Discover what can go wrong during a website redesign and the resolution to recover traffic
Your new website looks great after the redesign, but you’re losing traffic. What’s the deal?
Your website looks fantastic, but there’s one problem; your traffic seems to have taken a dive. You planned everything to a T, what could have gone wrong and how do you recover traffic?
If your traffic has completely flatlined after a redesign, don’t panic yet. Usually, this is an indicator that your Analytics code hasn’t made it on to the new website. One of the quickest ways to check is by viewing the source code on your index page and look for the Analytics script. If it’s missing, then there’s your culprit. If you do see the code, then you’ll need to ask yourself the following three questions:
1. Is my Analytics code placed correctly?
The script should be placed in the head section of your .html, right before the closing /head tag.
2. Is my UA number the same one that’s on my account?
Compare your UA number to the one that’s in your account. It’s possible that your web developer added a brand new Analytics code to the website, instead of your current one.
3. Is the Analytics code on all pages of my website?
If you still see some traffic after a redesign, just at a decreased rate, it may indicate that your Analytics code wasn’t placed on all of your pages. Check all pages on your website to see if the script is on there.
It’s not uncommon for webmasters and developers to use nofollow and noindex tags on a development site while they are testing it. This ensures that the website will not be indexed before it’s ready to launch. The issue occurs when these tags are not changed prior to launch. If Analytics is functioning properly, then you could be dealing with a robots.txt issue. Here’s what you need to look for:
1. Check your robots.txt file to see if crawlers are being blocked from web pages that you actually want them to crawl. For example, disallow: / would indicate that the search engines are blocked from crawling your index page.
2. Check the head of your source code on your web pages to see if any of the meta robots tags have noindex enabled, which means your pages will not be indexed.
If some of your URLs changed during the redesign, it’s important to make sure the old pages are redirected to the new ones. Redirecting old URLs helps to pass the ranking authority that they have earned over time. Check your Webmaster Tools account for 404 errors and if any significant pages have errors, you need to redirect them to the closest corresponding page with a 301 redirect.
Server & Hosting Issues
Did you migrate servers or change hosting during your redesign? That could potentially be your problem. If there are communication errors with your server, the search engines won’t be able to see your content properly. Head again to your Webmaster Tools account and look at DNS errors and server connectivity to see if there is a problem there.
Even with a well-executed site launch strategy, you may experience a few hiccups, so it’s really important to monitor your site closely after a redesign for any changes. Check your Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools accounts frequently in the hours/days following your launch, so if any issues do arise you can proactively manage them.
Are you losing traffic after a redesign and still aren’t sure why? Or are you considering an upcoming redesign? We’re happy to help! Contact us for a free consultation of your website today.
Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth