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Re: Concern with sites being hosted on Webflow / SEO


#1

Hey @Waldo

Thanks for responding via the support ticket and suggesting I move this to the forum to get more help from yourself and experts within the community.

For the purposes of the forum thread, here is my original message:

A few months ago I deployed a clients website (https://www.beckenham-beauty.co.uk) onto Webflow. It was ultimately just a cosmetic change, ensuring the content/page slugs and meta data were all the same. For the past 8 years, my client has enjoyed the number 1 spot on Google with no deviation in ranking. Since being on Webflow the rankings have dropped dramatically and some are no were near the top 5 pages on Google.
Here is a list of things that were done on launch to try to ensure the SEO stayed at the top:

  1. Content the same
  2. Meta title & description the same
  3. Page slug kept the same
  4. The site was set-up on Cloudflare for faster loads/performance
  5. Google updated with Webflow sitemap

My concern is that in the next couple of weeks I am about to deploy a big corporate clients website and the ultimate goal of moving the rest of our 5,000+ clients onto Webflow. A high percentage also enjoy high SEO rankings

Has something like this been brought to you in the past and was there any changes that were made that rectified the drop in SEO?

The differences in the old website and new website:

  1. The site was originally on non-SSL hosting.
  2. It is now being sent through Cloudflare

The website has been on Webflow hosting for approximately 3 months. I have moved the website twice before the old website and each time rankings were unchanged.

Has anyone else experienced a similar drop in rankings moving over to Webflow hosting, and was any fundamental changes made that boosted your site back up again?

To be honest, I cannot see why it would drop in comparison as the old website was running on concrete5 cms and was slow, the site is now very fast.


#4

What did they rank #1 for? Need to know that to even attempt to diagnose the problem.


#5

Hi @jmw

Of course. The rankings were based on the following categories and keywords

Spray Tanning

  1. Spray Tanning in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)
  2. Mobile Spray Tanning Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)
  3. Spray Tans near me
  4. Beckenham Spray Tanning (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)
  5. Spray Tanning Parties in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)

Manicures

  1. Manicures in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)
  2. Mobile Manicures in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)
  3. Manicures near me
  4. Manicure Treatments in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)

Pedicures

  1. Pedicures in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)
  2. Mobile Pedicures in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)
  3. Pedicures near me
  4. Pedicure Treatments in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)

Eyelash Extensions

  1. Eyelash Extensions in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)
  2. Mobile Eyelash Extensions in Beckenham (also Bromley, Orpington, Bexleyheath & other surrounding areas)
  3. Eyelash Extensions near me

As you can see my client is a local business to Beckenham, therefore targets the local areas / keywords.


#6

Hi @JamieBrown, another question, how exactly are you using Cloudflare with Webflow? Normallly to take advantage of Webflow hosting the DNS only option should be used, as opposed to DNS + Proxy option.

When the DNS + Proxy option is used in Cloudflare, the site is not fully connected to Webflow and if some other redirects are masking of url is used on the domain, that can account for an SEO hit.


#7

As an SEO person


Just checking 1 keyphrase (Pedicures in Beckenham)
I found the site on page 2.


FYI - SSL Error on Site Load.


30 AM


#8

Hi @Revolution, strange, when I try that, I am getting a secure site, can you copy that exact page url?

Now when I look at the www dns settings, I see that the cname record which should be pointing to proxy-ssl.webflow.com is not pointing at Webflow: https://cl.ly/3Z3h0K1q3m2X. That is one issue, the site will not get served ssl properly and the DNS records in Cloudflare probably need updating.

Also, the A Records on the root domain are not pointed at Webflow either, so the domain is totally unlinked from Webflow: https://cl.ly/1V0l151v342q

it looks like the DNS + Proxy option is enabled on the A Record/cname records in Cloudflare and should be changed to DNS only.


#9

@Revolution / @cyberdave, the SSL error was me, it should be ok now.

@revolution - I have done a ton of work over the past week on pedicure and manicure keywords which could be the reason it is now on page 2 of Google.

@cyberdave, you are right, the CloudFlare set-up was with the proxy enabled as well.

The reason that I messed up the SSL is I was trying to turn the proxy off as well as the CloudFlare SSL certificate they provide. I set the DNS up properly but was getting an error with the site (which is the same error @revolution was seeing).

If the issue is, in fact, the proxy then that is a big sigh of relief for me.

Going to try switching it off again


#10

Ok I have now disconnected the proxy, removed the CloudFlare SSL, and pointed to the Webflow SSL A records / CNAME. Webflow is giving me the thumbs up and the site is showing as would expect.

I thought I was doing a good thing with moving the nameservers to CloudFlare and utilising the caching and proxying…I should just leave things alone :smile:


#11

Have your rankings recovered? Have you run anything like Screaming Frog or Deepcrawal to look for errors?

An SSL switch alone can cause a drop in rankings.

Google’s advice (straight from Gary Illyes at BrightonSEO):when doing an SSL switch, only switch the URLs. Do not change structure and navigation at the same time, which could lead to new URLs changing, and more ‘complicated’ 301 redirects.

I think he also mentions in that talk the average recovery time when switching from non-SSL to SSL. That being said, I have switched sites with more than 5k pages and seen no impact. Those were not on Webflow, though.

Something else to be aware of for SEO ongoing is crawl budget. It’s probably not such a concern for small sites that are on shared hosting anyway, but if you are moving from a dedicated server to a cloud-hosted service like Webflow, it is possible that crawl budget can come into play.

When it comes to technical SEO, you are always going to be at a slight disadvantage if you do not have access to the server. To truly scrutinise an issue like this, you need access to log files, which AFAIK you can’t get from Webflow. For small sites this isn’t so much of an issue, but it is something to consider if you are switching big clients over.

Feel free to DM me if there is anything technical SEO you want to talk over.