them. And if you found this helpful, please subscribe to the channel. I put out new videos every week to help you get more traffic to your website.

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