Affiliate Blog Traffic recovery after fixing Technical SEO Error

Case Study

Affiliate SEO traffic recovery

Here’s a full story of this big drop from the attached screenshot.

Website Type: Affiliate Blog

Platform: WordPress

This single traffic drop cost this business a month of revenue plus other additional costs to fix them.

This client was running an affiliate blog and learned SEO on his own to grow traffic and revenue.

Everything was smooth until he realized his website load time could be improved further.

He started checking what could be improved on his own, and the first thing he did was update “WordPress, themes, and plugins”.

After updating themes and plugins and configuring a cache plugin, he saw a good score on Google Page Speed Tool.

But within a week, no. of pages in the google index started to increase, but his traffic started to drop.

When checked in detail, he saw many archive pages were indexed on google that was not there before and had no value, and pages that were ranking in the top #3 were leading to 404.

At that point, he realized things were getting out of his hand and needed an SEO expert.

He reached out to me asking for help.

We had an hour-long conversation to find out the root cause behind all this mess.

The Google update was rolled out around the same time to make things more challenging.

We had no idea whether it was a google update or some technical errors that caused this drop.

After our conversation, I got some clues.

1. He updated the website (WordPress, themes, plugins)

2. It improved the speed (good)

3. Google Update rolled out(as usual)

4. He started losing the traffic (bad)

5. He started seeing unwanted pages(archive pages) on Google Index.

6. His top-ranking pages started to show 404

7. His top-ranking keywords started to lost from Google

8. He never had a child theme (recommended by WordPress)

The only “useful clue” for me was the last one, the site not having a child theme.

After analyzing one of the old backups, I saw a lot of customization was done directly on the parent theme(not recommended). Design changes, custom functions, and URL Redirects were coded in the parent theme. (Remember all the customizations needs to do on the WordPress child theme)

So updating the theme removed all those customizations and pulled back the default theme status.

It changed the URL structure and made all those ranking URLs 404.

The problem was complex, but I suggested a simple solution.

“Hey, let’s restore one of your old backups and observe for a week. “

He was too much worried about the traffic and ranking. He couldn’t convince himself of my suggestion.

“You’re an expert. Please suggest something else that fixes the problem faster.”

I explained everything in detail and asked him to calm down and wait for a week.

It was difficult for him, but he finally gave an “Okay.”

I restored the old backup and put the old site back, which was working fine.

His URL structure returned to normal, and his keywords started to recover after a few days.

Soon, all his traffic is back to normal.

But the problem wasn’t fully solved yet.

We had to update the WordPress theme, so I suggested hiring an experienced WordPress Developer and migrating all the customization to a child theme. (I could have done that on my own, but I decided to pass it on since its more of a web dev’s job than SEO)

📌 Moral of the Story:

– Always build an SEO plan before developing your website

– Don’t try to figure out everything on your own; consult an expert.

– Follow the best practice offered by the platform when developing a website, whether it’s WordPress, Shopify, or Webflow.

– Don’t touch anything that you are not familiar with. (if you can’t, then always work on a staging website in first place)

– Always have a regular backup of your website. 🙂

What my clients say

Take some time to read what business and agency owners say about my expertise and the experience they had while working with me. 

Rambabu was great to work with and very helpful throughout the process. He did exactly what he said he would do and in the time he said he would do it in. Can’t ask for anymore than that. I highly recommend his services and will definitely use him again.
Mark Peters Marketing
Mark Peters
Rambo was great. He fulfilled our expectations and completed the work on time. We already are seeing the results of his work and it was great working with Rambo. Highly recommend as he has a wealth of knowledge. We will be working with Rambo again in the near future.
Christopher Azzi, OZY
Chris Azzi
CMO, OZY Toolbox Centre
I've worked with Rambabu for over a year now on several websites and he's helped me get results with more traffic. In particular he's got a good understanding of Technical SEO.
Erin Stone, Stone Systems
Erin Stone
Founder, Stone Systems
Rambabu has a unique skill set that is cross between a web developer and a digital/performance marketer. He has a good grasp of the business needs and works for the end results.
Alper Cakir, Xtensio
Alper Cakir
Founder, Xtensio

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