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  • #995307
    missile
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    Hi,
    I’m hoping to get some advice. I implemented a new web design for my site GrubFinder at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately I have seen a 50% decrease in traffic since then. I really have no idea why.

    I am now needing to make an upgrade to WordPress which is going to mean changing my url structure (due to technical issues). I will obviously implement url redirects from the old url to the new one, but I wanted to check if anyone thinks this will have further impact on my traffic – which I really can’t afford to do since it has already dropped so much.

    My current url structure is http://www.grubfinder.com.au/sa/clay_coal_indian_restaurant
    The new structure needs to be : http://www.grubfinder.com.au/takeaway/ name>

    The state needs to be replaced with any static value. Takeaway to make the most sense to me.

    Any thoughts on this new url structure?
    Also, if anyone thinks they have any insights on what may have caused my decline in traffic please also jump in.

    Thanks in advance.

    #1201080
    Corey
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    Hiya and welcome,

    Locating a takeaway restaurant @ Sylvania in NSW was challenging…your navigation could be improved.

    Plus if you are going to run G ads you are required to have a Privacy Policy it is apart of their Terms and Conditions.

    Cheers
    Corey

    #1201081
    missile
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    Thanks Corey. I have a privacy page. It must have dropped out the navigation during the upgrade. I have added it back.

    Would you mind elaborating on how you found the navigation challenging? I would be really interested to hear.
    Thanks

    #1201082
    Corey
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    ok, if I go http://www.grubfinder.com.au/

    scroll down to

    By Suburb

    click on NSW Suburbs
    Scroll down to try and find – (Would be good if there was the Alphabet listing)
    Sylvania

    Cheers
    Corey

    #1201083
    missile
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    Ah — those links were put in the footer purely to get my suburb listing pages picked up by google. That wouldn’t be a great experience.

    If you enter your suburb into the location search field right in the header of the page you should have a much better experience.
    The search page also has the same location field.

    #1201084
    Concept
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    Unfortunately, you will lose a small amount of traffic when implementing 301 redirects (you are redirecting from old URLs to the new ones?!?!). It can’t be helped.

    More details here:
    https://moz.com/blog/accidental-seo-tests-how-301-redirects-are-likely-impacting-your-brand

    #1201085
    Azyrus
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    Hi Missile,

    In your case, the positive effects of properly structured URLs can outweigh any negative effects from 301 redirects if done correctly.

    Google have a strong emphasis on local search especially for businesses such as takeaways e.t.c. hence their work on the Google places.

    The URLs should reflect proper categorisation of the listings. This comes back to the site development E.g. http://www.grubfinder.com.au/sa/cumberland_park/indian/clay_coal_indian_restaurant/ which is in the category South Australia of the subcategory Cumberland Park. I’d even look at going a step further and having categories for the type of takeaway e.g. Chinese, Thai, Pizza, Indian. Besides the content on the page in my experience this is one of the most if not the most important factor for ranking directory listings.

    With the above structure a visitor should be able to navigate to any part of the categorisation through the breadcrumbs.

    The logical sense is a customer is looking for a particular meal e.g. Pizza or Thai and they want to see all the local Pizza businesses in the suburb.

    Google is very good at understanding categorisation and URL structure. I’ve implemented these types of URL structures with excellent success and high rankings.

    Google will be more likely to rank the category “Indian” when a user searches “Cumberland Park Indian” over an individual business listing as the content is stronger, more regularly updated and dynamic.

    #1201086
    JohnW
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    Hi Missile,
    Very difficult to give accurate info on before and after when we don’t have much “before” info to go on.

    I had a quick look at your old site on the Wayback machine and a brief look at your new design.

    I think your lost SE traffic is a combination of these factors:

    • Poor SE robot pathways
    • Missing city search landing pages
    • Missing restaurant category landing pages
    • Missing restaurant category by location landing pages
    • SE-unfriendly site structure
    • SE-unfriendly page design
    • Inability to funnel external link juice
    • Poorly controlled user generated content

    I expect people will be searching with a combination of location words and restaurant type words.

