What to do if your Website is Losing Traffic after a Redesign
It’s a sad but true fact that website traffic often drops after a redesign. The loss is typically primarily from organic traffic, which is to say people naturally finding your website after searching for a relevant topic or looking through a directory. Organic traffic is the most valuable, as its traffic you don’t pay for. So what can you do if your web design relaunch seems to be wrecking your site?
Don’t Roll It Back
If traffic drops significantly, the redesign may seem like a disaster and you might be tempted to roll back to a previous version of your site. This can create more problems than it solves, and it’s usually better to solve the problems you’ve got.
Search engines will begin indexing your site shortly after the relaunch, and many engines ignore broken links after the first pass. As a result, it’s important to monitor your traffic statistics closely during a relaunch, and investigate as soon as possible.
Make Sure It’s Really You
Search engines update their algorithms all the time, and this changes the priority of the links they offer. This can mean a significant traffic drop which is entirely unrelated to your web design. If the traffic drop is primarily from one source, it’s probably a coincidental algorithm update.
Talk To Your Web Design Team
Developers aren’t focussed on SEO, and some of their choices can have a negative impact on your page ranking, and as a result lose you traffic. Four common errors include:
1. Blocking search engines – a file called robots.txt gives search engines information about the site. It’s common for developers and testers to use this file to tell search engines to ignore the site while it’s in development, and then forget to update the setting for the live site.
2. No index tags – another way to tell a search engine to ignore a page. If this tag is used in the metadata for a page, your SEO will suffer.
3. Missing 301 redirects – these are like mail forwarding, they send traffic from an old URL to the new one. If they’re missing, the link is broken.
4. Removal of content – a new structure may mean removing pages temporarily or permanently. It might make sense at the time, but it’s hard to redirect to a page that no longer exists.
5. Customer focussed design – make sure customers can still easily find the things they used to look for.
Accept That It Takes Time For Your Rankings To Recover
Search engines don’t like to list invalid links, so will hide results that go to empty pages or broken links. It can take a while for their robots to find a page, once its been repaired, and longer for users to start trusting your site again.
Call In The Experts
If you’re concerned about your traffic dropping, BoxChilli can assess your site for you. We also strongly recommend diversifying your traffic streams, so you’re not reliant on a single source. This makes you less vulnerable to changes you can’t control, like search engine algorithm updates.