How Can I Recover Traffic and Rankings After a Website Redesign?
If you are redesigning your website, or moving to a new one, it is very important to try your best to retain your organic traffic. However, that can be easier said than done, and some business owners find that when they build a new site they lose a large portion of the organic traffic that they worked so hard optimizing their site to get. If the site owner has access to their Google Analytics and Search Console accounts, it is possible to figure out where they were ranking before and what went wrong when the site was redesigned. By using this data, it is usually possible to restore the organic traffic to what it was, and continue to improve upon it. To help identify why your traffic and rankings dipped after a website redesign, check out our guide below!
Look At The Data
The first step to figuring out how to restore your traffic to where it was is establishing how much traffic your website used to receive. When checking your analytics, there are a few things to consider. First, you want to figure out how much traffic your website was getting before. Once you have identified that, the next thing you should do is identify your highest performing pages and pieces of content. Once you have discovered how much traffic you had on your old site, and which pages performed well, it is time to tackle how to get your traffic back!
Make Sure The Content Is There
One thing that can happen when you build a new site is that content that performed well on the previous website isn’t moved to the new site. If you have found that some pages received particularly high amounts of traffic, be sure to move the content to your new site. There’s no reason to leave behind content that performed well on your previous site. Keep the traffic that you wrote your content for by transferring it!
Check Your Redirects
When moving to a new site, ideally you want to keep all of the same URL’s you used on the previous site. However, if that is not possible, you will have to make 301 redirects for all of your old pages to their equivalents on your new site. Forgetting to redirect to your new site from your old URL’s will mean that any back-links that existed for your website will send users to 404 errors and you won’t receive any of that traffic. This means that forgetting to redirect your old pages to your new site could cause a major dip in your website’s traffic. If you notice a large drop-off from your old site to your new one, making sure you have redirects in place is one of the most important things to check.
This is less likely to be the culprit if you had a well-ranking website and followed good SEO practices before, but it is possible that the reason your website isn’t ranking well is because of poor SEO optimization. You can run audits to see if there’s anything you can do to improve your website’s speed and functionality. You should also check to see if things like meta descriptions and page titles are properly filled out. Crawl your website, check that all your pages are indexed. Go over both the content optimization, like ensuring each page has unique descriptions, as well as the technical side and making sure the website is functional. If everything up to this point appears to be in order on your website, there’s one more thing you can do.
Building a new website is a complicated process. There are a lot of moving parts and it is often a process that can take multiple months to complete. If you have ensured that your SEO optimization is comparable to where it was on your old site, and you’ve moved over all of the well-performing content, your website may not be ranking as well simply because Google is still working it into its algorithms and removing your old site from its index. If more than a few weeks have gone by and your website still isn’t ranking anywhere near where it used to, then it is time to reconsider whether your website is properly optimized. However, if your new website has only been around for a week, don’t worry too much about poor rankings yet. Google is still working on ranking your site and it will very likely improve after a bit of time.