As much as we don’t want to admit it, the Digital Strike offices are not always overrun with sunshine, victories, and vintage ‘80s high-five montages.

Truth is, unfortunately, as the title implies, there are times when things don’t always go as planned for online success and are simply not executed as well as we would have liked. There are a number of reasons why recommendations are not always carried out which could range from internal factors to external circumstances.

Sometimes action is taken simply because it may be fear of the unknown — fear that disturbing the familiar comfort of the status quo in the short term by adding new content or embarking on a meticulous link-building strategy is not worth the long-term benefit of higher rankings or increased sales.

And we understand. Fear characterizes the unknown.

The Start of a Beautiful Friendship

In the fall of 2018, we entered into a partnership with a local urgent care facility, the agreement of which was to conduct an aggressive link-building campaign that would bolster the authority of the facility’s website, which was simultaneously being redesigned from the bottom-up by an agency partner.

In theory, it was the perfect arrangement. Everyone feeds off one another in a loop and exchanges expertise and feedback.

The facility was eager to welcome more foot traffic through its doors, but to do so, it needed to first address its digital footprint, particularly in Google, by ushering the site into modernity. Inbound links would then be layered in over time to complete the job.

But our efforts also included the creation of content for the site, which was badly outdated on all fronts, as well as an idea for suggestions for a new, squeaky-clean sitemap and site architecture, which would only work in perfect unison with the link-building strategy and supercharge the new design.

Everything was in place. Or, so it seemed.

Curious how your website is performing?

Fast Forward a Few Months

The redesign of the new site was entering its final stages. The link-building strategy, going strong on the home page, had begun to take hold, and the effects of its teamwork with what little existing content the site had were starting to become evident. But we weren’t there yet.

The time had come to see the detailed blueprints of the new sitemap coincide with the site redesign nearing fruition. The ingredients were blending beautifully. All we had to do was slide the cake in the oven and wait.

The problem? The cake was dropped before the oven door was even opened.

Unfortunately, during the site’s redesign and launch there was a misstep in the implementation of the sitemap we suggested, which was designed to lay the groundwork for growth machine.

The failure to implement the new site structure put the website behind an eight ball and created a number of flaws contained within the URL structure. The site now had pages that were 3 to 4 folders deep which created redundancies within content and new pages.

The sitemap that was had provided included clean architecture and flow for the website that would have made it easy to crawl properly by the search engine bots.

But alas, all the planning done to give us a leg up was gone in an instant. Instead, the antiquated site structure remained, essentially rendering the newly launched website a work in progress and not the end product we all craved – no matter how beautiful it may have been.

What Could Have Been

As you may have guessed by now, this story has a less than sunshine and rainbows — no rah-rah moment that tends to validate the typical case study.

In our eyes, what were intended to be practical solutions pursuant to the growth of the client’s website and business were perhaps not seen as such on the other side of the aisle.

What’s left, if anything, are regrets.

In the days leading up to the launch of the new site, we offered up our final thoughts in lieu of the implementation of the new sitemap. Included in this review were the following recommendations:

  • Using fewer folders in the URL structure, which was crucial to our organic keyword rankings; not doing so could hamper any further ranking improvement
  • Redirecting previous URLs that had a good volume of traffic or referring domains
  • Publishing testimonials on various internal pages as a means of social proof to instill trust
  • Adding schema markup for location data (name, address, phone number) on the Contact page
  • Adding “noindex” and “nofollow” tags to pages unimportant to organic rankings, such as Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

Need help with a migration strategy?

Despite the sitemap and redirects being missed in the launch, we still had to push forward with the baby we were all given and make it work (as Tim Gunn would say), and we also wanted to provide as much input as possible.

This continued after the new site design was launched.

Valleys and Peaks

Fewer than 60 days removed from the launch of the site redesign, organic traffic had fallen off by more than 35% from the previous month and nearly 50% from the same time the previous year.

A majority of the traffic lost was previously generated by a small number of posts within the website’s blog, a key section of the site for valuable content.

The following month, organic traffic rebounded, increasing by more than 77% over the previous month, yet still down by more than 40% over the previous year.

Why the difference?

After the initial drops had been reported, the entire team got together to create a plan to implement a series of redirects across the site in an attempt to pass any established authority within the old version of the site to the new version. Because the redirects in both the sitemap and our last-minute recommendations were not implemented.

We had to explain that it could be a fool’s errand to expect all lost traffic to return — a scenario that would not have existed had a new sitemap been implemented prior to launch — but evidence of consistent rebounds was encouraging.

And we were determined for more. As such, we chose 10 pages to start with and recommended we create high-quality content to fill in the site’s 10 most important service line pages. Soon, organic traffic had increased an additional 11% month over month and nearly 25% from the same time the previous year — the website’s first YoY increase in organic traffic since the relaunch of the site.

Need help with content marketing?

And the proof was in the pudding, which, in this case, is the rankings. We shared the data with our partner, detailing how the facility was outperforming every local competitor for several top-level keywords in Google Search Results.

This data was then passed on to the facility directly, who was so satisfied with the new site’s organic performance that they made the passing comment about the website’s SEO performance being “strong”.

