7 Website Redesign Mistakes Destroying SEO Campaigns

website redesign mistakes destroying seo campaigns

Last Modified: 10/09/2023

Table Of Contents

  • SEO Impact Of Redesigning Your Website
    • Positive Impacts
    • Negative Impacts
  • 7 Website Redesign Mistakes Destroying SEO Campaigns
    • Ignoring 301 Redirects
    • Bulk Redirects To The Homepage
    • Overlooking Metadata
    • Removing Content Without Assessing SEO Performance
    • Mobile Unfriendliness
    • Forgetting Analyitcs
    • Blocking Search Engines Post-Launch
  • Summary

SEO Impact of Redesigning Your Website 

A website redesign can be an exciting venture, packed with the promise of a modern look and enhanced user experience. However, don’t let the allure of a shiny new interface blind you to the potential SEO pitfalls lurking beneath the surface. 

While website redesigns can be a very positive thing for your SEO campaign, you must be aware of the negative impacts as well.

Positive Impacts

Better User Experience: Modern, clean designs can reduce bounce rates and improve user engagement, both of which are signals that can positively impact SEO.

Keyword Refresh: A website redesign is an excellent occasion to update and refine your keyword strategy, including the targeting of low-hanging fruit keywords that offer easier ranking opportunities and quick SEO gains.

Content Relevance: Refreshing the content during the redesign can help ensure that the copy and on-page content effectively target your primary and secondary keywords and follow best SEO practices.

Technical SEO: A redesign is an opportunity to improve site architecture, meta tags, and other technical elements that are good for SEO. See more about why technical SEO is important.

Improved Site Speed: A redesign can provide the opportunity to optimize images, leverage browser caching, and improve site speed, which is a ranking factor.

Mobile Responsiveness: Updating the design to be mobile-friendly can improve user experience and SEO. Google uses mobile-first indexing, so this is crucial.

Security: Migrating to HTTPS during a redesign will not only secure your website but also provide a slight ranking boost.

Negative Impacts

Loss of Existing Rankings: Changing URLs, structure, or removing pages can lead to a loss of existing SEO rankings if not properly managed.

Broken Links: Redesigning can lead to internal and external broken links, which are bad for SEO.

Duplicate Content: Duplicate content issues are very common in redesigns. New design templates might introduce duplicate content issues, which could dilute keyword relevance and ranking strength.

Longer Load Time: If the new design is heavy with large image files, scripts, or complex CSS, it can slow down your site.

Cost: The financial and labor costs of redesigns could divert resources from other SEO efforts.

Domain Authority Restart: Changing your domain while redesigning your website can reset your Domain Authority, which may result in lower search rankings and reduced organic traffic.

Given the potential for positive and negative impacts, a website redesign should be carefully planned and executed, especially when preserving and enhancing SEO efforts.

7 Website Redesign Mistakes Destroying SEO Campaigns

Over my years in the SEO realm, I’ve encountered several clients who’ve taken the ambitious step of undergoing a website redesign. The intent? A rejuvenated digital presence, better user experience, or adapting to the latest trends. The outcomes, however, haven’t always been as rosy as anticipated. 

I’ve had clients come to me, bewildered by the sudden drop in their SEO rankings after a redesign. Upon investigation, I found several layers of SEO were ignored.

Here are the 10 most common website redesign mistakes that destroy SEO campaigns:

1) Ignoring 301 Redirects

Picture this: you move your established brick-and-mortar store to a new location without informing your loyal customers. In the digital landscape, neglecting 301 redirects during a website overhaul has a similar effect.

When you alter a site’s structure, URLs often change. Without 301 redirects guiding users and search engines from the old URLs to the new ones, you risk losing built-up SEO value, increasing bounce rates, and eroding user trust.

Another significant casualty of ignoring redirects is the loss of valuable links. When these backlinks lead to dead ends, they not only disrupt user experience but also send negative signals to search engines. Over time, this can erode the trustworthiness and authority of your domain in the eyes of search algorithms, leading to a decline in rankings.

In essence, by overlooking 301 redirects during a redesign, you risk forfeiting a significant portion of your site’s accumulated SEO value. 

2) Bulk Redirects To The Homepage

Using bulk redirects to the homepage during a website redesign is a practice that, while seemingly straightforward, can wreak havoc on your site’s SEO.

When users expect to land on specific content but instead find themselves on the homepage, they’re likely to get frustrated. This disruption in the user journey can increase bounce rates. 

By redirecting every old page to the homepage, you’re essentially telling search engines that all those diverse, previously indexed pages have the same content as the homepage. This dilutes the relevance of individual pages, potentially causing a drop in rankings for specific search queries.

