50% visits drops after migrating from underscore to roots


I know is my duty and I am deeply analyzing it now. But I would like to share with you this in case anyone want to have a look or think about it.

I had my theme built using underscore starter theme and I changed it to roots a couple of weeks ago. I liked the base.php and Grunt.

After a week I have had a 50% drop in my organic visits from Google.

Main differences between both themes:

  1. Sidebar in aside and then widgets in sections in roots. Every widget directly in aside.
  2. Archives with h2 in roots and h1 in underscore.
  3. Comments inside article in roots.
  4. On my own I have added some schema.org to navigation, sidebar and footer (this is not in roots but I added when migrating)

If you want I have all the source files here

The underscore ones are from my local system so the domain name is different from production.

I will inform here where I find more differences.


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Are you sure this is a long term effect or just a short correction?

Google is a strange beast. Often changing something will throw them for a few weeks, and then things come back to their original state.

I’m not a Google expert but I will say if you wanted to modify Roots to be exactly like your Underscores theme, you totally could.

I bet that Google’s just transitioning. Report back in a month or so, maybe.

I don’t know yet, I have a two-weeks-50%drop right now. let see in some days but it doesnt look good

How about now? It’s been several months so any Google dance should have steadied by now…

Hello, I recovered from that penalty but I went through a deep review of my code and implemented other improvements as moving to https and adding schema.org

Thanks for the update!

hey! You said that you implemented other improvements. Does this mean that these improvements are required in Roots but come natively with _s? I’d love to know more about what you did!
I am beginning my journey in theme development and am starting off with a Lynda.com guide on using underscores, simply because there is no in-depth tutorial anywhere to be found about using Roots/Sage.
I want to use what I’ve learned about theme development with _s and use it in Sage and would like to know ahead of time if I will have to do anything different/extra, regarding the code improvements you are speaking about.

Thanks and apologies for waking an old thread!

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