You’ve spent much time, dollars and effort building your organic search engine traffic. You’re sure you can do better. Analyzing your conversion scenarios, there are enough issues in your navigation, layout and site architecture that you decide to do a site re-design.
The big day has finally arrived. You re-launch the site with new templates and architecture. Copy has been optimized for search engine keyword density. Kudos all around for the updated look, easier to use layout and more intuitive architecture.
A couple of days after, you look at the inbound acquisition traffic… horrors, it’s down!… not by a few percent but much more. What could be wrong?
Here are 3 things to check:
- Are some page tags missing? If new templates were implemented and your traffic is collected using page tags, was care taken that the new templates were fully tagged? Perhaps your traffic isn’t missing but simply unrecorded.
- Did you revise your page names, or did you implement a new content management system, without rewrites or redirects? Are your page names (URIs) different? If yes, did you take care to either re-map your new URIs to the old addresses or redirect popular old URIs to new URIs? Your missing traffic may be heading to “page not found”. Check the number of 404 errors, or your broken links report if your web analytics tool provides this report.
- Has your re-designed site been crawled deeply…yet? Check your server-side logs for crawler activity. Your new site may not have been indexed yet. Did you submit XML sitemaps to the search engines (more at sitemaps.org)?
Don’t forget to review your acquisition traffic from referrers other than search engines. If you have lost significant referrer traffic due to deep links into your site (which are now broken), assign some resources to advise these sites of the change in address, as well as the improved experience their audience will have when visiting your site.
You may want to ramp up pay-per-click temporarily to fill the gap in acquisition traffic, buying keywords that previously performed well organically.
Rather than concentrating on regaining your overall acquisition traffic numbers, concentrate on regaining traffic from your highest converting organic keyword phrases first. With better site architecture and usability, conversion should be even higher than before, on a landed visit basis.
Any other thoughts or suggestions?