MARKETING - How An Agency Website Design Lost Traffic & Rankings

This business paid $000's for a new website that lead to lost website traffic and keyword search rankings overnight

How To Check If Your Website Is Working advice by Paul D'Ambra Marketing Consultant

Summary

WEBSITE DESIGN IS MORE THAN JUST PRETTY PICTURES AND LAYOUTS

How To Check If Your Website Is Working advice by Paul D'Ambra Marketing Consultant

The owner didn’t know how if their new website had any traffic

The owner of this civil engineering business had approached me about helping with some website photography from my other business, La Lente. They wanted to show off some of their new product lines on their website and recent civil engineering projects they had completed. To help with creating the photography brief I took a look at their website so I could see how and where they used photos.

 

The business has been operating for 30 years and I discovered they had a new website built by a local web design agency in July 2019. On the surface it looked clean, fresh & contemporary, although during our next phone call I asked the owner how it was performing. Surprisingly, he didn’t know.  

 

I offered to have a quick look at their website visitor data and what I found was alarming.

OVER $2,000 A MONTH WAS BEING SPENT ON GOOGLE ADS

The business owner decided to begin investing in Google Ads to try and generate more leads. While more than $2,000 per month was being spent, most of those visitors to the site were not converting to leads. In fact, the best performing source of traffic was Organic Search. So it meant there was ongoing investment being made that wasn't delivering a return.

THEIR ORGANIC SEARCH VOLUMES BEGAN TO DECLINE

Using Google Search Console I looked at their last 16 months of search impressions which had declined not long after the new website had been launched. The site was also ranked for less phrases than before & the only traffic from search queries was 80% from their brand name. So this meant they weren't getting found for all the services or products they had for sale.

THEIR WEBSITE TRAFFIC DECLINED AFTER THE NEW SITE LAUNCHED

I already had half the picture, so using Google Analytics I looked at the available history of the data going back to 2013. As you can see in the graphic above, their overall volumes dropped off in 2019 and then continued to decline slowly after the new website was launched.

THE WEBSITE DIDN'T WORK WELL ON MOBILE PHONES

While most of the target market for this business would be using desktops to do their research and get quotes, their volume of traffic from mobile phones had been steadily growing to nearly 30% of visitors. Although you couldn't use the menu when browsing on a phone to look at all the products and services, so the bounce rate (people leaving the site) was very high for mobile users, more than double compared to desktop visitors.

TECHNICAL AND ON PAGE WEBSITE SEO WAS FAIRLY AVERAGE

Looking at the site set up the agency had installed the popular Yoast WordPress Plugin but none of the pages had really been optimised with suitable meta data descriptions to maximise click rates. Other areas like page headings and title hierarchy wasn't considered carefully to present solid page structures. Basically what the agency created was a visually pleasing site that lacked the right level of technical implementation to generate solid search traffic.

SO HOW DID THE WEBSITE LOSE ALL ITS TRAFFIC?

A mixture of factors contribute to these results but the most critical one is the web design agency made a wholesale change to the website without considering what was working with the old website. These changes to pages, structure & lack of correct technical SEO set up then leads to changes in how Google (and other search engines) read and interpret the site.

 

In this situation the quality of information and content had taken a step backwards hence the reducing in search impression volume and website traffic. The business owner didn’t know what website traffic or search rankings they had, they didn’t have anyone in their team who knew how to interpret the data & the agency didn’t alert them to this either.

 

With less phone calls and leads coming in the business owner opted to spend money on Google Ads to try and generate business without realising that slowly their website was essentially acting as an online business card. The owner decided to agree on an online marketing audit to be conducted (which is a specialty of mine) so that I could dig deeper into the situation and create an action plan to solve it for them.

 

Read my article 5 Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Their Website

HOW CAN YOU FIX A WEBSITE THAT LOSES TRAFFIC?

To fix this type of website problem will depend on the exact scenario and how the site is built. In this example luckily the website has been built on WordPress using Elementor and Woo Commerce. It means it is using popular industry platforms rather than being custom coded, this makes it easier to make adjustments. The aspect that is tricky to manage is the custom coded WordPress Theme that has been used, changing it or switching to another one would require some re-working. Looking past those elements here are some of the steps needed;

  • Reviewing the structure of pages, titles, wording and even meta data to try and improve existing search result performance.
 
  • To look at website visitor behaviour using tools like CrazyEgg or HotJar to understand how people are navigating the website and identify any layout or navigation issues (like the mobile phone menu not working)
 
  • Assess how thin the content is on the site, so for example are there pages with very little text that need improving to help increase their relevance.
 
  • Do a brand review to look at things like unique selling proposition, brand positioning, authority & credibility via things like information pieces or case studies.
 
  • Content creation to add fresh and relevant information to the site that would appeal to potential clients to help rescue some of the lost search volumes.

Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google for all website owners to use. It provides a range of tools and reports to help you measure your site’s search traffic and performance, fix issues, and see how your site performs on search results. It provides data on search analytics so you can see which queries bring users to your site & you can also analise your site’s impressions, clicks, and position on Google Search as well.

When used correctly this data can help grow your website traffic and identify SEO opportunities.

Google Analytics is another free tool provided by Google that gathers all the data about your website in one place so you can see what people are doing when they visit your website. Together with Google Search Console you can use the information to make improvements (or spot problems) with your website.

Semrush is a paid service that can analyse large amounts of internet data to report on keyword performance, compare websites, discover content ideas and more. Their data enables discovery of website growth opportunities, while workflow and tracking solutions help business owners run experiments continuously and more accurately measure results.

Paul D'Ambra

Paul D'Ambra

I love to re-energise businesses by injecting energy into their marketing using data-driven consumer insights. I’ve motivated start-ups, small business owners and six-figure corporate brands to deliver incredible marketing impact.

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