Additionally, if your older pages have acquired valuable backlinks over time, redirecting them all to the homepage disperses that link equity. 

Another reason to avoid this practice is that search engines might interpret bulk redirects as an attempt to manipulate SEO. This can lead to prolonged or inaccurate indexing.

3) Overlooking Metadata

Overlooking metadata during a website redesign is like publishing a book without a title, author name, or synopsis on the cover. Metadata, which includes elements like meta titles, descriptions, and tags, plays a pivotal role in how search engines understand and rank your content, as well as how potential visitors perceive it in search results.

When metadata is overlooked during website redesigns, it can revert to generic settings, leading to unprofessional title tags such as ‘Home – ABC Company’ and absent meta descriptions, both diminishing the site’s SEO value and credibility in search results.

Meta titles and descriptions act as your website’s “ad copy” in search engine results. A well-crafted meta description can entice users to click on your link, whereas a missing or poorly written one can deter potential visitors. 

Meta titles also help search engines understand the primary topic of a page. Overlooking or misrepresenting this can lead to reduced relevance in search queries, causing your page to rank lower for its target keywords.

Metadata can also assist browsers and other web services deliver a better user experience. For instance, the Open Graph tags help define how your content appears when shared on social platforms. Overlooking this can result in unattractive or unclear content previews.

4) Removing Content Without Assessing SEO Performance

Another common mistake during redesigns is the removal of content without assessing its SEO value.

Pages that have been part of your site for a long time often carry significant SEO value, gained through backlinks, user engagement, and keyword rankings. Deleting these pages without proper consideration can result in a direct loss of these rankings and the associated organic traffic.

Specific pages with strong SEO traffic are pivotal assets for a website. If considering changes, it’s wise to either retain these high-performing pages or, if necessary, implement a precise 301 redirect strategy to transfer their SEO value seamlessly and maintain organic visibility.

5) Mobile Unfriendliness

The surge in mobile device usage has prompted search engines, notably Google, to prioritize mobile-friendly websites. 

Mobile-First Indexing is a prime example of this shift: Google now primarily uses the mobile version of content for indexing and ranking. As a result, any website redesign that overlooks mobile-friendliness is effectively sidelining a significant portion of its potential audience, which can have severe repercussions for SEO.

A site that’s challenging to navigate on mobile, has slow loading times or features unresponsive design elements can lead to user frustration. This, in turn, can result in higher bounce rates. Such engagement metrics are vital signals for search engines.

Tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can be invaluable in assessing and refining mobile optimization.

6) Forgetting Analytics

Analytics act as the pulse-check of a website, providing insights into user behavior, content performance, and overall site health. 

If a newly designed page has a significantly higher bounce rate or lower average time on page than its predecessor, it could indicate issues with its layout, content, or functionality that may be adversely affecting user experience.

By contrasting new data with pre-redesign analytics, you can identify both successful modifications and areas that might need re-evaluation.

Additionally, when keyword performance isn’t tracked, potential declines in rankings might go unnoticed, leading to reduced organic visibility and traffic. 

7) Blocking Search Engines Post-launch

As sites undergo development or redesign, it’s typical for developers to add “no-index” tags or directives in the robots.txt file to prevent search engines from indexing the website prematurely. This ensures that incomplete or test pages don’t appear in search results.

However, when these blocks are left in place post-launch, they can wreak havoc on the website’s SEO performance.

Blocking search engine access means that the site or specific pages won’t appear in search results at all. If a site previously held valuable rankings, these will be rapidly lost, leading to a significant drop in organic traffic. 

Beyond the immediate loss of traffic, another concern is the diminishing of domain authority. As search engines can’t access or index the content, the site loses its relevancy in the eyes of these search engines.

Regular visitors or customers who typically find the site through search might wonder why it’s no longer appearing in their usual search results. This could raise questions about the website’s credibility or reliability, potentially pushing users toward competitors.


Website redesigns, while intended to elevate user experience and modern aesthetics, walk a fine line between enhancing and potentially undermining SEO campaigns. 

If executed without precision, redesigns can introduce pitfalls, such as neglecting mobile optimization or sidestepping key analytics. 

However, when approached thoughtfully, a redesign can significantly boost SEO. Properly executed changes can rejuvenate site structure, improve page load speeds, and optimize content for evolving keyword trends. Make sure to avoid these 7 Website Redesign Mistakes Destroying SEO Campaigns.

In essence, while redesigns come with challenges, they also present opportunities: the key lies in balancing aesthetic upgrades with meticulous SEO considerations to ensure overall digital growth.