Get Back to Growth After a Sudden Drop in Website Traffic

Launching a new website is an exciting leap, but what happens if it doesn’t perform as expected? Whether it’s a sudden drop in website traffic, a hit to your sales revenue, or a dip in the quality of leads, understanding the reasons behind these issues is crucial.

Here’s how we help businesses get their growth back on track when traffic drops after a redesign.

Identifying the Culprit

Before panicking and rushing ahead with fixes, it’s essential to pinpoint the causes of performance issues. It is often a combination of factors which affect performance. Common reasons for a sudden drop in website traffic include:

Technical SEO Issues

Poor site architecture hinders both user experience and SEO by making it difficult for search engines to crawl and index your site, leading to lower rankings.

Every URL from your old site needs to be redirected somewhere on your new site. Without this, you’ll have broken links and 404s (which harm SEO performance), and users can become frustrated when clicking old links that no longer lead anywhere.

Missing meta tags can hurt your search rankings and reduce click-through rates from search engine results pages (SERPs). If your new website is slow to load, users will become frustrated and leave, negatively affecting your SEO as well.

User Experience (UX) Problems

Your new site may be very different from what previous users had become accustomed to. For example, renaming pages in the navigation is a common slip-up. Often, renamed sections of a website are confusing to users, especially when businesses opt for heavily branded new names that aren’t clear and understandable.

Another thing to consider is how easy it is for users to get in touch or make a purchase. Have you lost on-page contact forms that were on your service pages before? Has the checkout experience changed, for example – you’ve lost the Apple Pay option? There are many reasons why conversion rates can drop after a site redesign.

These poor user behaviour signals will be picked up on by Google, who will begin to not rank your site as highly in search results and organic traffic will begin to drop.

Loss of Content or Functionalities

Redesigns can sometimes result in the removal or loss of high-traffic pages. This can lead to a drop in rankings, as Google can no longer crawl the information they previously could on your site.

We’ve also seen instances where removing functionalities impacts SEO. Even if the old page was not as pleasing on the eye, if it had a functionality (such as a search bar or a calculator) that users frequently interacted with, removing a useful function on your new design will also negatively impact SEO.

Turning It Around Quickly

Once you’ve identified potential issues, it’s time to take immediate steps to diagnose and fix them. These are some steps we take when businesses come to us with a site redesign that isn’t performing as they had hoped.

Audit Your Site’s SEO

Start by using tools like Screaming Frog, SEMrush or Ahrefs to crawl your site and identify SEO issues. Check for broken links, missing meta descriptions, and duplicate content. You can also use analytics to identify the high traffic URLs from old site to help decide which pages to bring back or redirect.

Next, you should ensure your site is mobile-friendly and has an SSL certificate to boost your SEO performance. You can test your site’s load time using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and make the necessary optimisations to improve performance.

Implementing SEO Redirects and Optimising Indexing

SEO redirects are crucial for maintaining your website’s performance after a redesign. Set up 301 redirects from old URLs to new ones to ensure existing page authority is transferred, preserving your search rankings. Resubmit your sitemap to search engines to update them with your new site structure.

Additionally, manually request indexing for new or updated pages to speed up the process. This ensures that search engines recognise and index your new pages quickly, maintaining your site’s visibility and improving overall SEO performance.

Analyse User Behaviour

Use GA4 to track user behaviour on your site. Look at metrics like bounce rate, session duration, and pages per session to identify problem areas. Heatmaps and session recordings from tools like Hotjar can also provide insights into how users interact with your site.

Check Tracking and Analytics

Ensure that GA4 is correctly set up to track all necessary events and conversions. Verify that Google Ads is properly tracking conversions, URLs are updated, and ad copy has been updated to reflect your new site.

Long-term Strategies for Growth

Addressing immediate issues is important, but implementing long-term strategies will ensure your site not only recovers, but smashes your performance targets.

Enhanced User Experience

Gather user feedback to make informed design and functionality improvements. Optimise for mobile to cater to the increasing number of mobile users. Implement A/B testing on design variations to craft the perfect user experience, ensuring your site remains user-friendly and engaging.

SEO Content Strategy

Develop a robust SEO content strategy to keep your website fresh and relevant. This includes regularly publishing high-quality content, targeting relevant keywords, and ensuring your content meets the needs and interests of your audience. Regularly reviewing and updating your content strategy helps maintain and improve your site’s performance.

Assess Competitor Activity

Use tools like SEMrush to analyse your competitors’ performance. Identify the keywords they are ranking for and compare them with your own SEO strategy to find opportunities for improvement.

Ongoing SEO Maintenance

Continuously monitor and optimise both on-page and off-page SEO elements. Building high-quality backlinks and filling in missing meta data and image alt tags will improve your site’s authority and ranking over time.

Keep a Close Eye on Performance

Using trusted, accurate tracking tools makes monitoring and improving website performance much easier. Here are some of our go-to tools:

    1. SEO Tools:
      • Ahrefs: Comprehensive tool for SEO analysis, keyword research, and backlink tracking.
      • SEMrush: All-in-one marketing toolkit for SEO, PPC, and content marketing. It also offers detailed competitor analysis features.
      • Moz: SEO software with features for site audits, rank tracking, and link analysis.
      • Google Search Console: Tool to monitor site performance in Google search and identify issues.
    2. Performance Monitoring Tools:
        • Hotjar: Visualise user behaviour with heatmaps, session recordings, and feedback tools.
        • Google PageSpeed Insights: Analyse and improve your site’s loading speed.
        • GTmetrix: Comprehensive tool for website speed and performance analysis.

A website traffic drop after a redesign can be worrying, but with the right strategies and tools, you can get back to growth in no time. We understand the complexities of maintaining a high-performing website and are here to help you navigate these challenges. If you’d like to speak to us about how to regain your site’s performance after a sudden website drop in traffic, just drop us a message here.

 

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Newwave Design

Brand, Web & Marketing Agency