Why Google Rankings Drop after a Website Redesign

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At some point in time, many businesses owners will undergo a website redesign to enhance or improve their digital presence. With the internet now an integral part of any business strategy, the design and usability of a website remains a high priority in order to gain edge over competitors.

When you launch a new website, the main goal is to improve your overall traffic and leads. You may be enjoying great Google Rankings and getting decent traffic before launching your new site, but search engines can take several months to realise your website has been redeveloped. All too often, clients don’t see the relationship this would have to a drop in leads.

Did you launch a new Website?

When you get a new website developed there are many decisions to be made, like what to leave in and what to leave out. When it comes to SEO, we often see the client place little or no relevance on SEO. This may be due to the cost of SEO or the belief that it’s something they can manage themselves. Maybe they just believe that Google will take care of it automatically? Whatever the reason, the decision to ignore SEO post-development may end up costing much more that the initial investment.

Did you experience a drop in rankings?

Unfortunately, this is a common issue for many businesses and often it’s identified once the damage is done. The good news is that it’s never too late to start implementing good SEO. One common area is addressing the issue of moved pages, deleted pages and pages that have a new URL.

There are things that can be done, such as URL redirects telling Google what has happened to your site so it has the best chance in restoring traffic levels. This is basic SEO and one of the most common issues overlooked by developers or clients.

What can I do to check?

It is important to review your website’s performance and check if there are any problems preventing Google from properly indexing your site. Google Search Console will enable you to check your website for problems like:

  • Errors in the sitemaps.xml file
  • Broken links
  • Issues with indexing
  • Other errors

Has you developer redirected your old links?

Talk to your developer and ask if organic SEO was part of your development. Consult with an SEO professional – if you are still unsuccessful, look for a provider that performs SEO assessments.

If your links were not updated after your site was launched there are probably two main reasons why not:

  1. Your developer has not advised you of the need of post SEO activities
  2. Your developer has advised you of the need for post SEO activites but you thought it was not important, needed or was too expensive

If SEO if performed correctly, there should be a smooth transition upon launch of your new site. Furthermore, there are several ways to redirect traffic, but one of the best practices for SEO purposes is 301 redirects. If you have a specific product page on the old iteration of your site, then it is imperative you redirect that traffic to the same product page on your new site.

SEO tasks such as redirecting your URLs can be daunting, especially if there are hundreds of pages indexed by Google. Putting in the effort will grant you the following benefits:

  1. Recovering lost traffic from search engines to significantly improve performance in the short run
  2. Gaining lost equity to boost your overall SEO efforts in the long run

The Importance of SEO

The methods that Google use to determine your websites ranking are complex. There are many factors about your old website that may have worked well, even if the overall design was outdated. When creating a new site you don’t want to lose focus of the positive elements that worked well. They include:

  • Current rankings in Google
  • Backlinks
  • The age of your website

The key point to remember, you don’t want to lose this equity in transitioning your website. It is important to let Google know you have launched a new version of your site.

Thomas Lutrov
Thomas Lutrov
Thomas studied at RMIT University and lives in a small room in Melbourne Australia. He works as a experienced and curious digital analyst and SEO professional for Net Solutions.

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