In cooperation with Spotless Interactive in London, a global usability test was ran in London, Oslo, and Hamburg where the feedback were then implemented a year later. These included improvements on the home page, URL rewrite, navigation menu, and booking engine.
A new web structure without sacrificing traffic was launched with 21 websites in 15 languages is very difficult, especially that more than hap of the visits are from search engines. But two example websites were given these structures. The first one lost 35% of its organic traffic while the second one lost 4%.
This plan was developed with the support of Norwegian inbound marketer Sverre Bech-Sjøthun, showing what to do before, during, and after the website is launched.
Before launching the website, set up a project with the web developers. It should be ensured that all the stakeholders are aligned. CMS was then upgraded as this will increase crawl errors right after the update. During the launch, map the URLS and redirects and submit the XML sitemap. Fix the crawl errors in Webmaster Tools and monitor web traffic in Google Analytics.
Two teams each worked on a website. One gave a high priority on SEO while the other one did not. The results were outlined below.
- Website 1
While the process plan was followed and stakeholders were aligned, the team did not follow the plan of launching a website and implementing correct redirects. On-site SEO was also not prioritized. In the day that the site went live, organic traffic went down to 34% when compared to the previous month. This means that a significant amount of sales were lost. Updates of the XML sitemaps, implementation of outstanding redirects, and fixing of crawl errors are then done on the site.
- Website 2
The team had more control and was more hands-on on the second website. Once it went live, there was a blog post, a tweet to over 2000 followers, informed stakeholders, and news published about the launch. After the launch, a newsletter was sent to 1600 subscribers which included a top on the email signature. All in all, organic traffic is now down to -4% compared to the previous month.
On website 1, where only half of the plan was implemented, it lost 34% of organic traffic. With website 2, where there was a significant improvement, the plan was followed exactly in the way that it was mapped out. Also, constant monitoring and testing was performed. The morale of this test definitely was to create a plan and actually stick to it.
So if you are thinking of launching a new website, make sure that you involve your SEO consultant on-site. You can even hire an expert during this process. Throughout the launch, it would be helpful to involve your web developers as well. Ensure that this is a priority of the organization and is not something that is merely left in the hands of those who limited SEO knowledge. Losing 34% organic traffic is not something that we can all afford.