Why Traffic and Rankings Drop After a Redesign

redesign web rankingWith an increasing emphasis put on digital presence in recent years, many businesses have undertaken a website redesign. Just as the internet has become a more important piece of any business strategy, the design and usability of a website has become a priority in order to keep an edge over competitors.

And while launching a new website can significantly improve your overall traffic and leads, the transition from old to new is not always as smooth as most businesses hope.

Did you launch a new version of your website and experience a drop in traffic?

Unfortunately, this is a common issue for many businesses. However, there is likely a simple explanation for the decrease in your traffic and, if addressed within the first few months, your previous levels of traffic can be easily restored.

When redesigning a website, one of the most imperative steps is properly redirecting traffic from the old website URLs to the relevant URLs on your new site.

In properly redirecting, you are simply telling Google that all of the traffic formerly going to one URL should now be driven to the new URL, like changing your mailing address.

What to Do if You Suspect That You Haven’t Redirected Your Site Properly

  1. Check the Google Search Console – It is important to assess your website’s performance and check if there are any other problems preventing Google properly indexing your site. Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) will enable you to check your website for problems like:
    • Found errors
    • Broken links
    • Issues with indexing

    This is also where you will find messages from Google about issues with your site or even potential malware attacks, so it is an important step in diagnosing the problem.

  2. Talk to your web team – If you are still unsure of the issue, talk with your team. It is useful to try and get a full understanding of all the changes made on the site recently when looking for sources of error.
  3. Consult with an SEO professional – If you are still unsuccessful in diagnosing the drop in traffic, reach out to an SEO expert in order to resolve the problem as quickly as possible and restore your site traffic and leads.

The Importance of Redirecting

There can be a number of positive factors about your old website that help boost your volume of search traffic, even if the site’s overall design is outdated. When creating a new site and design, you don’t want to sacrifice these positive elements. They include:

  • Current rankings in Google
  • Inbound links
  • The age of your website

Remember, you do not want to lose this equity in transitioning your website, so it is important to let Google know you have launched a new version of your site.

If redirecting is conducted correctly, there should be a smooth transition when the new site is launched. Furthermore, there are several ways to redirect traffic, but one of the best practices for SEO purposes is 301 redirects.

Does it Matter What URL You Redirect the Page To?

In other words, would it be enough to just redirect all of the old pages to your new homepage? Unfortunately, it is a bit more complicated than that. In fact, simply redirecting all of the old URLs to the homepage would hurt you in the long run. For instance:

  • Google is focused on providing the best experience for its users and tries to provide them with the most helpful information based on the keywords searched by ranking websites accordingly.
  • One way to ensure you will continue to provide users with the most relevant information in search results is to redirect URLs to the new link with corresponding content, rather than sending them to the homepage to search.

Moreover, if you have a specific product page on the old iteration of your site, then it is imperative you redirect that traffic to the same product page on your new site.

There may be some cases when your new site does not have pages that match up exactly to the pages on your old site. In that case, it is best to use your judgement and redirect the traffic to the link you think would be most helpful for the user. Even a more loosely connected page is better than the homepage in terms of redirects.

Redirecting Can Significantly Help the Health of Your New Website

Redirecting your URLs can be a daunting task, especially if there are hundreds or even thousands of pages indexed by Google, but it will prove to be well worth the effort by creating benefits like:

  1. Recovering lost traffic from search engines to significantly improve performance in the short run
  2. Gaining lost equity to boost your overall SEO efforts in the long run

Contact Web Design Experts to Help Improve Your Site Today!

Do you need help redirecting your old links to improve your traffic? We’ve helped many clients recover lost traffic and increase their monthly leads with our website maintenance services.

Contact Sixth City Marketing today for a quote and let our experts do the work for you!

John Sammon

About the Author

John Sammon

John Sammon is the CEO and founder of Sixth City Marketing and has been doing online marketing for over 15 years and has vast experience helping manufacturers and universities. During this time, he has been mentioned in many notable publications such as Forbes, Yahoo, and Entrepreneur.

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