How to Recover Website Traffic After a Redesign, ASAP
When this gets asked in SEO forums, there may be some general guesses, but it always comes back to “I’d have to look at it to know for sure.”
Do what you can, but don’t delay getting professional help.
Here’s a high-level map.
It isn’t every detail, because that would take many books. But by starting high-level, you can nail down the basics, then dive into the nitty gritty.
Step 1 – Quantify
What is the nature of the drop, exactly?
- Identify the date the redesign went live. Annotate it in Analytics.
- Note the before/after totals, using the same number of days.
- Look at traffic by Channel, noting the ones that dropped most.
- The culprit is often Organic Search, but not always.
- Do the same for Source/Medium, for additional detail.
- Note the totals, but also the percentages.
- The size may point to different causes.
Step 2 – Document
Next, what changed… beyond the visuals?
Gather the following facts, before vs. after:
- content management system (CMS)
- server settings
- URL structures
- adding ‘thin’ content?
- any content initiatives
- top organic pages
- analytics code — was there an real drop, or are you missing tracking?
Aside from things under your control, consider:
- rankings — did competitors improve and bump you out of top spots?
- seasonality — did traffic dip during the same time in prior years?
- Google updates — was there a shift unrelated to your redesign?
Step 3 – Investigate
Finally, the fun part, combining all your sleuthing skills.
Helpful tools include:
- Google Analytics – obviously
- Google Data Studio – for more powerful views of analytics
- Google Search Console – let Google tell you what’s wrong
- Google Sheets / Excel – for custom analysis & data mashups
- Screaming Frog – crawl your site like a search engine does
- Ahrefs / Semrush – check rankings, run audits, and more
- Pingdom / GTmetrix – check site speed and related issues
- Google Lighthouse – a very tough grader for website issues
Each step of the way, record the actions taken and the findings. Don’t skimp. Randomly browsing Google Analytics and keeping everything in your head is a fantastic way to run around in circles, duplicate effort, and get burned out.
Bonus Step – Get Help
If you exhaust your ideas and don’t see results, get help.
If you don’t want to exhaust yourself in the first place, get help!
Send a quick note below to have the chief redesign helper look at your site.