Migrating or Altering Your Site? Here’s Why Your Traffic May Suffer

Periodically, the need to change or otherwise move your website will occur. This could be due to a necessary upgrade in your hosting or a more technical challenge when revamping your website for the modern era. Regardless of what may be, these changes can cause temporary yet large changes in rankings and overall visibility in search engines.

While these effects may be fairly universal, they are not always understood. To get to the bottom of these concerns, let’s take a quick gander at the biggest struggles during a migration or site alteration that can cause drops in traffic and/or rankings. By doing so, you’ll be able to evaluate whether any changes are temporary or emblematic of a larger problem.

Redirects and Broken Links

By far, the biggest reason why migrating your website (or changing its design substantially during any overhaul) can create logistical issues between you and your audience is the issue of broken links and redirects. These dynamics can immediately grind traffic to one or more pages to a halt, preventing you from pinging URLs and links to search engines and stopping users from finding your most valuable pages.

Given these issues are a crucial component of any site migration or change, making sure that any technical issues surrounding them are verified first can save you a lot of stress. Whether you’re utilizing 301s, 308s or something entirely different, be sure that you’ve executed the process effectively and that your traffic and/or rankings haven’t dropped because of a self-inflicted wound.

Loss of Backlinks

We work oh so hard to generate backlinks, with the intent being to bolster visibility in search engines and among select audiences. But what happens if a site migration or change suddenly results in completely different URL structure (let alone a domain change)? When these indicators to search engines are suddenly lost or broken, then a major hit to visibility in search results or via referral traffic can suddenly occur.

The simplest solution to this problem is to utilize redirects to ensure that these links now redirect to their proper destinations. However, this may not be possible in every situation. In those situations where major intervention cannot be avoided, simply contacting the webmaster or writer who produced the initial backlink and informing them of the new URL change may help reverse any long-term issues from backlink loss.

Hosting Provider Dynamics

The nature of migrating or otherwise moving a website to a different provider can obviously cause major problems for any website’s traffic and volume. While many of the most common reasons for switching providers are justified, these struggles may not be solved with a new provider – not to mention that the move itself can create SEO hurdles for brands, blogs and businesses.

New hosting providers may have issues relating to page loading speed, JavaScript usage and/or firewalls that prevent crawling entirely. It is vital that you verify that any new provider does not pose a problem in this regard, lest your move cause a permanent drop in traffic.

Even if you’re optimizing content and pinging URLs to search engines properly, a site migration or major overhaul can cause temporary problems. Before you get into the sometimes gritty concerns and variables, be sure to verify that one of the aforementioned issues isn’t the culprit.

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