After a redesign, your rankings fall for a short time

  • old woman in bathroom lying on  bathroom floor calling for help
Why website ranking falls after a relaunch

Category: SEO/ SEM

Industry: Other

Project Description

Don't let this happen to you! Make sure your website CAN get back up in the rankings after your website has fallen! If things are done well, your website should be back up in the rankings within a week or so.

There are people much smarter than us when it comes to SEO. We learn from them by reading their articles and blogs, and when we do we like to share what we learn with our clients, because it's a question that often comes up. As a Columbus web design firm, we're expected to know the answers to these questions. We're also expected to know the answers for how to get the website back up in the rankings once it has fallen!

Turns out, there's a variety of reasons your website will fall in the search engine rankings when a redesign is completed. So, in no particular order, here are the main ones:

Your URLs have all changed (except your homepage URL)

There's no way around that, because you probably want your new website to be structured differently than your old website. Most likely because you've found better ways to make the most important information  easier to find. And when that happens, the URL structure changes dramatically.

This is the main reason for a change in your rankings. When changing URL’s, search engines need to re-index the entire website from scratch.

How to fix it?

We make sure we submit your new site map to the main search engines so they get a jump on re-indexing your website. No reason to wait for their bots to get around to re-indexing your site. Let them know it's changed, and that process will take a lot less time.

All those awesome inbound links will no longer work

When the website's URLs change, any links you've put out there, either through social media, blog posts, e-newsletters, or most importantly, Google AdWords (or other SEM) will no longer work.

And should your content be so awesome that other bloggers link back to it (the Holy Grail of inbound links: having OTHERS link to your website) all those links will no longer work.

And as we all know, certain inbound links are a major indicator of how well regarded your website is. Inbound links from link farms actually count against you, so if you or an SEO firm you've hired has used that practice to get link backs, it's probably a good thing those links will no longer work.

How to fix it?

Conduct a web audit of your inbound links. Sounds simple, but it's not because who remembers where they posted all their inbound links? If you've done dozens or hundreds of year or two, the only way to find them are through a carefully executed audit.

Navigation changes: A combination of the two above

Again, lets say so many people like your website and the content on it, they've book marked certain pages for reference. Well, all those nice people who used to be able to get to your site with a click of a bookmarked link, no longer can.

How to fix it?

Do what's called a 301 redirect.

But you have to know what old URLs your audience is most likely to have bookmarked. Probably not your "About" page, but certainly there are main pages in your site (for surgeons, perhaps the Breast Augmentation page, for home builders, possible your floor plan page. Once you know what the most visited pages would be, we do the 301 redirect, which basically tells the internet, if someone uses an old URL, to automatically redirect them to the new page. They'll never know its been changed... until they see the awesome new website design.

Not keeping up your blogging and SEO

Don't think that your cool, new website will be loved by search engines, and slack off on posting interesting content on your site. While a well-designed, SEO-friendly website will be liked by search engines, remember, they're only half your audience. The other half are people.

Keeping good, helpful and interesting content going on a regular basis is critical. That's why we write blog posts often, and about subjects we think would be of interest to our clients. Like this one.

How to fix it?

Make sure you have someone in your organization whose job it is to post blogs regularly (even if it's once a month!) and write your newsletters. Ideally, the content on those two marketing efforts work together. So having one person work on both really helps minimize duplicating efforts.

How good is your SEO, anyway?

If you haven't had a qualified web design firm, or SEO firm work on your website, there's a good chance your website isn't all that SEO-friendly.

How to fix it?

Do an SEO audit to make sure your main pages have good, unique page Titles and Meta Descriptions that relate to the content on each page. There's no short cut to doing this right. There's no cheating Google or other search engines.

Read one of our favorite articles about on-page SEO here.


This is a text file that tells search engines where to look for things on your website (a well as what to ignore). This should never be overlooked in a website redesign, because if it is, search engines could not be indexing or crawling important pages on your new site.

How to fix it?

This is something you shouldn't HAVE to tell your webs design firm. It should be on their check list of things to do before your website goes live.

OK, so if this isn't enough information for you, there's a more in-depth article on Search Engine Journal about this subject you can see here.

Should you have questions about this very important subject, feel free to call or drop us an email and ask. We're geeky enough to actually enjoy talking about this stuff!