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The Hidden Pitfalls of Neglecting SEO in Website Relaunches

A website relaunch is often seen as a pivotal step towards modernizing a brand, improving user experience, and enhancing functionality. However, without incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) into the project, the results can be less than favorable. 

This case study explores the severe consequences an association faced after relaunching their website without SEO considerations, led by their new website development partner.


The client, a well-established association, aimed to overhaul their online presence with a fresh, modern website. The goals were clear: enhance visual appeal, improve user navigation, and ultimately increase customer engagement and sales. Unfortunately, SEO was overlooked during the design and development phases, leaving the company without any redirect strategy and a site riddled with SEO issues post-launch. No SEO migration steps were taken to mitigate the risk of lost traffic.

This case study aims to:

  1. Detail the technical SEO challenges that emerged during the website relaunch.
  2. Analyze the impact of these challenges on the site’s organic search performance.
  3. Demonstrate the importance of integrating SEO expertise in website redevelopment to avoid similar pitfalls.



We utilized a number of tools to track and document errors, keyword rankings, and overall site visibility post-launch including key areas such as structural URL best practices, duplicate content, metadata issues, internal linking optimization, and keyword rankings.

Post-launch, the new website exhibited many SEO issues, with some of the larger problems including:

  • Duplicate Content & Lack of Indexing Direction: The site displayed the same content under both old and new URLs without proper redirects or canonical tags, leading to severe duplicate content issues.
  • Incorrect URL Structures: URLs included underscores, excessive query strings, and uppercase characters, all known to complicate search engine indexing.
  • Lack of Anchor Text: Internal linking used less optimized anchor text, diminishing the SEO value of internal links.

These issues led to a staggering and immediate 630% increase in SEO errors, indicating a significant oversight during the development phase. The number of total errors documented also continues to climb.

  • Note the new website launched on 2/16 - our benchmark metrics below were from a crawl of the old website the morning of launch before the change was made.


The consequences of these SEO oversights were profound:

  • Tracked Keyword Rankings: As part of this performance monitoring, we tracked the ranking changes of 64 keyword rankings the company held prior to the new website launch. Of the tracked keywords, 37 declined in ranking, while only seven showed improvement. The site lost first page rankings for 17 keywords, and ultimately half of the tracked rankings fell out of a top 20 ranking position.
  • Overall Non-Branded Visibility: There was a 67% decrease in the site’s overall non-branded keyword rankings, including a 44% decrease in first-page rankings and a 55% decrease in second-page rankings.
  • Featured Snippets: The site also saw a reduction in featured snippet results, further diminishing its SERP presence.


The lack of SEO consideration during the website relaunch directly correlated with the decline in search performance. This case starkly contrasts with SEO best practices, which emphasizes the importance of meticulous planning and execution, including proper URL redirection, canonicalization, and content uniqueness.



The significant downturn in SEO performance experienced by the client underscores the critical need for SEO integration in every phase of website development. This oversight not only compromised the site’s searchability, but also its potential business gains, emphasizing that SEO is not just an add-on but a fundamental component of web development.

Is your company planning a website relaunch? Don’t let SEO be an afterthought, contact Marcel Digital today! Our SEO migration services will ensure your new site is designed with best practices in mind and that the SEO visibility you worked so hard to achieve is not lost.

  • SEO

  • Web Development

Joe Stoffel Headshot

About the author

Joe Stoffel

Joe knows what it takes to drive SEO results. He is an experienced SEO specialist who currently leads the SEO department and strategy at Marcel Digital.

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