New Site Drop in Organic Traffic No Drop in Rankings


Reggie37

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Hey all, I figure I am just getting tunnel vision on this and am overlooking something. I have a client who built a new site and traffic is consistently down about 40% and Direct traffic traffic is up 200%. Also, the home page seems to be the biggest loser. Could there be a traffic issue? Any help is much appreciated.
 
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We're going to need a little more information about the change. There are a million things that could have happened. Did you change the CMS, did you change URL structure, did you change page copy, did you change title tags, did you add SSL, did you forget to add tracking to certain pages, etc...etc... So many scenarios.

If you want to share the URL in the thread or PM we could take a quick look and give some feedback, but short of that I don't think we'll be much help without knowing details.
 
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1. Did you change servers?

2. How many internal links were removed across the site? It looks like the main navigation went through quite an overhaul.

I tested the site a few times with dev tools and pingdom and it loads extremely slowly... i got >22 seconds on one test. When I disabled JS the site seemed to load much better for FireFox. I think checking whatever JS and CSS elements you have running and making sure they're not hurting the site is a good first step. The homepage takes forever to load, so it's not all that surprising that's taking a hit. Run the site through Screaming Frog and check for redirect chains as well. I think You have some CSS links on the page that are redirecting to a final version. Looks like it could be just a code error (missing a "/" or accidentally putting one in), so cleaning that up could help a little.

There's bound to be a few other things, but that's all I could really dig into in the short amount of time I had to look at it. Hopefully others jump in with suggestions too.
 

Conor Treacy

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I'm getting timeouts when trying to load the page with a scanner. It loads fast enough in my own browser however.

Do you have a robots.txt file? Maybe you're blocking scanners and Google from indexing the site that way?
 

JoyHawkins

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Did you check through Search Console already to see if there are broken links? Is the traffic loss all from Organic/Search?
 

CodyBaird

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This will sound harsh but it sounds like you botched the migration. I love all of Eric's points. I also think Joy is correct, visit GSC and you are going to see mass 404s. You are also going to see crawls have probably gone down due to speed issues, broken links, and error pages created during migration. What about canonical settings. Did they change? What about htaccess file and robot.txt? Did they change? Did you migrate all previous 301s? Changing up main menu structure is another item worth reviewing. How about other links from the main content of the home page to service pages. Where primary content links moved?
 

Reggie37

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Thanks for all the advice. We didn't build the new site or handle any of the transfer so there has been a bit of back and forth. GSC shows 10 404 errors (which were minor pages and I have redirected). I'll ask about the htacccess but we kept the same robots.txt. Primary and main nav links were added but the ones they had are still there. Crawls are up over any point in the last 90 days as well. I'll pass this along to the developer and see if we can't iron this out.

Is the fact that organic traffic is way down and direct is up almost 200% a point of any interest?
 
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Direct can be attributed to both external online marketing, but also offline marketing efforts. Direct is someone typing the URL into the browser, so that's all branding. Without knowing every little detail of the marketing mix, it's impossible to tell exactly what caused a rise in direct traffic.

Organic traffic drops are typically caused by website issues. Have you crawled the site with a tool like Screaming Frog or Xenu? GSC is garbage for almost everything except for the Search Analytics feature. If you really want to understand crawls, use the site's log files and analyze those.

Someone made changes to that site since I checked it last, because the last time I looked at it you didn't have a robots.txt. That timed out for me before, and is fine now. Someone also did work to help load time, because the homepage loaded in just over 3 seconds this time around.

Without knowing what else was done to the site (either onsite or off), it's really hard to tell what could be happening. The more details you give, the easier it will be for us to diagnose. Most of us are on time crunches, so anything you can provide will improve the feedback we give.
 

CodyBaird

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Sometimes I will see a dip immediately after a migration. Especially if changed the URL structure. Adding all the redirects to new links will sometimes cause a drop days after after followed by a recovery. Hopefully you see the recovery. If not, you missed something.
 

Reggie37

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Hey all,

Thanks for your help. It turns out the developer incorrectly formatted the GA code and some other tracking. I was freaking out as EVERY other tool said organic traffic was actually up YoY and MoM.
 

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