Nowadays, your website is often your audience’s first impression of your business, and an outdated website can reflect an outdated business. Whether you are looking to improve usability, better communicate your brand, or just give your site a fresh look, a website redesign has the power to take your business to the next level. If not done right, however, you may create your shiny new website, log in to Google Analytics, and see that traffic has actually dropped in comparison to the old website. To help avoid this issue, here are some tips on how to keep steady traffic after a website redesign.
One of the most common causes of traffic loss is improperly setting up redirects to your new website. If your URLs have changed at all, you need to make sure that each one is set up with a 301 redirect. This will tell search engines and browsers that the page has been permanently moved and to pass the rankings from the old page to the new page, helping drastically with SEO for the new site. Without these redirects, search engines and browsers will think the page is completely gone, often resulting in a substantial drop in traffic.
In many cases, redesigning a website includes rewriting the copy to align with the new look and feel of the site. However, copy changes cause Google to reconsider the relevancy of the page for the certain topic, since its algorithm is focused on making sure users are getting the most accurate results during their searches. If keywords are removed from titles, header tags, body copy, and so on, relevancy will drop which, in turn, results in a drop in traffic. It is best to work with an experienced SEO specialist to ensure either your old keywords or new, updated keywords are added back into the copy.
The structure of your website has a bigger impact on your website’s success than many other factors. When you have a confusing or poorly laid out site, it is hard for Google to index and understand your website, resulting in less value and traffic drops. This issue also negatively impacts user experience. If you are considering completely changing up your website’s structure, then you will need to create a new sitemap and submit it to Search Console in order to speed up the re-indexing rate of the new site. You should also pay attention to your internal links and make sure that none of them are broken or outdated, which can also cause value and ranking issues for your site.
By keeping redirects, content, and structure in mind, you can lessen your chance of having substantial traffic loss after a website redesign. Although a long and time-consuming process, redesigning your website can propel your business forward and show your audience that you are up-to-date and ready to take on more business.