    With an Aust-wide restaurant site, that should result in thousands of different pages that list all (or a certain number) of the restaurants of a cuisine type in and around the target town/suburb/city.

    Let me call them collectively “index” pages. Index pages invariably rank higher in SEs than individual restaurant pages.

    If I google, chinese takeaway Penrith, I get food directory pages like these:

    If one of these pages drops down the ranking results, the site owner only has to increase the number of restaurants listed per page to boost its ranking in the results. I’ve seen Yellow Pages increase its business listings per page from 10 to 50+ over the years for this specific reason.

    Your old site had index pages for major regions within capital cities. I’m sure their omission on the new site will have caused a major SE referral drop.

    I don’t see on your new site:

    • any location index pages
    • any cuisine type index pages
    • any location by cuisine type index pages

    I have a sneaky suspicion that your links to individual restaurant pages are not SE robot-friendly. That will kill you.

    As a result, I had trouble identifying clear and permanent robot pathways into your site and no evidence of you attempting to show Google that you have any pages that are more important than others on your site.

    That will waste the value of external links that will invariably go to your Home page.

    Your new site URL naming limitations will hurt but they are only part of your problems.

    You want to look at how Yellow Pages structures its site landing pages, robot pathways and URL structures. It is all hidden in a very obscure link at the bottom right-hand corner of the Home page under the Apple and Google Play logos with the link text, “Site Index”.

    YP will take the SE robots down pathways to URLs named as: http://www.yellowpages.com.au/find/restaurants/sydney-nsw

    Each one of these thousands of restaurant location pages will also qualify for search phrases that include 36 different cuisine types and 22 different dining style types.

    You also need to put thought into how, what user content data fields you collect and use for content, links, link text, , meta description, image alt tags, etc.</p> <p>SEO for large, user generated directory sites requires totally different structures and planning than a small site where the site owner can manage the content.</p> <p>I have just been on this lost SE referral journey with a directory site client in a different market.</p> <p>His old site tried to do all this with WordPress and his SE traffic fell out of the sky.</p> <p>He was eventually convinced that what he needed was beyond the capability of WordPress and he upgraded to Drupal. The new site has only been live for 2 weeks but early signs are of SE traffic recovery.</p> <p>Other major factors for you will likely be page layout and design. I don’t see much SE-friendliness in your current page layout and design.</p> <p>Hope this helps.<br /> Regs,<br /> JohnW

    #1201087
    Natalie Khoo
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    Hi Missile! Are you sure your decrease in web traffic was due to the web redesign? Without seeing the old one, it’s hard to tell whether your current site is better or worse for SEO. What I can suggest, however, is that perhaps there are more competitors online since you launched this site – and/or people are going straight to delivery apps like Uber Eats than looking up individual restaurants online? If you want to improve SEO it might be worth considering putting more effort into social media, getting customer reviews, blogging etc – these are content marketing efforts external to your site that will have a positive impact on your ranking. Good luck! Let me know if you have any specific questions.

    #1201088
    JohnW
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    Hi Missile,
    A little more explanation on why/how your new Home page design and site structure is killing your SE referrals…

    This is the Wayback Machine’s copy of the Grubfinder Home page as of Jul 2015:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20150723072435/http://www.grubfinder.com.au/

    From a search ranking perspective the key points of difference between the old and new site structure / Home page is that there were a bunch of links to pages that listed restaurants by cities on the old site that no longer exist on the new.

    Here is how that hurts your new site SE referrals:

    1. The site’s Home page no longer qualifies for ANY search phrases that include any of these location words:

    Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, Gold Coast, Darwin, Barossa Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula

    Those location word omissions must have killed a lot of SE referrals.

    2. Your new site design/structure has also killed your Google ranking for every search phrase that includes any of these location words.

    While your new site has restaurant pages based on location, they are buried in your site somwhere and it looks like they have completely lost any chance of a PageRank score.

    Google calls an important ranking factor, PageRank. This is the value it places on the external links to your Home page. Your PageRank “score” coming into your Home page is apportioned across your internal links from it. On your old site, the design passed PageRank to the various city index pages that it listed.

    The new site gives no PageRank to any location index pages so all of them will have dropped up to hundreds of thousands of places in the search results.

