Why did SEO Traffic Drop after Website Redesign?


What do you think or expect when you get your website redesigned?  It should look good, perform better than before and obviously increased ROI. Right? But what if it looks good now, but you lose the initial SEO traffic after redesigning.

Don’t panic.

Instead move ahead towards the solutions, for which finding the exact problem is crucial.

It may have happened because your website designing agency was not careful about a certain steps which are a mandate to at least maintain the initial SEO traffic.

The major reasons identified for the drop in SEO traffic include:

Be Realistic

Website owners must understand that after redesigning of website some percentage of existing SEO traffic will be decreased. This happens because Google has to assess the pages, design and the content of the website again.

How much is not Too Much?

A drop range of 5% – 7% in SEO traffic is expected after the redesigning of a website. Anything more than this means that something definitely went wrong while the transition and serious attention should be paid.

How much time will it take to reach Initial SEO traffic?

If the drop in SEO traffic is within the above mentioned range then the initial results will be recovered in a few weeks. But otherwise it’s directly proportional. The higher the drop percentage the longer time it will take to get back to the initial results.

Important: Relying simply on the traffic numbers is not wise. A good SEO company will also take a look at Conversion data. Because there can be chances of low traffic but high conversion rate.

Why Did Your SEO Traffic Go Down After Redesigning of Your Website?

If you have not taken necessary precautions while redesigning your website, you will end up losing high percentage of your SEO traffic. This percentage can go upto 60-70% which can cost you high loss in terms of money.

We have listed the major reasons responsible for the drop in existing SEO traffic so that you can benefit from it by correcting them beforehand itself.

Redirects Were Ignored

What are Redirects?

Redirects send the users to the new page location when they try to visit the old page. They will tell the search engines to give the old authority/rank of your pages to the new pages of your website.

Why is it important to set up Redirects?

If you have not set up Redirects then the users/visitors of your website will get errors when they visit your site’s pages. This will happen as the page address of your old website have now been changed. For example; if the contact page of your old website was www.abc.com/firm/contact/ and now after redesigning it is www.abc.com/contact/ then obviously users will get the error when they visit www.abc.com/firm/contact/  as this page no longer exists.

These errors will transfer this information to the search engines that you have poor content, and down goes your site rankings.

What should be done to correct this?

Set up 301 redirects as this will inform the search engines to transfer the rankings from the old page to the new page, as well as send users from the old page to the new page.

It is important that redirects should be written from the old page to a matching page on new site. Do not redirect every old page to the new home page.

Importance of Setting Correct Codes

The error codes that your website returns when redirects have not been set up affects the rankings of your website. To illustrate, 404 error shows up when a user tries to visit a page that no longer exists. Though, sometimes 200 error code substitutes which is a success code with the unexpected result of informing Google your site has a ton of duplicate content.

It is crucial that when you set up the redirects, they should be 301 or permanent redirects not 302 or moved temporarily. This will move the page authority to the new one without damaging the overall SERP of your website.

Site Architecture

What is Site Architecture?

A site architecture is basically the layout of your web pages. In the language of Search Engines, a site architecture supports with crawlability and indexation. It is crucial for SEO as the layout holds an important place in number of pages getting indexed in the Search Engine. This eventually impacts the capacity of traffic to your website by Search Engines.

What should be the Site Architecture like?

Site architecture or hierarchy should be such that the pages which are most important and relevant should be easily retrieved.

Google authorizes assessment from one page to the next through internal links. The pages will receive more or less value depending on where the pages are located in the hierarchy of the website.

Pages which are multiple clicks away from the important pages (generally homepage or category pages) gain less value compared to those which are placed closer.

How is SEO Traffic affected when you change the Site Architecture?

Google values and ranks the pages in a website based on its target topic. That topic necessitates some value (link juice) or a decent score to compete with the competitors. This value or link juice is achieved by hyperlinking which is seen as votes by search engines recommending that your page is valuable and worth promoting.

When a website is made again it can change the internal linking causing some pages to have less internal links or they can now be linked to from pages which have less value to pass. The new hierarchy or layout reasons pages to receive less value or score. Due to this the score of the page lowers which in turn lowers the SEO traffic for that topic.

Change in Website Content

Changes in a website design also cover certain amount of or complete change in content. This does not include minor linguistic changes. Rather we are talking about major changes to the target topics of a page, and where in the content are these significant topics placed.

Why does it affect the SEO Traffic?

The changes in content makes search engines to re-assess the authenticity and value of that page for the primary topic. If for some reason the primary keywords no longer exist in the key SEO areas like title tags, header tags, body copy, alt text etc., then the relevant score will drop, and with it the SEO traffic and search engine rankings.

Important: For this reason you must learn which keywords and topics have high ROI and traffic seeking capability. This will save you from unintentional loss of SERP.

Deleting Web Pages

Deleting the web pages in a redesign creates content gap which causes a drop in the SEO traffic.

In the expectation of creating an enhanced journey for the users, website owners accidentally create a content gaps in their websites. This gap caused by removing pages leads to a drop down of previously ranked pages and also a drop in SEO traffic of those targeted topics.

Site maps

Last but in no sense the least is your website’s sitemap. It is imperative that Google understands the structure of your site. Site map makes it easier for search engines to walk through your website. So, if Google still has the old sitemap page that no longer exists, the requests will return errors. This will drop your SEO traffic and will also have a negative impact on rankings.

If you have activated SSL in your new website, which by the way you should; then remember if your sitemap does not match the protocol of your website, search engine will not be able to crawl it correctly.

It is always a good thing to move or to change for good. But it does not harm to take the precautions. Yeah?

I have tried to cover almost all the reasons which are responsible for bringing down the SEO traffic after redesigning of a website. If yo happen to know of other reasons too please feel free to write me at here.

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