How to keep visibility in Google with new website?

During the development of new ammehjelpen.no SEO was a very important focus as 85% of their traffic came from Google. Then they are completely dependent on a good transfer of content and proper handling of new page structure.

In June, we launched a new website for Breastfeeding Help. An incredibly exciting challenge for our team, and not least an important project! Ammehjelpen.no is an independent voluntary organisation that provides free information, guidance and support on breastfeeding and breast milk issues. The desire was a new website, with a focus on better usability — not least on mobile.

In this post you can read more about how we have worked with SEO and what measures have been taken to keep the traffic they had coming in to the website prior to launch. If you want to read more about the implementation of the project, please read the post; Easier to get help in breastfeeding.

Visibility of breastfeeding aids in Google

The real challenge here, was that ammehjelpen.no had an incredibly strong position in search, and the whole 85% of traffic came organically — from Google. This was a critical factor for Breastfeeding Aid, as they are completely dependent on the donations that come in from visitors to the website. Therefore, it was extremely important to focus on the transfer of content and the proper handling of new page structure.

SEO & Design

In order to create a user-friendly and SEO optimized website For Ammehjelpen, SEO and design worked closely together in the project to map a page structure based on a basic keyword analysis, most visited pages and searches made inside ammehjelpen.no.

We also saw in the web analyses done in advance of the project that closer 90% of users used mobile once they were inside the pages, which may not be so strange when you consider that the target audience is nursing mothers with a child on their arm who are simultaneously Googling their way to do this.

Mobile-friendly websites are also an incredibly important ranking factor for search engines (such as Google), precisely because the share of users with mobile only increases more and more. With that in mind, we chose to design and develop the new solution with mobile as a starting point.

How did SEO and design work together?

  • With thorough preliminary work in the form of web analysis and workshop we got the basics insight into the needs of users and the potential for improvement of the website.
  • We conducted a keyword analysis, looking at what people searched for internally on the website and what were the most used pages to work out a good page structure and categorizations.
  • The website was designed and developed with mobile as a starting point to make sure that the website is well optimized for mobile.

The website was designed with the premise of mobile and focus on easy one-handed navigation.

Transition to a new website

As a result of developing a more user-friendly and better optimized website, it also led to changes in the menu structure and urls. By changing URLs without dealing with the correct redirects, Google will not be able to catch up with the change, leading to both a huge number of dead links (404 pages) and the new pages not receiving any of the value that the old pages had built up over time. This in turn leads to the fact that one will lose the position one had in the search results in the first place.

What measures did we take to retain the ranking?

  • Conducted a web analysis that showed which articles and landing pages had a strong position in search and which drove the organic traffic.
  • Priority list for which content should be transferred to the new website.
  • Add 301 redirection so that articles with new urls were automatically sent to the new URL.
  • Went through all pages that have external links, and for pages that did not transfer we did redirect to the nearest/most relevant page to transmit the link value.
  • Pages with thin and low content were cleaned out and not transferred to the new website — there was a greater focus on good content that actually gets read.
  • Updated sitemap and requested crawling of new sitemap in Google Search Console.

As mentioned, 85% of the traffic to the nursing home was organic, in this case it corresponds to 25,000 — 30,000 visitors per week. If one had not done the thorough preparation or handled the transfer of content properly then, it could have led to months of no visibility before one was back high up in the search results again. Only a month's time without visibility would have meant they had missed over 100,000 (!) visitors.

The result

When launching a new website, it sometimes takes some time for Google to catch up with the new page structure and content that has been published. Therefore, it is quite common to lose anywhere from 5-30% traffic in the initial period after launch, even with the right measures. For Breastfeeding Aid on the other hand, we saw very good results after launch.

  • The number of indexed pages in Google was halved (from about 1200 to 600)
  • 20% increase in organic traffic in the post-launch period compared year-on-year
  • Increase in the number of new users of 2.68%
  • Average session duration increased by 15.5%
  • The escape rate decreased by 5.21%
  • Number of pages per session increased by 17.36%

As a result of cleaning out pages with thin content, low traffic and uptime, the number of indexed pages in Google (pages that appear in search results) was halved, but the page still had only a 5.42% decrease in organic traffic (from Google) in the first few months after launch, whereas when looking at a longer period after launch compared to the same period the previous year, then it has organic traffic increased by 20%. These are very good results for such a large change in structure, urls and amount of content.

Traffic has remained stable since launch, at the same time the results show that the average time spent on pages has increased and the number of new users has increased. It tells us that users read the content and find the information they are looking for.

As new parents, you often only have one hand available, which became the starting point for the design work.

All in all — ammehjelpen.no was a really exciting SEO case for us, and at the same time somewhat nerve-wracking at launch. How would Google “respond” to the new website? We are convinced that the action plan drawn up already at the start of the project was a decisive factor in the good results achieved by Breastfeeding Aid after launch!

What can we help you with?

Morten M Wikstrøm
Morten M Wikstrøm
CEO, Consulting
Trondheim
morten@increo.no
/
976 90 017
Sebastian Krohn
Sebastian Krohn
Agency Manager, Consulting
Oslo
sebastian@increo.no
/
988 00 306

See also:

Keep up to date with our newsletter