Redesigning a website is a common way to make sure it continues to meet user expectations and search engine algorithm requirements. When the site’s design is too “old-school”, with an incoherent site structure, it can be worthwhile to roll out a full redesign.
How do you know if redesigning the website was a successful move? What are the metrics to track over the first few days, or in the first weeks? Are there pitfalls you should avoid?
Not taking the existing site into consideration: the pitfall to avoid at all costs
When we talk about website redesign, it’s understood that there is already an existing site that needs to be considered. This site already has a online history.. Search engines are aware of it it; they have crawled it many times and have indexed it.
Not taking this history into account is like shooting yourself in the foot. Whatever the reasons for overhauling the website with a redesign, it is important to consider the website’s history.
Taking a website’s history into account means tracking certain metrics:
- Rank: by verifying the pages that rank and the search queries associated with them, you can already get an idea of the redirects you will need to put in place.
- Traffic and bounce rate per page: by analyzing the traffic and bounce rate on each page, you can already see whether or not all pages neet to be kept.
- Conversion rate: if landing pages generate few conversions, it’s an indicator that they aren’t efficient.
- Site health: make sure that there are no pages with errors.
- And so on…
By analyzing what already exists, you can make a website redesign easier to manage.
How often do I need to track the most important metrics following a website redesign?
Once you’ve rolled out a redesign, it is important to set up a means of monitoring the most important metrics.
There’s no reason to do a daily check: this can create unnecessary pressure. It is better to wait 48 to 72 hours after rolling out the new design before you start monitoring. This gives search engines time to interpret the changes to the website.
After this period, if your monitoring tools do not show any problems, you can maintain weekly monitoring over the first two months, before returning to your usual monthly monitoring.
We also recommend that you keep an eye on the alerts that the Search Console or the other tools can send you.
[Case Study] Keep your redesign from penalizing your SEO
What are the metrics I need to track after a site redesign?
Tracking certain metrics can help confirm that the redesign was a successful move:
Organic (or SEO) traffic is a key metric. It is important to make sure that there is no permanent drop in organic traffic as a result of the redesign.
It’s normal to observe an upward or downward spike in traffic following a redesign. The most important thing is that, in the case of a drop in traffic, it recovers instead of persisting. If the drop persists, it is important to look for the cause and find solutions.
Has the site dropped in rank on strategic keywords? Is the content of lower quality? Are the Hn and title tags correctly optimized?
Positions and click rate on strategic requests
When you first launched the website, you identified strategic search queries that you track carefully.
During your redesign, there have probably been redirects that have likely impacted the rank of certain pages. It is therefore important to observe the changes in rank for strategic queries in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.
By tracking ranking changes, you will also be able to see if the click-through rate on these queries changes, which in turn will allow you to react in time if you notice an important drop.
Keeping an eye on the bounce rate of your strategic pages allows you to know whether or not they are still as valuable as they were before the redesign. If you notice that the bounce rate has increased significantly, it is possible that the readability of your pages has increased.
Although Google says that it does not take bounce rate into account in its algorithm, we have found that pages with a higher bounce rate don’t rank as well as pages with a lower bounce rate.
If your bounce rate increases, compare the old versions of your pages with the new ones. This comparison should give you an idea of where to start.
[Case Study] Optimize organic search traffic using log files analysis
A website redesign involves many changes that can influence domain authority, the metric that measures the importance of your site on a scale of 1 to 100.
Following a redesign, it is therefore important that you make sure that your site does not lose importance or popularity. On the contrary, a redesign should increase its authority.
Monitoring domain authority will allow you, just the same as for ranking and click-through rate, to react right away if you notice anything unusual, and to take effective steps to resolve the issue.
Also associated with domain authority is the number of backlinks and referring domains, which is another important element that to monitor. Tracking these two metrics helps to ensure that the popularity or strength that other sites transmit to yours stays stable.
Are there any pitfalls to avoid when monitoring the effects of the redesign of my site?
After rolling out your redesign, you may be tempted to check the effects of the redesign on a day-to-day basis. But don’t fall into the trap of daily monitoring which, in addition to being time-consuming, can be really stressful.
Moreover, during the first few weeks following a redesign, you will notice many changes (drop/spike in traffic, ranking changes, etc.). Before reacting, make sure to test your old URLs to make sure they redirect to the right page.
Search engines will need time to analyze and understand all the changes made to your site.
So don’t panic! Carefully monitor your metrics on a weekly basis during the first quarter and then on a monthly basis.