Web Developer Ruined My SEO Rankings

Your website can be a powerful arm in your promotional marketing strategy, with ever increasing numbers of people using the internet to source products and services or visit a web page to get more information about a company, it’s essential to act cautiously when it comes to changes to your website.

It’s particularly true when you have spent years of time and money to enhance the visibility of your website on search engines. People searching for products and services relevant to your business rarely click past page three on Google – or other search engines – and being placed on page one for important, highly search for phrases can increase visitors and conversely, sales.

That’s why as a business owner with a website generating sales you must pause, take a minute (or perhaps longer) and consider all of the elements that make your website great, before making any fundamental changes. Website developers will carry out the requests you require, but a little knowledge about how your website operates and generates sales is vital to making key strategic changes.

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What i’m specifically talking about is a rise in enquiries we receive from companies that say “my website developer has ruined my website”. This typically happens after a website has been re-designed or a new website has been built. You may expect that in spending money to enhance the customer experience of a website or by adding additional features that you will receive more visitors to your website – which is certainly not the case.

Your website developer may enhance the customer experience on your website and consequently you may experience an uplift in your time on site (customers or potential customers may wish to stay longer) and you could find that your bounce rate reduces, but re-designing your website won’t directly improve your search engine traffic. You could find that if the optimisation of your website isn’t considered alongside the re-development of your website then your number of visitors will fall.

When you decide the time is right to develop your website ask if your website is generating sales via search engines or if you plan to generate sales via this marketing channel. If so, it’s important to not only ask a website developer to re-design your website, but speak to a search engine optimiser about protecting your website to maintain a consistent flow of organic traffic to your site.

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There are some key problems we’ve found that aren’t necessarily considered by website developers when enhancing a website. These errors can cause websites to decline rapidly on search engines:

  • Old pages have been forgotten about and the link hasn’t been redirected correctly. This produces a 404 error when the user visits the website via a search engine.
  • Where there may have been metadata added previously, the new website doesn’t include this information.
  • The website is moved to a new domain name and the old URL is simply closed. This is effectively starting from the beginning again.
  • External backlinks to older pages aren’t updated.
  • Google Webmasters or Analytics wasn’t installed so data isn’t being gathered.
  • Content may have been moved across but the URL has changed and an appropriate redirection isn’t in place.

These are just a few of the common reasons for websites declining in traffic which we’ve encountered, after a website has been redeveloped.

Losing traffic to your website because of an enhancement you’ve made to its design seems unfair, after all, you’re likely trying to improve your website for your visitors. However, search engine optimisation is not just about the aesthetics of a website, there’s more to be considered.

So, is it the website developer’s fault for not considering your organic traffic? Should steps have been taken to protect your rankings? Honestly, it depends, but more often than not we wouldn’t blame the website developer. Their job is to provide a fresh, current and stylish new website that relates to your brand and audience. If SEO hasn’t been discussed and isn’t on their radar, often website developers don’t considered a link from another website which you receive 12 years ago. They don’t know that this one particular link is extremely powerful and by losing the page the website is impacted negatively. A website developer is like a car manufacturer; designing, building and moulding the style and functionality of your website. When it comes to fueling your website for search engines, that’s down to a SEO specialist.

Some website developers have now reacted to the importance of SEO by doing one of two things. They either have their own SEO consultant to minimise the fall in rankings when a website is changed, or they outsource the SEO support to a company like Northstar Marketing. We work alongside numerous website developers who don’t provide SEO services in-house. This ensures that they are protecting their clients without taking any responsibility for the optimisation and rankings – essentially they can focus on the elements they excel at.

If you’re experiencing a decline in traffic because of a recent website change and need assistance we can help. We assess the problem, understand what’s gone wrong and rectify the situation to protect your website rankings. You can have an informal conversation with one of our SEO specialists on 0844 318 0381.

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