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Pageviews dropped by 50% after redesign, but sessions remain constant

Help me to understand drop in pageviews

     
11:26 am on Oct 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Hi All,

We have a well established information portal type site which has been online pretty much since the start of the web.

Back in November 2015 we completely redesigned the site and moved from a custom CMS written in the early 2000's to Umbraco. Since then (pretty much overnight) we've seen a ~50% reduction in pageviews (which seem to have come mostly from organic searches) while other metrics such as sessions, users and average time on site have remained constant or increased. Since the income on the site comes from advertising, pageviews is an important KPI for us.

All the content (10,000's of pages) was successfully migrated across and proper redirects were setup to map the old urls to the new structure from day 1.

Can anyone offer any insight or methods of analysis which may shed some light on this?

The only thing I can think is that the number of indexed pages has dropped by around 65% (in Google at least), while the number of actual content pages hasn't changed - in fact its growing as 20 - 50 new pages get added each week. One issue is that the "old" site never sent a 404 header for not found pages. Instead it would redirect to the homepage appending the filename to the url and returning a 200 code. These pages (along with every search ever conducted on the site and most server errors in a similar manner) were then indexed. Could this be a contributing factor in the drop in traffic?

Thanks.
12:10 pm on Oct 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Just to be sure, have you verified that your analytics code appears on all the new pages?
12:36 pm on Oct 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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That'd be fairly embarrassing, wouldn't it? :)

Fairly confident that's not the case, but now checking.
2:12 pm on Oct 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Checked the whole site and can confirm every page has analytics tracking code correctly installed (apart from our 3 RSS feeds - but they weren't tracked before).
2:35 pm on Oct 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Have you looked at the behavior flow report in analytics to see if there any pages that stand out as problematic?

In analytics, left side bar -> Behavior / Behavior flow. Be sure to pick a large enough time span eg: 1 month.

Also from a revenue perspective. Have you seen a drop in revenue? Has your CTR or CPC changed? Also, what is the traffic mix mobile vs desktop, has that changed?
 

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