No matter how good looking or technologically advanced a website was during its initial launch, it will eventually get outdated, need to be re-branded, redesigned and updated with the latest algorithms and technologies in order to conform to the regular shifts in consumer Internet use. However, this process brings with it some certain worries and fears that your website redesign might affect your ranking and traffic negatively thereby leading to sharp traffic drops.
Well in this article, we will be talking about some of the causes of these negative effects, how to fix them and how to completely avoid making them.
Redesigning Your Website The Right Way
Very First, it is important to note that you will experience minor traffic drops are for a few days immediately after a redesign. This is totally normal and you shouldn’t be alarmed about it. The traffic drop is usually caused by Google’s need to crawl and index all of your new pages in order to serve the new versions to your users. However, if this traffic decline lasts more than a week and has a traffic decline of more than 10%, then something else is wrong.
Here are some of the most popular reasons and how to fix them:
You Have an Outdated Sitemap
Sitemaps are important because that is what Google uses as a guide when it crawls your site to index them. The sitemap contains a list of all the important pages on your website and needs to be updated and modified accordingly once you carry any form of changes on your website or else you will be faced with slow website index which can really affect your traffic and ranking on all search engine. With an updated sitemap, you can speed up the crawling and indexing process thereby restoring the traffic levels of your website really fast.
So always create a new Sitemap before launching your newly designed website.
Improper/ Broken Redirects
Redirect links point Google bots to the new version of your redesigned page enabling them to be ranked and made available for your users and the search engine. Once this link is broken or incorrect, Google won’t be able to crawl, index or rank your website pages thereby leading to a sharp traffic drop.
To solve this problem, you can easily check the pages with bad redirects or those without any redirects at all by logging into Google’s Search console -> go to crawl->Crawl Errors-> Select “Not Found” tab and set up a 301 redirect.
This 301 Redirect tells the search engine bots that the old URL’s have been moved to a new URL this way your new URL can be located.
Changed Contents and Keywords
Website content change is another major reason that leads to traffic loss. And the best way to solve this is by ensuring you upload only unique contents infused with your ranking keywords. A change in your website ranking keywords can severely affect your ranking and traffic either for good or bad. So it is important you carry out your SEO research to find out what keywords are ranking your website and how to make it better before you carry out any changes.
Ensure your Robots.txt File is Unblocked
Robots.txt is a file that gives search engines the go-ahead to crawl through your website, the file will also specify which pages are should be indexed and which ones should not. Ensuring this file is properly set is important because search engine bots won’t be able to access your site or crawl through pages if this robots.txt file is turned off.
In Conclusion Website redesign and re-branding usually signals an exciting part of seeing your business grow and will focus on optimizing your online presence by simply increasing the functionality, ease of use, contents and the visual appeal of your website. Ensuring you carry out these redesigns properly can really help in boosting your website online delivering results and eventually attract more users.