    Another reason for lost SE traffic.

    3. No permanent site structure for location OR type of cuisine pages

    This is how Google “read” your current Home page on the 11 Sep 16:
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:LL4WmyYmUI4J:www.grubfinder.com.au/&num=1&hl=en&gl=au&strip=1&vwsrc=0

    The only permanent links are to:

    • Submit Listing
    • About GrubFinder
    • FAQs
    • Terms & Conditions
    • Privacy
    • Contact

    These pages are irrelevant to your searchers. In an ideal world, you would not want to waste any PageRank on them.

    Links to takeaway pages: On 11 Sep you were telling G to share your PageRank between pages for:

    • Asian, Japanese, Sushi
    • Asian, Indonesian
    • Burgers, Gourmet Burgers
    • Indian
    • Mexican
    • Asian, Japanese, Sushi

    In 5 days, you have already changed your Home page cuisine type links and Seafood and Spanish are now top of your food chain.

    That means you are constantly “telling” G to change what pages to share your PageRank with. As links to cuisine type pages are deleted from the Home page, they will lose the value of their previous PageRank score.

    As one cuisine group page gets boosted, another will lose its PageRank and fall down the search results. The end result is that you won’t get any consistency in search ranking results.

    That’s three strikes against your new site’s SE traffic.

    4. Irrelevant Home page content for users

    Your nearest featured Home page restaurant to me is 300 km away.

    The first relevant information parameter for takeaway restaurants users is location. You link to cuisine types from your Home page not location.

    There is no type of cuisine in the world that would entice me to drive 300 km for it and they sure as hell won’t deleiver to me – not hot, anyway.

    Your current display of “Recent Listings” is an information irrelevancy to any human. Give us quick links to restaurants by location, then by cuisine and you will give your visitors useful info. At the same time you can show permanent pathways that will pass PageRank to your most important pages.
    Good luck,
    JohnW

    #1201089
    missile
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    Thanks for all the advice. I am working my way through it.
    I have lots of my regions and suburb links listed in my xml sitemap, but I am no longer linking to them from the home page.

    On the updated version of my site (which is just a WordPress upgrade), that I will launch as soon as I fix my url problem, I have linked to the most popular regions on the home page.

    I have also gone through and deleted all the suburbs in the sitemap xml that did not return any results. I have worked out that each time my traffic dropped, there was also a reported change to Google around that time.

    I will see what I can do with the urls. I just changed from Drupal to WordPress – and it was much easier in Drupal.

    Thanks a lot

    #1201090
    JohnW
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    chaase, post: 238719, member: 47813 wrote:
    Google’s Gary Illyes confirms that any 301, 302, 3xx redirect does not lose any PageRank value.

    http://searchengineland.com/google-no-pagerank-dilution-using-301-302-30x-redirects-anymore-254608
    Hi Chaase,
    With respect, what Illyes said about redirects is not relevant to this case. He is talking about redirecting PageRank of external links to internal site pages that no longer exist. That’s what redirects are for.

    In this case we are talking about the 90% of total external links that go to the site’s Home page. The new site’s Home page still exists. You cannot redirect external links to a page that still exists.

    The old site is unlikely to have had external links to the location pages therefore there will be no direct external PageRank links to redirect with the new site.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1201091
    missile
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    • Total posts: 32
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    Hi. Just to give you an update. I had to change my URL structure. It is now http://www.grubfinder.com.au/restaurant/wa/chilli-farms-restaurant

    All the old URLs (Eg. http://www.grubfinder.com.au/wa/chilli-farms-restaurant) have 301 redirects

    Unfortunately traffic has dropped another 23-25%
    Unknowingly I once again did the change around the time a major Google update was rolling out (Penguin), so I’m not sure what caused the drop in traffic.

    I’m working on some new features that hopefully will get people intentionally coming back to the site and make it not so reliant on Google.

