Case Study: Online Tech Publisher
Our client is an online media company that provides high quality technical content to millions of IT professionals. Their business relies on a high volume of organic search traffic to sell advertising. But, after a CMS migration of five different websites, they faced a sharp drop in organic search traffic. Our client needed help from a search marketing expert and brought on Chimaera Labs to recover lost traffic and revenue.
We used our systematic, analytical process to 1) rule out factors that could not have caused the drop in traffic, and 2) discover the root cause of the problem.
Our process involved:
- » Reviewing web analytics, server configuration, and the code behind the websites
- » Restoring the original websites to compare against new websites
- » Correlating changes in traffic patterns against Google algorithm updates
- » Assessing past activity in engineering and marketing departments that may have affected traffic
We found and resolved issues with missing content, inbound links pointing to 404 pages, and messy redirect chains, all resulting from the CMS migration.
The Chimaera Labs team performed an exhaustive SEO audit of all five websites. We found that only three of the five sites experienced a severe traffic drop after the CMS migration, with a sharp decrease for two specific pages, and only one website accounting for nearly half of the drop in traffic. The other two sites had a long and steady decline in traffic before and after the migration.
After understanding how and where the traffic was actually dropping, we needed to understand why this was happening. Our process eliminated, one-by-one, every possible cause of the drop in organic traffic.
We developed a strategy to address four major issues:
Content that was once associated with backlinks had been removed, so these links now went to 404 pages. Our strategy was to implement a 301 redirect on the old URL pointing to the new URL, so there would be no missing pages or 404s.
Implement Proper Redirects
Some content pointed to 302 redirects with long and messy redirect chains (2+), diluting their page rank. Our strategy was to replace all 302 redirects with permanent 301 redirects, and to remove messy chains to allow page rank to pass to the webpage.
Restore Missing Content
Content that previously drove traffic and ranked well in Google had been removed erroneously and, along with it, the traffic and page rank it once generated were lost. Our strategy was to restore this traffic by restoring the content that drove it.
Fix Broken Canonical Tags
During our crawl of our client’s websites, we discovered that canonical tags were implemented in a dangerous way that could have prevented Google from indexing all the sites. We resolved all the canonical tags on every page.
Organic search traffic increased by 56% within 6 months and has been steadily growing since then.
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