All That Glitters Isn’t SEO Gold

This is a cautionary tale for every siteowner thinking of getting their website refreshed or redesigned.

When the designers are called in to refresh the site, and it goes beyond a basic refresh of the skin, you as a site owner should be aware that you can seriously harm the rankings and performance of your website. Proceed with caution.

Remarkably this happens more times than you’d think, new designer comes in, does his magic, rips the site apart and pulls the rug from underneath. It’s gutting to see a site that you’ve worked on be massacred by a design team that have no idea of even the basics in page titles, internal links, site structure, 301 redirects or simple on site SEO.

no google analytics tracking code shows a dip in traffic

Gone unnoticed your site is now on a downhill spiral, and the design company won’t even be aware of it (it’s certainly not done intentionally, it’s just not in their skillset). More than likely how your site looks is more important than performance to them.

A plan needs to be in place before the site goes live, not weeks after!

How To Spot a Poor Site Migration

Here’s a few ways to spot if the new site migration has been a balls up (some are fairly obvious to spot, but go unchecked)

1. Check your Analytics, is their a drop in the traffic?

Have the new team replaced the website and forgot to put any Analytics tracking code in the site? Yes remarkably this does happen, or they’ll put in Analytics for a new account. Are the goals and events no longer working?
Compare the landing pages stats in Analytics before and after the go live date. Is there a drop in traffic for the pages since go live?

2. Can you segment your traffic down into Organic traffic and notice a dip in traffic around the launch of the rebrand?

3. When you search for your main keyword has it suddenly fallen of the face of the earth. Does it no longer rank anywhere near where it used to or where you’d expect it to rank?

4. Does the wrong page rank for this keyword? So for your main keywords does the page that you’d expect to rank, no longer rank? I recently noticed on a site that the special offers page ranks for the main keywords that the homepage used to rank for.

5. When you do a site operator check e.g. site:domain.com and click on the indexed pages in Google, do these all take you to a non existent 404 page. If they do then you’ve got a problem.

Moral of the story, most designers I know don’t do site migration. When updating your website make sure you have a migration strategy in place. A few checks before going live could save you alot of pain.



2 Responses to “All That Glitters Isn’t SEO Gold”

  1. Jordan McClementsNo Gravatar Says:

    But the main thing is that the web site looks great on a 27 inch Retina display…

    This happens a fair bit. I’ve even had hot shot web designers redesign a site, change URLs completely with no 301 redirects so lots of AdWords ads get broken *and* remove all Analytics and AdWords conversion tracking (and not communicated that they had done this to anyone).

    I also regularly get web designers removing tracking by upgrading forms etc.

  2. MichaelNo Gravatar Says:

    ha ha, I know. As long as the design looks good on a portfolio page then job done.

    Agreed, it also effects the Adwords ads, which usually now go to a page that doesn’t exist.

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Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced web developer based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own web design company.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 225729 or use the contact form.

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