You’ve just launched your brand-new or redesigned website and expect to see the same great visitor traffic you had before. But something’s not right — not only have you not maintained traffic levels, you’ve actually watched your numbers go down, along with your first-page rankings for your keywords. Any SEO gains you had made now seem lost. What could have gone wrong?
Why traffic or rankings can drop
There are several reasons a new website’s SEO can be negatively affected:
- You have a completely new website or domain. To the search engines, your new site is exactly that: new. If you now have a new design and a new domain or URL, it may be months before you can rebuild the authority that Google and other search engines reward with better rankings.
- You’ve changed your content management system. A change in your CMS may have resulted in changes to your site’s page and URL structure that can lead to indexing problems and broken page issues. If, for example, you’ve migrated from an HTML site to WordPress, you now have a site structure that’s completely different.
- You didn’t set up 301 redirects. These tell a search engine to forward an old address/URL to a new or updated URL. If you relaunched your site but didn’t map out your old URLs and redirect them to your new pages, all of those old pages will now be 404/not found. Any backlinks to your site could be broken and internal links will get lost (which affects how the importance of a page is gauged).
- You didn’t optimize your titles, descriptions or content. Your pages may have been fully optimized on your old site, but that’s not always the case after redesign. It’s easy to overlook the importance of making sure your page titles and meta descriptions are fully optimized, along with optimizing all the content you recreated on the redesigned site.
- You didn’t create and submit a new sitemap. Sitemaps may appear to be simple lists of a site’s pages, but they are much more than that. Submit a new site map through Google’s Search Console to ensure Google can crawl and index all of your site’s pages. If you didn’t submit a new or updated sitemap, Google may not index all of your pages (and this is a big problem if you’ve added new pages on your redesign), which in turns means less traffic to your site.
Help your website designer or developer help you.
Not all website creators are also SEO experts, but by taking care of a few relatively simple tasks before launch, they can help ensure that the sites they create for you are ready for search engine success. To learn more about protecting site traffic and rankings, download this handy SEO Checklist For Launching Your New or Redesigned Website.
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