SEO tanked after changing theme

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FlagsForGood
Tourist
4 0 1

Hey, everyone. 

I started my shop on the Boundless Theme. Google Search Console seemed to love it and really ranked me high on some important keywords. I recently changed my theme to Venture and it has TANKED my organic search. I looked at the metadata on the theme pages and it seems pretty similar. Could someone help me out?

You can clearly see when I switched themes. 

Screen Shot 2020-07-21 at 11.23.08 PM.png

flagsforgood.com is my store.

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vdhnat
Excursionist
21 2 11

Hey @FlagsForGood,

This is strange. Have you changed anything else besides the theme? Maybe your copy? Do you have no warnings in your Google Search Console?

It's pretty hard to tell without access to your Search Console or Shopify Admin.

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This is an accepted solution.

@FlagsForGood I admire this business idea so I spent the last 30 min looking into this issue for you. Thank you for the important work you're doing! 

First, it's important to know that any big changes to content, design, layout, page speed, internal linking, images, URLs, domain name, etc. can potentially affect which keywords you rank for and where. A theme switch can affect more than one of those factors, so I'm not at all surprised that your clicks and impressions took a nose dive. One or more aspects of your site that Google was familiar with and liked got ripped out from underneath them and they got confused and/or lost trust. 

If it were me and I had access to your Google Search Console data, I'd be using the date picker to compare two equal periods of time immediately before and after the day you flipped the switch. Like this...

KevinW_0-1595442862488.png

I'd recommend looking at clicks and impressions separately because that's the only way you'll see the Difference column. Sort this column from low-to-high and you'll immediately surface the queries/pages that lost the most clicks/impressions. This is a start, but this won't solve your problem. 

To fix your problem and get your rankings (and impressions and clicks) back to where they were pre-theme-switch, you'll need to use the findings from above to inform your investigation into what changed on the site. If for example, you discover that a particular product page is the source of the decline, and that page was linked to from the homepage pre-switch, but isn't post-switch, add it back to the homepage. On the other hand, if you discover that your URLs changed 

Also, I noticed that you're redirecting all URLs that begin with https://flagsforgood.com/collections/all/products/{product-handle}. This could be the problem, especially if you implemented these redirects at the same time you switched themes. 

Finally, can you confirm whether you switched from www > non-www, or http > https at the same time you switched themes? If so, you may just be looking at the wrong property in GSC. 

Thanks FlagsForGood!

Kevin Wallner // SEO & Analytics Expert
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FlagsForGood
Tourist
4 0 1

Thanks for all the replies!

I looked into it a little deeper on Google Search Console as some of you suggested (though it is still overwhelming to me and I don't understand most of it). It looks like the uptick shown was specifically one keyword, BLM Fist. I think on that date when I switched my theme, I also may have spelled out Black Lives Matter since I had more room to play with in the new theme. That may be the culprit. 

@KevinW, Thanks for the kind words! I am not sure how to fix the redirects you mentioned. That "all" collection is not really used on my site so that might be something the new theme created and I haven't configured. 

I have my domain property mapped to GSC. I think I have all versions www, http, etc. mapped under that. But can you or someone confirm that this makes it impossible to link to google analytics? I talked to google support and that is what they surmised after troubleshooting.

For anyone who sees this or helps out, please use FFG10 on FlagsForGood.com for 10% off to thank you for your help.

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@FlagsForGood I'm glad you were able to identify which keyword saw the big increase and subsequent decrease. Can you tell which specific URL(s) were ranking for that keyword?

And I think you're right... switching from "BLM" to "black lives matter" at the same time you switched themes may have contributed to the decline. I'd suggest using both versions interchangeably across the entire site, especially in your SEO page titles. For example, the page title for the "Black Lives Matter Flags" collection is "Black Lives Matter Flags," but you could cover both keywords if you updated it to "Black Lives Matter (BLM) Flags" or "Black Lives Matter - BLM Flags". To update the page title, make this update in the Search engine listing preview section, that way the title at the top of the actual collection page doesn't change (unless you want it to change too, in which case you should also change the name of the collection itself). Hope that makes sense! 

Remember though, theme switches affect lots of things, even if you don't change any words on the site, so there still could be other contributing factors. I've whipped up a quick 9 min video walking you through how to use GSC to continue diagnosing the cause. I also covered your question about the redirects and the domain property. Hope this helps! 

Kevin Wallner // SEO & Analytics Expert
- Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know!
- Was your question answered? Click Accept as Solution
- Ready to accelerate your SEO growth? Let's chat!
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FlagsForGood
Tourist
4 0 1

@KevinW, you're a legend man. Seriously. Thanks for the video and everything. That was super helpful AND you fixed my search console/analytics link. I just had the domain property but not the 4 unique URLs under it. I guess i just figured I didn't need them since the stats looked right. But by adding them, that allowed me to link analytics with search console now that those were there. Before it just didn't have any sites to link because I just had the domain property and nothing else. 

I'm gonna spend some time today doing what you said and optimizing my site. Thanks a million for your help. DM me if you want any of our flags. You deserve much more than a 10% discount.