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Home / Website Optimization Tips  / How to Fix (and Avoid) Traffic Drops after a Website Redesign

“Due to the ever-evolving technology, websites, if not redesigned, are always becoming outdated in at most two years. All websites inevitably undergo regular redesigning in a year or two to deliver the desired results.

Website redesigning often improves organic traffic and conversions. This consequently results in remarkable sales growth.

However, sometimes website redesigning may come with some very negative impact on traffic flow. Several issues like: could cause this traffic drop

Without proper redirection, if proper redirects are not set up to direct users to the new location of pages, users will get lost and think the pages do not exist anymore.

Site structure  The site structure of a website informs the indexing of the site. If the structure changes during a redesign, there ought to be a new sitemap to fast-track re-indexing. Failure to have the sitemap will lead to a drop in traffic levels.

Site copy – website redesigning sometimes involves writing the pages so that the keywords used originally are no longer used. This may affect traffic negatively.

While some low traffic drop levels are inevitable, there is a need to worry when such levels are notably high. A more than 10% traffic drop should send signals that something went wrong and needs improvement. Therefore, it is imperative to avoid the drop before redesigning and appropriately deal with it if it happens after redesigning.

Outlined below are ways in which the menace can be magnificently arrested.

Set up permanent redirects

Redirects should be correctly set more so if the URL has been changed.

If this is not done, crawling & indexing search engines will not find the website’s new version. Hence it will not effectively route traffic to your pages.

If URL’s of your site has changed, it will be essential to set up new URLs before launching the website. Making the permanent URL’s as a permanent redirect will signal the search engine bots that the old URL’s have been moved to a new URL. This will assist in redirecting visitors and should be done before launching the new site.

Create a new sitemap

In crawling and indexing the entire website pages, Google uses one of the most significant website features called a sitemap. A sitemap contains a list of all important pages on the website. To speed up the crawling and indexing process and restore the traffic levels, one can submit a sitemap to the search console.

When you redesign your website, the sitemap also changes. If you have not updated the sitemap for your redesigned website, Google won’t be able to crawl all the pages properly, and this ultimately leads to traffic drops. It is important, therefore, to create a sitemap before launching the new site. The sitemap should contain all the important pages on the current site. It should also ideally contain no more than 100 pages. This will help to avoid it being seen as more of a general overview than a comprehensive listing.

Make SEO part of the process.

The content and keywords that bring traffic to the current site must be maintained and transferred to the redesigned site. Consideration should be given to all the keywords and pages ranked and were bringing considerable traffic to the site before changing any content.

To achieve this, an SEO expert should be engaged throughout the redesigning process. The redesign team should be under the expert’s supervision. The expert should be able to assist in avoiding serious issues that can negatively impact traffic flow and advise on changes that will improve the same.

Crawl your existing site and plan your new site architecture

The first task that should take place before redesigning is taking stock of what the existing website contains. This will ensure the valuable information is not lost in the process of redesigning. This information can then successfully be transferred to the new site.

Regardless of the cause of the organic traffic drop, a swift corrective measure should be taken as soon as the drop is noticed. This is because traffic drops can be very costly and can result in permanent loss. The worst-case scenario could be a removal of important pages from the website by the search engine robots. This can happen when the search engine can’t find or index the pages and consider them invalid.”