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Recovering Lost SEO Traffic After Website Redesign

Digital Marketing

Serg Ursa SEO Specialist

Experiencing a drop in traffic following a website redesign can be disheartening, but it’s important to remember that with prompt and strategic action, recovery is possible. In this guide, we’ll discuss what you can do.

First, Identify the Drop in Traffic

Detecting a drop in traffic subsequent to a website redesign can be critical for mitigating its impact and initiating a swift recovery.

In this section, we’ll outline a strategic approach to identify whether a downturn in your site’s organic traffic is directly related to recent changes or updates to the website. By conducting a thorough analysis, you can pinpoint the root causes and implement corrective actions.

Here are the steps to assess and identify a traffic drop due to a website rebuild:

1. Analyze Traffic Patterns: Begin by examining your website’s traffic data to identify any sudden or unusual declines. Utilize analytics tools like Google Analytics or Search Console to compare traffic volumes before and after the redesign.

Pay particular attention to the timing of the drop—does it align closely with the date of your website’s relaunch or major updates? This temporal correlation can be a strong indicator that the redesign has affected your site’s search visibility.

2. Investigate Google Search Console: Google Search Console (GSC) is an invaluable resource for understanding how your site performs in Google search results.

Dive into the Search Console data to identify which pages or keywords are experiencing the most significant losses in traffic. This information can help you pinpoint specific areas of your site that were negatively impacted by the redesign.

3. Monitor for 404 Errors: 404 errors are a common consequence of a website redesign, especially if URL structures have been changed without proper redirection.

GSC can alert you to some 404 errors, but it’s wise to conduct your own checks as well. For WordPress users, numerous plugins are available that can monitor your site for 404 errors in real time, providing insights into potentially overlooked or mishandled pages during the redesign process.

4. Examine Modified Pages: Pay close attention to pages that were significantly modified, merged, or split as part of the redesign. Changes in content, structure, or URL can all contribute to fluctuations in traffic. Assess whether the modifications could have altered the page’s relevance in the eyes of search engines.

5. Cross-Reference with Site Changes: Compile a list of all changes made during the website redesign, including updated URLs, restructured navigation, altered content, and removed pages.

Cross-reference this list with the insights gained from traffic analysis and error monitoring to identify potential causes for traffic drops. This comprehensive approach allows for a targeted investigation, focusing on areas most likely affected by the redesign.

By systematically following these steps, you can effectively identify if and how a website rebuild has led to a drop in traffic. This diagnosis is the first step towards implementing a recovery strategy that can help restore your site’s search engine performance and visibility.

You can also read our resource on why SEO traffic can decline after a new website build.

How to Recover from a Drop After Website Redesign

The key to regaining lost ground lies in identifying the root causes of the decline and addressing them directly.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you recover from a traffic drop after a website rebuild:

1. Act Quickly to Address 404 Errors: The first step is to swiftly identify any pages that are returning 404 errors. Utilize a 404 monitoring tool to pinpoint these broken links. These tools can help you detect errors in real-time, allowing for immediate action.

2. Implement Redirects: Once you’ve identified the pages that are 404ing, it’s crucial to set up 301 redirects from the old URLs to the corresponding new URLs.

This step is essential for preserving the SEO value that the original pages accumulated over time. Redirects guide both users and search engines to the new location of your content, ensuring a smooth transition.

3. Prioritize High-Traffic URLs: When setting up redirects, start with the URLs that previously attracted the most SEO traffic. These are your priority pages, as they represent the most significant opportunities to recover lost traffic and maintain your site’s visibility in search results.

4. Restore Deleted Content: If you removed pages that contributed significantly to your site’s SEO performance, reconsider that decision. Restoring these pages can recapture valuable traffic.

If the content was outdated, update it instead of removing it entirely. This approach allows you to retain the SEO value of the page while ensuring the content remains useful to your audience.

5. Review and Revise Modified Content: For pages that underwent substantial changes or were merged with other content, assess the impact on their SEO performance.

If a previously high-performing page has lost traffic due to these modifications, consider reverting to the original content structure or separating merged pages. The goal is to preserve the individual SEO strengths of each page.

6. Audit Your Google My Business (GMB) Listings: For local businesses, ensure your GMB listing is updated to reflect any changes made to your website, especially if your contact information, location, or service pages have been altered. Accurate and consistent information across your website and GMB listing is vital for local SEO.

7. Monitoring and Adjustment: Monitor your recovery progress using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Be prepared to make adjustments as needed.

Conclusion

By following these steps, you can address the immediate issues contributing to your site’s drop in traffic after a rebuild.

It’s a process of careful analysis, swift action, and ongoing optimization. With persistence and strategic adjustments, you can recover lost traffic and possibly even surpass your site’s previous SEO performance.

If you still have questions about lost traffic or SEO performance in general, you can always reach out to us.

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