Redesigning a website is an exciting project. It’s so nice to see it come back to life when it’s all done and the final updates have been made. However, what many people don’t realize (or forget) is that when you complete a website redesign, Google has to come back and crawl the new site. That means it re-indexes the changes that were made and applies them to how they rank the site. Because so much is new, this can unfortunately often result in a drop in rankings. Think of it like this: Google has built a relationship and gotten to know your old site, so when you introduce a new website, they have to get familiar with the site all over again. So don’t panic, fluctuations in rankings are normal and to be expected for up to a year after the purchase of a new website.
Here are a few reasons why you may be seeing some fluctuations in traffic and rank after undergoing a website redesign:
- When the Website Structure is Updated
Every internal page of your practice’s website has a central topic that Google ranks it for. For an Invisalign FAQ page, for example, the target topic would be Invisalign. The page’s chosen topic requires a certain amount of SEO value for the hyperlink on your practices website to compete with the other oral health providers targeting that same topic.
When a website changes how it navigates between pages, it can cause some pages to be linked to from other internal pages that have fewer inbound/outbound links and less unique content. This causes those certain pages to receive less traffic, which in turn lowers the value of the page, causing the ranking for that topic or keyword to drop within search results. Our SEO Team can suggest various link building and unique content opportunities to improve rank and get ahead of these fluctuations!
- When Page Names are Updated
It is important to keep in mind that even if your website content stays the same after your redesign, updating the navigation of your website often means changing the names of many internal pages. For Google, changing the names of your pages is basically the equivalent of deleting that page entirely; the authority that these pages have built up over time will be lost. If it is at all possible to maintain the same page names, we encourage you to do so. If not, the SEO Team does combat this by implementing 301 redirects. 301 redirects tell the search engines to pass the rankings from the old page to the new page, as well as “redirect” users from the old page to the newer version.
- When your Website Content is Updated
Often times when a practice goes through the process of resigning a website , the copy of the website also gets updated to highlight the updates have been made across the board. When the new content is implemented it causes Google to re-evaluate the relevance of the page for the targeted topic. If Google re-crawls its websites and sees the content you have isn’t unique to your practice or your location, you will be ranked behind your competitor who likely tailored their content to highlight their practice specifically. In order to maximize the amount of unique content we get from our members, we offer Unique Content Questionnaires that you can submit through our website.
Needless to say, SEO should be brought into your website redesign process from the very beginning. While it may be easy to think all your hard work to get good rankings online is going to waste by updating your site, creating a quality user experience with cross-device compatibility is imperative for long-term SEO success. With a responsive site, any potential patient can easily find your content and contact details online whether they are searching for you on their desktop, tablet, or cell phone. In fact, responsive design is what Google recommends for achieving optimal SEO results.
Let our team of dedicated specialists help improve your websites performance after launching the website of your dreams. Please feel free to call our SEO Team with any additional questions you may have!
—Naomi Ellis, Senior SEO Specialist, Sesame Communications