For year, I've had my domain host a website I built from scratch with no direct ecommerce on it. I used the site to promote my products and provide links to where they could be purchased on Amazon. Well, I decided to change that this year, and so after months of preparation, on July 1, 2019, I turned off the old site and switched over to one built on the Shopify platform, allowing me to sell my products directly on it. It's been a great move except for one big problem: I've noticed I've lost a ton of organic traffic to the site.
Here's the google analytic report of the organic traffic from 1/1/2019 to today:
As you can see, I went from getting around 500 visits a day from organic searches on my homemade site to 150-200, starting on the day I turned on the Shopify site.
Does anyone out there have any idea what happened, and how I can rebuild my traffic back to the pre-Shopify numbers?
Thanks in advance for any input!
The platform has no effect, all websites are just a series of organized text characters (code).
I have some ideas:
- Your URL structure probably changed. Make sure you don't have broken links, and set up redirects all inbound links to link to the new pages.
- Look where the lost traffic is coming from. If it's organic, then it's probably SEO related. If it's referral traffic, it's probably broken link related.
- Make sure all of your previous content is moved over to the new site.
- Compare your title tags on the old site vs new site. Title tags are the main on-page SEO factor, so making sure those are dialed in is key.
- Compare your other SEO markers like alt attributes, keyword density, etc.
- Compare your site speed before vs after, and improve that as much as you can.
- Check your Google Search Console for any problems.
I shared some resources to help with those, plus some tips and tactics for Shopify here: speedboostr.com/seo-tools-and-tips.
With those resources plus ideas, that should give you plenty to start an investigation and find out exactly what caused this, plus help on solving that. If you have the budget you can just hire an SEO consultant (I'm not one but I have contacts). They'd be able to diagnose this specifically and create a detailed strategy to fix.
Hope those ideas help get your traffic back ✊
I guess, your website was hit by Google Search Engine Update since September. There have 3 Google Update happened this year such as Core Update on June, Another Core Update on July and last Google BERT on last October.
The platform has no effect? Doesn't the url structure form your second point potentially have great effect? Granted, I am an seo newb but it's what I am reading all the time as I wade my way through.
And books are just a bunch of letters and symbols:)
Hi M -
Sorry you are having this traffic issue - unfortunately it is pretty common when switching platforms. First off, this is not a Shopify issue. Shopify is one of the better ecomm platforms for SEO and there are plenty of sites that rank extremely well on Shopify.
With traffic taking a hit this quickly and dramatically after a cutover to a new platform, the most likely cause is not properly setting up redirects from your old URLs to your new URLs. Every url on your old site gained authority over time and Google ranked those pages according to their authority and content found on the site (including page titles).
When you switch to brand new URLs (even if the content is exactly the same), the authority for the new URLs effectively starts over and you have to rebuild. One of the primary things that builds authority is links from other pages on the web (internally from pages on your site, but more importantly from other websites). However, when 301 redirects are setup to point the old URL to the new URL, authority from the old URL passes to the new URL and can help the new URLs rank for similar queries as the old URLs.
To figure out if this was the issue first verify (if you haven't already) and login to Google Search Console (GSC). Once you are logged in, go to the Performance report. Go to the Page option and open your date range to show before and after you switched to Shopify. This will show you all the pages that were ranking and driving traffic on your old site.
Next go to the Coverage report. The first tab of the report is the error report. Look at this report to identify 404 issues - this will show all of the pages Google recently tried to crawl but could no longer access. Click into the 404 report and download the URLs. Import those URLs into Google Sheets/Excel.
Next, go into Google Analytics, go to the Behavior > Pages report using a date range 90 days before you switched to Shopify. Expand the report out to 5,000 so you capture all of the pages and download this report. Bring these into the same sheet as you pulled from GSC.
Then starting mapping the old URls to the new Shopify URls. I recommend using a Shopify app like Easy Redirects to setup bulk redirects. (BTW, I am no affiliated with this app - there are many others you could use as well).
Once you have setup the redirects, go into GSC and submit your homepage for reindexing. Make sure you submit your sitemap to GSC as well. This will help Google identify new URLs it may not be able to easily crawl.
It can take several weeks for Google to start associating the old URls with the new URls, but if this is the issue, you should start to move back up in rankings and start driving traffic back to your site.
I hope this helps - if you need more insights, it would be helpful if you could share your website to give you more specific direction.
This might be something you've already considered and a completely stupid question...
But are you still ranking for the same keywords as before and has your position for those keywords dipped over time?
I work with a good number of eCommerce sites so I should be able to help out.
Yes, you're right. If your URLs changed with the Shopify migration and they were not 301 redirected to the live site than that definitely could have impacted your traffic. Basically without redirecting, Google won't receive content and link signals as to where the new content is. I'd use a backlink tool like AHREFs or Moz to find URLs that are broken and redirect them. As well, you could use the Wayback Machine to find any other high priority old URLs.
Of course, there could be other issues, that's just the most common one I find in all the migrations I oversee. Let me know if you have any other migration questions I could help with!