Going Back to Older Website Design Will Get My Rankings Back. Will Not It?


Killed my SEO by remaking my site. Can I save it?

Hey Everyone,
I run a local service business and a large amount of traffic comes from our web presence. I went ahead and rebuilt the website to help it look more modern, and I knew basically nothing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I've lost my rankings with google, and while I'm confident it will rebuild over time, I'm wondering if replacing my new website with my old will quickly put us back where we used to be.
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Find all your incoming links and 301 redirect them to your new pages. You should be getting your ranking back pretty soon.

bryce1733 โœ๏ธ
Thank you!

Depends on the size of the site and how different the versions are. What happened is the search engine knew the URL's of pages on your site and when they started crawling those again after you changed your site, they started (most likely) getting 404 errors. So they figured the content was gone and started demoting you in search results. By using 301 redirects on a 1:1 basis of the old page URL to the new page URL, you can tell the search engines where to find the new content (this is all assuming the URL's changed, which is common in redesigns).
Other than that, ensure that you have well-crafted <title> tags and meta descriptions for those pages. You may want to look into canonical tags as well. A signal you can also target is adding Structured Data to your site (LocalBusiness markup).
Good luck! Check out Moz.com for more SEO information.

bryce1733 โœ๏ธ
Thank you! That's a super helpful reply, and I wasn't sure if 301s would work properly. I'll get on that now

If your site is WordPress, there are plugins that work well.
Same thing happened to me. 301s absolutely the right thing to do. It will slowly come back, though don't expect immediate results. Make sure you 301 to the most relevant pages.
Same thing happened to me. I fixed the few 301 issues that existed, but it didn't really help. I took a permanent hit to traffic to the tune of around 30%. Months later and it doesn't look like it's coming back.
In my case I also added much better mobile support and https along with the redesign, and still lost traffic — counter to every piece of advice I got.
in my humble opinion redesigns should be viewed as potentially high-risk endeavors.
100% agree with you. If you don't know what you're doing, you can tank your business. I almost did. Top tip for anyone doing a migration – watch the 404s, and do all your redirecting BEFORE you hard launch. Also, have some paid Search Engine Marketing (SEM) spend ready to compensate for the hit you will take from Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Knowing what I know now, would never have replatformed.

301s are absolutely essential when your changing the structure of your site. Are you using Google Search Console? If not, get started with that, it will give you more insights in crawling issues.

bryce1733 โœ๏ธ
Yep Search console is all setup and good to go. Thanks!

Also one critical mistake I made was only doing 301s on the http, but there were tons to do on https too. Ensure you set up both sites so you can properly see http and https 404s. Redirect them all.

DO you have it listed with Google Webmaster tools? IF not do that and tell it to crawl the new site. Also, make sure you have plenty of content on the new pages. At least 800 per page. With pics with alt tags.

bryce1733 โœ๏ธ
Google is setup and it gets crawled. I'll certainly have to add content, and do you have any recommendations on a guide that teaches me about alt tags? Alt tags are something I'm unfamiliar with

an alt text is google's way of understanding what the photo is. Google cannot read images, so we include the alt text to give it some context. that is why we put the keyword in the alt text.
title text, which is also available to images, is the copy that shows when you mouse over an image and keep it there. you can put both title text and alt text the same values.
Use your keywords as much as possible.

Has the structure of the website been changed? If so can you share the sitemap of the new and old version I can help you with setting up redirections for search engines.
How long has it been since you made the new website live?
Visit the webmasters tools regularly to check for errors and fix them ASAP.
Rest assured, you can get your rankings back pretty soon if you proactively fix the issues.
Best of luck!

bryce1733 โœ๏ธ
I didn't have a site map of the old site. There is an old copy on way back machine, would it be possible to download a copy of the site from there and create a sitemap that way?

A few tips for those that don't know what old links were out there to rediext, 1st I look at analytics and determine top pages I had and work down from there. You can also check server error logs for pages with 404 and fix them that way too. If your domain is still the same and you had ok domain authority it will bounce back quick! Good luck!

bryce1733 โœ๏ธ
Is it possible to check historic analytics?

Only if you if you have a property for it in your analytics account and didn't delete it should still be there.

Ignore all the advise you are getting and put the old site back until you know what you are doing. Getting Sales is better than being modern.. have you even done a redirect before? Do you know the landing pages for your best incoming links? If you have changed the url structure of your pages your rankings WILL NOT be coming back until you redirect because you may now have dead incoming links

bryce1733 โœ๏ธ
Redirects are all done, it was pretty easy as the site was only 7 pages. Thanks for the advice!

same problem with my new website! I have changed website directly without any backup of old site, and old site have got good rank. but now i am facing more problems for getting an good ranking in Google.
most of the people don't know how to redirect a user to new site, so i think you don't have to change page urls of new site keep the old urls as its is!
and design carefully while designing a new website, the imp things are img alt, canonical, site loading speed, SEO friendly url if these small things are properly arranged in site it will help you to get faster results!
Hi Bryce,
I agree with @ispyty that the reason behind the demotion is redesigning and all that.
The solution is that you have to do it all over again to regain all your traffic like rebuilding your website. Let's say first you have to connect with all your social media presence, then start building backlinks and give Google crawler a path to check the contents on your website. What I'm saying is that you will have to go with both on-page as well as off-page SEO and Social Media Optimization (SMO). An it might take around three to six months of time to have a good chance to get what you have lost.


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