News, Search Engine Optimisation, SEO

How a New Website Can Hurt Your SEO Rankings

Launching a new website is an exciting milestone for any business. It represents an opportunity to refresh your brand, enhance user experience, and showcase your products or services to a broader audience. However, amidst the excitement, it’s important to recognise that a new website launch can also impact your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rankings – sometimes for the worse. Here at Studio22 we understand the potential pitfalls that come with launching a new website and know actionable tips which will help you navigate the transition while safeguarding your SEO rankings. 

Understanding the Impact of a New Website on SEO Rankings

Launching a new website entails a series of changes that can significantly impact your SEO rankings. Here are some key factors to consider: 

Website Structure and Navigation

When you launch a new website, you often redesign its structure and navigation to improve user experience and make it more intuitive. While these changes may enhance usability, they can also affect how search engines crawl and index your site. If the new structure isn’t optimised for SEO, it may result in pages being buried too deep within the site hierarchy, making them harder for search engines to discover and rank. 

URL Structure

Changes to the URL structure, such as altering page slugs or moving content to different directories, can have a significant impact on SEO. Search engines use URLs as a key indicator of page content and relevance, so altering them without proper redirects can confuse search engine crawlers and lead to a loss of rankings for specific keywords or pages. 

Content Overhaul

Launching a new website often involves updating or completely overhauling existing content. While fresh, high-quality content can boost SEO, changes to content can also disrupt keyword targeting and internal linking structures that were previously optimised for search engines. If the new content isn’t properly optimised or aligned with your SEO strategy, it may result in a decrease in organic search traffic. 

Meta Tags and On-Page Elements

Meta tags, such as title tags and meta descriptions, play a crucial role in SEO by providing search engines with information about your webpages. When launching a new website, these meta tags may be modified or replaced, potentially impacting your search rankings. Similarly, on-page elements such as headings, image alt attributes, and internal links may be altered, affecting how search engines interpret and rank your content. 

Technical SEO Issues

The launch of a new website can introduce technical SEO issues that affect how search engines crawl, index, and rank your site. Common issues include broken links, duplicate content, slow page load times, and incorrect use of canonical tags. These technical issues can negatively impact user experience and search engine visibility, leading to a decline in rankings and organic traffic. 


With the increasing importance of mobile devices in search engine rankings, launching a new website that isn’t mobile-friendly can have detrimental effects on SEO. Search engines prioritise mobile-friendly websites in their rankings, so failing to optimise your site for mobile devices can result in lower rankings and decreased organic traffic. 

Site Speed and Performance

Site speed and performance are critical factors in SEO, as they directly impact user experience and search engine rankings. A slow-loading website can lead to higher bounce rates and lower user engagement, signalling to search engines that your site may not be providing a satisfactory experience to users. Launching a new website with poor performance can thus result in lower search rankings and decreased organic traffic. 

Tips to Safeguard Your SEO Rankings During a Website Launch 

While launching a new website can pose challenges for SEO, there are steps you can take to mitigate the impact and safeguard your rankings. Here are some actionable tips:

Conduct Comprehensive SEO Audits Before Launch

Before launching your new website, conduct comprehensive SEO audits to identify potential issues and opportunities for optimisation. This includes auditing your website’s structure, content, meta tags, and technical elements such as site speed and mobile friendliness.

Implement Proper 301 Redirects for URL Changes

If you’re changing the URLs of your webpages, implement proper 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones. This ensures that users and search engines are redirected to the correct pages, preserving your website’s SEO equity and preventing broken links.

Preserve Valuable Backlinks

If possible, work to preserve valuable backlinks from external websites when transitioning to a new website. Reach out to webmasters and request that they update their links to point to your new URLs. Additionally, consider implementing a backlink monitoring strategy to identify and address any lost or broken backlinks.

Monitor Website Performance and Technical Issues

Monitor your website’s performance and address any technical issues promptly. Regularly check for crawl errors, broken links, and other technical issues using tools like Google Search Console and third-party SEO auditing tools. Ensure that your website is optimised for speed, mobile-friendliness, and accessibility.

Update Your XML Sitemap and Robots.txt File

After launching your new website, update your XML sitemap and robots.txt file to reflect the changes. This helps search engines discover and crawl your new pages more efficiently. Submit your updated sitemap to search engines like Google to ensure prompt indexing of your new content.

Monitor and Analyse SEO Metrics

Monitor your SEO metrics closely after launching your new website to track any changes in rankings, traffic, and user engagement. Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to analyse key metrics and identify areas for improvement. Adjust your SEO strategy accordingly based on performance data.

Prioritise User Experience and Content Quality

Focus on delivering an exceptional user experience and high-quality content on your new website. Create valuable, relevant content that resonates with your target audience and addresses their needs and pain points. Prioritise user engagement metrics such as bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rate to improve overall site performance. 

Embrace Change While Safeguarding Your SEO Rankings 

Launching a new website is a significant undertaking that can have a profound impact on your SEO rankings. While the transition may pose challenges, it also presents opportunities for growth and improvement.

By following the tips outlined in this blog and staying proactive in monitoring and optimising your website, you can navigate the transition with confidence and safeguard your SEO rankings. Embrace change as an opportunity to enhance your online presence, engage your audience, and achieve long-term success in digital marketing.