Organic traffic drop after a website redesign

Top 10 Reasons Organic Traffic Drops After a Website Redesign

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Organic traffic drop after a website redesign

A website redesign can be an exciting time for any business. It often promises a more modern look, improved functionality, and a better user experience. However, it’s not uncommon to notice a drop in organic traffic post-redesign. Here are the top ten reasons why this might happen.

1. Changes in URL Structure

If your website’s URL structure changes during the redesign and the old URLs aren’t correctly redirected to the new ones, search engines may struggle to index your site, leading to a drop in organic traffic.

2. Ignoring SEO During Redesign

SEO should be an integral part of the redesign process. If SEO factors like meta tags, keyword optimization, and content quality are overlooked, it could negatively impact your site’s search engine ranking and organic traffic.

3. Slow Page Load Speeds

A visually appealing design might come with hefty images and complex elements that slow down page load speeds. Since speed is a ranking factor, slower pages can lead to lower rankings and reduced organic traffic.

4. Removal of High-Traffic Pages

If high-traffic pages are removed or their content significantly altered during the redesign, there could be a significant drop in traffic. Always consider the performance of existing pages before making drastic changes.

5. Poor Mobile Optimization

With mobile searches dominating today’s internet usage, having a mobile-optimized site is crucial. If your redesigned website is not mobile-friendly, you could see a decrease in organic traffic.

6. Lack of XML Sitemap Update

An XML sitemap helps search engines understand the structure of your site. If the sitemap isn’t updated after a redesign, search engines might have difficulty crawling and indexing your site, which could affect your organic traffic.

7. Inadequate Internal Linking

Internal linking helps search engines understand the relationship between different pages on your site. If the redesign disrupts your internal linking structure, it could confuse search engines and negatively impact your SEO.

8. Changes to Robots.txt File

The robots.txt file instructs search engine bots on which pages to crawl or ignore. If this file is incorrectly configured during the redesign, it could prevent search engines from indexing your site, leading to a drop in organic traffic.

9. Ignoring User Experience (UX)

A good UX is essential for keeping visitors on your site. If the redesign leads to a confusing navigation, poor readability, or frustrating user interface, visitors might leave quickly, increasing your bounce rate and reducing your organic traffic.

10. Not Using 301 Redirects Correctly

301 redirects guide visitors and search engines from your old pages to the new ones. If these aren’t used correctly during a redesign, it could result in broken links and lost “link juice,” both of which can hurt your SEO and decrease organic traffic.


Google’s John Mueller was asked if there is a way to prevent search traffic loss while launching a new website revamp. This specific case has URL changes with folders and subfolders. John Mueller was quick to say no; there is no way to prevent loss of traffic.

Gary Illyes said something similar earlier this year, saying if you redesign your site, your rankings may go nuts. John also said earlier that website design changes often lead to content changes, even if that is not your intent.

This is not to say you shouldn’t redesign and improve your site – you should – as should I.

How long will it take for my search traffic to recover after a website redesign?

You can typically expect your organic traffic to take a dip after a new website launch, but it should recover in at least 3-4 weeks. During this time, Google crawlers are doing their job and looking into all the updates we mentioned — and more. However, it all depends on the web pages, the amount of backlinks pointing to the pages, and if 301 redirects are in place. From our experience, some high traffic web pages that had millions of backlinks and a URL change, took 6 to 8 weeks to recover. 

In conclusion, while a website redesign can offer many benefits, it’s important to approach it with an SEO-focused strategy to avoid losing organic traffic. By understanding these potential pitfalls, you can ensure a smoother transition and maintain your website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results.

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