How We Saved A Client’s SEO After A Website Redesign
Earlier this year, we posted about what great success our client ACR Roofing has had with our SEO services in Melbourne. We were able to more than quadruple their keyword visibility on Google within the first three months of working with them.
Then, in February and March of this year they went through a website redesign. Their web designer built a completely new website for them, utilising a different WordPress theme with some new plugins.
Shortly after going live with the new site in mid-March, ACR Roofing’s keyword visibility noticeably dropped:
The thing about redesigning your site is that you can almost guarantee that your SEO will be affected afterwards. Even if you’re just changing to a new WordPress theme or utilising different WordPress plugins, these changes often mean you’re swapping out old website files for new ones. And if you’ve spent time optimising the old files, then that means you’ll lose much of the SEO juice you’ve gained if those files no longer exist.
We’ve spent the last few months re-optimising ACR Roofing’s site after their new site launch and are thrilled to see it nearly back to the healthy keyword visibility it had before the changeover. Here are the main ways we achieved this:
Re-run the Site Audit
As a best practise, our Melbourne SEO specialists conduct a site audit for all new clients during the first month of SEO services (and then every few months after that). This can be done manually (i.e. by following a checklist), or by using a site like SEMrush.
A site audit will turn up any errors that may be negatively impacting the site’s SEO and keyword visibility. Issues like missing meta descriptions or alt tags, duplicate content, broken links, and slow loading time are pointed out so you can see exactly which page(s) contain the error. Often fixing them can result in a significant gain in keyword visibility, so it’s very worth taking the time to do this.
When we re-ran the site audit for ACR Roofing on their new website, it turned up a plethora of new errors that we spent considerable time resolving before carrying on with further optimisation.
Re-optimise Theme Files
If you’ve switched WordPress themes, be sure to re-optimise any files in the new theme that you optimised in the old one. In particular, the header and footer files are ones you’re most likely to have tweaked. For example: optimising the logo in the header, adding the Google Analytics tracking code to the header, or adding keywords or your business address to the footer. You may also have modified the page, post, or functions files in the theme.
Lastly, do a thorough check of the images throughout your website. Sometimes a theme change can strip images of their alt tags or display images at a larger-than-optimal size, both of which can hinder your keyword rankings.
The reason why this happens is because many themes come with their own plugins and functions. ACR’s new WordPress theme utilises image gallery widgets that display the images without using any alt tags – a huge SEO loss, due to the missed opportunity for optimisation. And if it’s a site that has several photo galleries for various projects or products, then this loss in keyword visibility is multiplied even further.
To combat this, we’re working to tweak the gallery code and possibly even alter the way images are displayed throughout the new site so that they’re able to pull in alt tags (e.g. using a different gallery plugin or widget than the one that comes with the theme).