On a very large website I have changed the permalink structure, for technical reasons. Every URL is 301 redirected to it's appropriate one.

A few days after the change I have noticed a drop in organic traffic of over 60%. Also in Webmasters Tools old URLs appear with duplicate titles and descriptions of the new ones.

Should I ignore the traffic for now? Is it normal to have such a big drop?

I presume it is because now Google thinks I have thousands of duplicate pages?

If this is the case, how long does it usually take until things go back to normal?

  • 1
    I changed domain name on large site at the end of October 2015 and re-wrote things correctly. I saw a similar duplicate issue and a drop in traffic of around 50%. It took almost 8 weeks before we recovered.
    – nemmy
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 21:47
  • Thanks nemmy. In this case all I have to do is wait, I guess. Thank you for the answer.
    – ClawDuda
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


It is fully normal, that traffic drops after such basic change of URL structure. Google needs time to get the new structure, to re-index pages, to understand, whether the content changed and so on.

I would say, the drop time is from 1 up to 5-6 weeks long. But you can speed up the re-indexing with new sitemap and new content, which is backlinked externally.

  • Thank you. One more question regarding this. Will it help if I submit a sitemap containing the old urls? So that they are re crawled quicker and thus Google should see they are all redirected?
    – ClawDuda
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 12:32
  • i've heard different opinions (could help/will not help), but never tested by my own. i would add the new sitemap instead of the old one.
    – Evgeniy
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 13:41

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