Preparation and Execution

The moral of the story is that it’s important to be prepared for site migrations and to build out the strategy for doing such a tedious task – you just need to follow the recommendations and guidelines.

If the sitemap and redirects had been implemented from the start, this particular facility might have seen gains right away and not the alternative. 

At Digital Strike, we have over 30 years collectively in the digital marketing space and have seen it all. If you want a successful migration strategy for your new website design, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d hate for you to lose all the value you’ve put into your website throughout the years into your website.

 

Ryan Faller

Learn more about Ryan Faller

Recent Posts

How to Drive Traffic To Your Site

Everybody Asks: How to Drive Traffic To Your Site But nobody asks how your site is doing. (Doing great, thanks for asking!) All jokes aside, online … Read More

Google Core Web Vitals: What They Are & When They’ll Take Effect

Benjamin Franklin once said that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes. Maybe it’s time we add Google updates to that list. If you’re … Read More

robot-image

Easy Technical SEO Audit Tips For Marketing Managers at Any Level

Often we hear how daunting SEO can be, even for a senior marketing manager. SEO seems like such an abstract concept because there are so many … Read More

The Life of Content: Keep, Add, Combine, or Kill

In a recent newsletter here at Digital Strike, we covered a few topics that made headlines in 2019 and are guaranteed to continue to trend as … Read More

The Google BERT Update: What It Is and What It Means for Your Website

BERT is being hailed as the biggest change in search since Google released RankBrain five years ago.  That fanfare is warranted because it’s going to change … Read More

Top SEO Sites to Watch in 2019

Top SEO Sites to Watch [Updated for 2021]

It’s been said that the only constant in SEO is that it’s constantly changing. This is why, to stay on top of our game, we have … Read More

Landing Page vs. Homepage: What's the Difference?

Landing Page vs. Homepage: What’s the Difference?

They’re the same thing, aren’t they? Just different names for the same thing, right? Wrong! Technically, while a visitor to your site can land on its … Read More

How Does UX Affect SEO?

You know when you go to a website and it’s just…bad? You can’t find the navigation menu, the page isn’t loading correctly, or pop-ups are keeping … Read More

Location Page Google Will Love

How to Build a Location Page Google Will Love [Infographic]

Ready to crush your local SEO with a top-notch location page? Hold up, wait a minute. What is a location page? And what is local SEO? … Read More

Content Creation or Link Building

What Should Come First: Content Creation or Link Building?

What came first – the chicken or the links? Wait. No. That’s not right. The content or the links! It’s a question we get asked a … Read More

Why You Should Have a Blog

Why You Should Have a Blog

Creating unique content on your company’s website has benefits you haven’t considered yet. Do you want people to keep coming to your website? Are you working … Read More

Organic Search Opportunity

Organic Search Opportunity is Changing (Again)

Is SEO opportunity actually shrinking? Organic search opportunity has always been a constantly changing field.  Algorithm changes send everyone into a tizzy a few times a … Read More

How to Write Headlines

Here’s How to Write Headlines Like a Pro (You’re Welcome)

Once you know how to write headlines, you can pretty much rule the world. First impressions are crucial, right? If you make a bad impression in … Read More

How long does SEO take to work?

How Long Does SEO Take to Work?

TL;DR: SEO results take more time than you think. Almost every SEO client we have asks us, How long does SEO take for my website to … Read More

When Should I Use a Canonical Tag or 301 Redirect

When Should I Use a Canonical Tag or a 301 Redirect?

It’s a phrase knowledgeble SEO specialists say all the time – “canonical tag.” Or maybe they say “rel=canonical” and you’re sitting in the meeting like: Then … Read More

Does PPC Affect Organic Rankings?

A Digital Marketing Misconception: Does PPC Affect SEO?

In the digital marketing world, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths (myth-conceptions, if you will) about how organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click campaigns work together. We’ve heard and seen it all. … Read More

Why You Shouldn't Trust Yoast 100%

Why You Shouldn’t Trust Yoast 100%

Are you going crazy trying to get all of the dots on the Yoast SEO plugin to turn green? Do you have nightmares every night of … Read More

“How is HubSpot different from SEO?”: An honest answer to an actual client question

“Have you heard about inbound marketing?” This is how a recent client call started. Then, to make things worse, they proceeded to ask, “How is HubSpot … Read More

Design responsively: The importance of mobile-friendliness to your site redesign strategy

Back in 2014, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches, and search engine optimization was never the same. What does this mean for your company? First and foremost, … Read More

Why you aren’t ranking first in Google for [INSERT KEYWORD] … And why that’s okay

You might be wondering: “Why am I not ranking first in Google for [INSERT KEYWORD]?” It’s not a bad question—it shows you value your business’ position … Read More

Local SEO ranking factors: What gets you into the game, and what makes you stand out

Just because you’re on the track doesn’t mean you’ll win the race. Maybe you bought the shoes and paid the entrance fee, but if you didn’t … Read More

5 Must-Have Elements of Every Small Business Online Marketing Plan

Image Credit Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but the following could be considered the most conducive to the budget of even … Read More