    #1201092
    JohnW
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    missile, post: 239643, member: 11694 wrote:
    Hi. Just to give you an update. I had to change my URL structure. It is now http://www.grubfinder.com.au/restaurant/wa/chilli-farms-restaurant

    All the old URLs (Eg. http://www.grubfinder.com.au/wa/chilli-farms-restaurant) have 301 redirects

    Unfortunately traffic has dropped another 23-25%
    Unknowingly I once again did the change around the time a major Google update was rolling out (Penguin), so I’m not sure what caused the drop in traffic.

    I’m working on some new features that hopefully will get people intentionally coming back to the site and make it not so reliant on Google.
    Hi Missile,
    IMHO, a forum cannot give you the level of detailed SEO advice you need.

    Asking our opinions about URL naming conventions is but one of hundreds of issues you need to address.

    Of themselves URL naming conventions are insignificant. It is the totality of how the hundreds of ranking elements combine together on your site that matters.

    Problem 1:
    Your service description byline is: “Australian takeaway menus”.

    What are your primary search words? Are they “restaurant” or “takeaway” and should it be “take away” or both? Should “menu” be a primary word? I don’t know because I’ve not done any research.

    Get this issue sorted first!

    You ask us about the naming convention for the URL: grubfinder.com.au/restaurant/wa/chilli-farms-restaurant

    All I can tell you is that it works against your ranking for searchers who use the words in your service description. (“takeaway”, “take away” and/or “menu”)

    Problem 2:
    Define your key search method landing pages.

    If you are serious about becoming a financially viable vertical business directory you need to consider the different search methods people will use and the pages you will publish for these different search method users.

    When I go to the Chilli Farm restaurant page then back track in its breadcrumb links to: Home > WA > Perth > Northern Suburbs, your “Perth, Northern Suburbs” page totally ignores most SEO ranking issues.

    These types of pages should be generating large quantities of your generic SE referrals and there should be thousands of them.

    Have you looked at how G “sees” these types of your pages?
    Go here to see how G viewed this page in text format on 7 Oct.

    Your page shows 24 take-away restaurants on the page. G shows NONE. Either your page is out of date or G can’t read your page.

    Problem 3:
    Perhaps this should be problem “#1”.

    IMHO, you are likely tackling a project beyond the capapbility of WordPress. Yes, I know it has a directory capability but it seems to be very limited. The last business directory client to whom I suggested he explore other CMSs tried to make his directory work on WP for 3 years before he rebuilt it in another CMS.

    IMHO, seeking SEO advice about a large vertical business directory is way beyond the experience you may expect from a small business forumm.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1201093
    missile
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    Thanks John once again for your time.

    GrubFinder is just a hobby of mine that I spend time on when not at my real job. I have used it to learn about Drupal and WordPress and over time I have learnt about SEO through trial and error. It hasn’t been set up with SEO in mind and I am gradually doing what I can. I have still learnt a lot from this forum, and I’m more interested in learning what to do – even if I get it wrong, than hiring someone to fix it all up for me.

    I initially used Drupal – which was much easier for some things. WordPress has been easier for others.

    I am working on getting new urls working. It is almost there.

    • grubfinder.com.au/takeaway/state/suburb-name – will return everything for each suburb
    • grubfinder.com.au/takeaway/state/suburb-name/pizza – will return all pizza places for each suburb etc.
    • grubfinder.com.au/restaurant/state/name – will be the individual restaurant
    • grubfinder.com.au/restaurant/state/name/menu – will link direct to the menu page for a restaurant

    I also added a thumbnail image of the menu to hopefully improve the quality of the content rather than just linking direct to the pdf.

    You are right though. This may be better.
    grubfinder.com.au/takeaways/state/suburb-name – will return everything for each suburb
    grubfinder.com.au/takeaway/state/restaurant-name – will be the individual restaurant
    grubfinder.com.au/takeaway/state/restaurant-name/menu

    I have used ‘Fetch as Google’ in Webmaster tools to check how google sees the pages.
    It seems to be really inconsistent.

    http://www.grubfinder.com.au/sa/colonel-light-gardens-takeaway
    A few minutes ago Google could see all the restaurants being returned.
    A few minutes later and it shows Google seeing 0 results for the same page.
    I’m not sure what is going on there.

    Thanks again for your help.
    I will just keep trying things when I get the time and see what happens.

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