As a law firm, you understand the importance of search engine ranking and traffic, and you have likely put a great deal of effort toward ensuring these things put you close to the top of the page. But what happens following a website redesign? You do not want all your previous hard work to go to waste following a redesign.
Start by Confirming a Problem Exists
Before you actually start recovering SEO traffic and rankings following your website redesign, make sure that there is actually a problem to address. It is possible that your traffic and rankings are still the same or similar and no action is necessary. Of course, this is not always the case, and you should definitely review your website as soon as possible following the redesign to check for a drop in traffic. Assuming there is one, go ahead and resolve some of the common issues that arise after a website redesign that could be causing your problems.
Look at the Issue in Detail
Once you have confirmed that there is a problem, go into your Google Analytics account or whatever analytic software you use. Look closely at the traffic drop to confirm that the drop started the same week (or even day) that you redesigned the website. Check whether the drop was sudden or slow and steady. You can further confirm exactly when the drop occurred by looking at the Google Search Console, specifically the keyword rankings.
Determine the Biggest Losses
Your detailed analysis of the losses will need to continue by figuring out where the biggest drops occurred. Specifically, use the analytics to discover which keyword rankings or landing pages had the greatest losses. To evaluate rankings, you should hopefully have a list of historic rankings that you were highly ranked for. If not, you will have to go on memory, which is not the most scientific method but works in a pinch. Google Analytics can show you specific details on landing pages by going to Behavior, Site Content, then Landing Pages. It may be easier to visualize the information in a spreadsheet, but that is a personal preference.
With an idea of your website’s specific problems in mind, it is time to look at some of the most common reasons for a drop in SEO rankings and traffic. Among these, redirects are a very common culprit. They may be missing in the new page or might simply be misconfigured. Ideally, your URLs will remain the same for the new website to prevent issues. If not, they should include a 301 redirect that takes visitors to the new page from the old one. Test it by visiting your website’s most popular pages via redirects.
If your new website has a slightly different domain or uses https instead of http, ensure that your redirects account for this change. You will need to pay careful attention to the protocol, subdomain, and domain to ensure that everything is present and working properly.
Changes in Content
Sometimes, the content on a previously popular page will be different on the new website. If this is the case, the traffic may or may not decrease. In the case of a decrease, figure out what changed and why it is worse. If necessary, make changes so the page is more similar to how it used to be.
Missing Content or Pages
It is also very common for pages to disappear completely in a website redesign. While this is frequent, it can have dramatic negative effects in the case of content with a previous high performance. To check if your highest traffic pages are still there, go back to the landing page analytics you looked at to look for gaps. If there is a content issue, fix it, and you should see a bump in traffic.
Other Problems to Look For
In addition to those more common issues impacting your traffic, be on the lookout for technical problems that slow down the website, a failure to complete the basics of optimization, or turbulence. The last of these is just the simple fact that you may need to wait for traffic to bounce back following a redesign as the new pages get indexed. When nothing else works, make sure your analytics are correct, account for any changes to the Google Algorithm, and consider things like historic variations in your website traffic based on seasons.
Redesigning a new website for your firm can be challenging, but rewarding. At the end of the process, hopefully you emerge with a modern, user-friendly site. However, many law firms neglect search engine optimization in the process leaving them with a new site that doesn’t rank on search engines. If your firm needs help recovering SEO traffic or optimizing its new website, contact us for a consultation.