October 28, 2018

How Your New Website Layout Can Kill Your SEO Rankings

by Colleen Romero

So you’re pumped about your new website. It’s got all the bells and whistles and it’s going to make you look super professional.

There’s just one problem. When you migrated to the new site you lost all your search rankings! No bueno. How could this happen? Doesn’t Google love a sleek new theme and mobile responsive layout. Of course they do. But, you have to do it the right way.

Here’s a list of 5 reasons you’re new website layout could tank you in organic search.

How Your Website Layout Could Be Hurting Your SEO Rankings

This may come as a shock to you but let’s learn more about how bad web design can kill a well ranked domain.

All Your Pages Didn’t Migrate Over

This may seem simple but it’s something that can be easily missed. Building a network of pages for a website to be getting decent organic search is an art. There are times when you build pages off the main navigation to hype a certain local area or area specific product.

These pages can build massive SEO juice for long tail local keywords but can easily be missed by a website developer if you don’t bring them to their attention. Most web developers, especially those on the cheap, are going to focus on a shell theme migration and include obvious pages found on your main navigation.

To avoid this make sure to advise your developer that you need every page and post migrated to the new site. Explain that you have lots of pages that aren’t on the main navigation but that are passing major SEO juice to your domain. This way they know to focus on getting every page merged over.

You Changed Your Domain Name Without Proper Redirects

To be honest, changing your domain name is risky for rankings. While you may think a change from “ABCMechanic” to “BestMainStreetMechanic” will help you show up in more searched for main street it could backfire in a major way.

Our opinion is to keep your main domain if you have rankings. Add more specific location pages or location service pages to get more local SEO juice. But, if you must change your domain name you need to make sure all redirects are in place and working.

You should be using 301 redirects which don’t give a rankings loss. The last thing you want is for a page your ranking for 50 keywords to suddenly be “404” or disappear from the internet. You also don’t want there to be copies of pages on a new domain because you will be hit for duplicate content penalties.

If you change domains do it the right way or face the Google hurt.

Your New Theme Is Not Compatible With Your Old Content

If your old site was running outdated coding or special scripts these could not jive well with a new site. You need to do a thorough quality control audit of the new site inside a testing environment to make sure everything is working. Once you go live you need to go through another round of QC before releasing the final payment to your developer.

If anything is broken on your site make sure it gets fixed correctly before placing the completed stamp on the project.

Your Meta Titles and Descriptions Got Lost In Translation

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Look at the tab this blog post is in. Go ahead check it out there on the top. See the words there and the little icon? The icon is this website’s favicon and the words are this pages meta title. Google uses meta titles and meta tags (for images and other page content) as major clues for rankings.

These clues give Google bots the breadcrumbs to figure out what the page is all about. Without them it’s super hard for them to recognize what it is your writing about. You can also get penalized if your title tag has nothing to do with your page content.

Using a decent SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or SEOPressor can help you edit your title tags and meta descriptions easily so you can make sure all is well and up to date.

You Made Major Changes To Your Content

So, you figured since the site was going to be so pretty that the content needed a face-lift too. But, if you go about this in the wrong way it can steal all the rankings you’ve worked so hard for.

What’s the best way to keep the juice your site has built and keep it getting stronger? Let professionals with keyword research tools and content optimization software make your content better for you. They will map your current keyword rankings, locate which pages are giving you the best rankings and optimize the rest to maintain and build the juice you already have.

Keep Your Rankings Strong While Making Your Site Look Sweet

Follow these simple tricks to keep everything in tip top shape and avoid turning the search engines against you. By having a good understanding of the things Google looks for to rank your site you can do your best to keep things from going south.

Make sure you communicate with your developers throughout the build out to avoid costly mistakes. It’s way harder to turn the ship back around then to keep it on course to begin with. Remember, sometimes these decisions and mistakes can take months to start affecting your search rankings. Don’t trust your team to know all of this. Ask questions. Make sure things are being done well and right.

Looking for some advice on how you can keep the rankings you have? Wondering how to get rankings back after a bad website design experience? Schedule a free consultation now to see what kind of strategy you need to get things turning back around.

We are happy to help you get your website back to being on top in the eyes of the search engines. Let’s get you found friend…well, found again anyway.

Colleen Romero

Colleen is an internationally known and respected copywriter who creates engaging and conversion-friendly SEO optimized web copy. She's been a content writer for over 5 years and specializes in content strategy and structured content.

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