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Website lost 80% of organic traffic after re-design

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Leodare, Sep 14, 2014.

  1. Leodare

    Leodare Newbie

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    I own a website which has a high domain authority and it was ranked on the first page on Google. My website had to go through a complete overhaul like a completely new website structure and a re-design. I was assured by the web designer that it wouldn't affect our SEO and domain authority. I understand that we might lose a little bit of traffic because some of our pages from our website had to be deleted and this will affect the domain authority but 80% drop of organic traffic is devastating. Currently, we have moved to a new CMS called Drupal. Has this happened to anyone before? And if so, how do you deal with this issue? What should I do? Would appreciate any advice on how to solve this which I'm really losing sleep over. :(
     
  2. archon10

    archon10 BANNED BANNED

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    1) No one can assure you that you'll keep rank. Any SEO who does is a fraud.
    2) 301 redirect all old pages to new pages.
    3) Most people see a fluctuation. If it's done right, you'll start to recover after while.

    Unfortunately, deleting pages and not redirecting them is a mistake. You need to redirect them, submit a site map, and let Google recrawl. This takes time. A redesign is a massive change in structure and content.

    But, you need to 301 redirect asap.
     
  3. Leodare

    Leodare Newbie

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    Thank you for your kind suggestions. Much appreciated!

    I am definitely aware that SEO is never a guarantee, I was really being cautious and skeptical about the overhauling the whole website because I knew this would affect our SEO and reduce our organic traffic but I didn't expect it to be that bad - 80% drop in organic traffic is just astonishingly worrying.

    Unfortunately, all the old pages have already been deleted so can I still 301 redirects them to the new pages? I'll also like to point out that most of the content on the old website have to be re-done because we have new products, information so we thought it makes sense to delete those pages since we have to re-do the content anyway. But now that you have mentioned deleting those pages is a mistake, I guess it's a little too late.
     
  4. sagarbest

    sagarbest Senior Member

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    You changed the CMS. Google doesn't like the change in a website completely. Give it some time, look how's it doing and make some more link if required.
     
  5. bananaman5000

    bananaman5000 Regular Member

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    i redesigned a site completely and had it drop off the map for a couple of months.

    i have had clients ask me for SEO guarantees before. "When will it show up on the first page of Google??? How long until it hits #1???". they are always very rude about it.

    i won't make guarantees so sometimes they leave. one client went on to sue the SEO they hired after me. now, i don't even take on someone until they've proven they have a basic grasp of what's happening. otherwise they are too much trouble
     
  6. archon10

    archon10 BANNED BANNED

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    You can still redirect. That is the part you are missing. It's understandable that the content is changed, but you're going from "all this content" to nothing (well, nothing in the old pages) so google is saying "wtf is going on?"

    Also, you lose your link juice when you 404 and don't redirect, so you've essentially eliminated your backlinks, which is a pretty big deal.



    Yes, people want guarantees because they are paying out money and yet the ironic part is that the only people who will guarantee and take the money are frauds.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  7. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    You probably should have kept all the URLs the same as much as possible and 301 the rest to equivelant pages. Also keeping the content (text) from good ranking pages in the new design is usually a good idea. Also the internal SEO needs to be good. Ironically whenever I have rebuilt a site it has caused a short term drop, soon followed by a large gain. But the builds I've done were vast improvements and done with SEO in mind.
     
  8. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

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    What has happened is that suddenly your website looks like it lost all its pages and and new content was added.

    Since any old backlinks would point to older pages that are not there, the traffic coming into those pages is getting a 404 error and they no longer point to your site. That surge in 404's adversely affects the ranking of the site for those keywords.

    Go into awstats, and look at your 404 errors, and start redirecting the pages being sought to the closest page you currently have on the site now. If you cannot found a good match, redirect them to your home page.

    This will do two things, get the traffic from those links back into your site, and help you site re-rank because the links are back to pouring juice back into your site and the 404 errors will diminish.
     
  9. supacatt

    supacatt Junior Member

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    Yeah, your going to have to wait for Google to reassess your entire website. Just try to get it as close to the original structure as possible.
     
  10. Pilfer7

    Pilfer7 Regular Member

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    go into google and do this search

    site:putYourSiteHere.com

    and then see what pages google has listed

    if they still have the old pages from the old site listed, copy that old url from the google search result and then go into the new site and 301 re-direct those old urls to the new urls
     
  11. Leodare

    Leodare Newbie

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    Right! Thank you so much for explaining. This is really helpful and I will definitely make sure I redirect all these 404 links. Before I actually 301 redirect all my old pages to my new pages, this will help in the benefit for the new pages' page rank and by doing so, our new pages will be getting good page rank. Am I right to say that?

    I just checked my website's broken links and for all 404 errors and to be honest, I'm spoilt for choice as I've tried out a few online sites like brokenlinkcheck, validator.w3 and I even downloaded a program called Xenu Link Sleuth 1.3.8 and I got very different results from all three.

    When I checked brokenlinkcheck, it says they have processed 38 web pages for me and found 6 broken links. They link me to the 6 urls and source code and the 6 urls are all clearly different from my old urls. Does this mean that I need to revert back to the old urls? I am quite confused how this works over here. Also, the server response says 404. So does this mean all these are the 404 errors I am facing?

    When I checked validator.w3, they show a list of broken links and other issues. I receive errors like this.

    Does this mean that I need to update the robot text files? Because I've hired a SEO guy to fix all these since last month but apparantely, it seems they are not done yet.

    Hindsight is just a great thing, isn't it? Sigh I wish I had posted this thread and asked for advice before actually re-designing our website. Well what's done is done and the damage is already done so do you have any suggestions on how to solve this?

    Thanks, agreed with you. I tried to download awstats but I don't have any hosting access right now and it seems I still need to set this up on a server etc. Is there any other online alternatives to awastats?

    Thank you for all the suggestions. Appreciate it. Hopefully, once I 301 redirect all these old pages to the new pages, I will get my old organic traffic back. But if this stays for an extended period of time, would it be a little too late? Because so much damage has already been done to the site.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014
  12. BrendaWatson

    BrendaWatson Newbie

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    Have you retained the same structure or changed it with design? If you changed it then it should be due to that, so 301 redirects should help.
     
  13. Leodare

    Leodare Newbie

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    Nope the website structure is completely different. Will 301 redirects solve this issue once and for all? It has been more than a month since the website is launched though and even if I were to 301 redirect now, would it be a little too late since so much damage is already done?