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Maintaining google position after major design change
Will this technique work?
lgn




msg:64028
 11:17 pm on Jul 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

My old homepage, was rather high text based, and looked kind of home grown rather than professional. But google liked it, and my top keywords have been ranked 1 and 2 for the past several years.

I have now done a major site revision, and the site looks very professional. However I am scared, that google will see the site in a less negative light.

I was thinking of doing the following.

The top of my web page will show the new site design, however I will put a large empty space (say 1000 pixels vertical of blank) followed by my old webpage below. I am only doing this for my home page, as this was the only one google really saw due the dynamic nature of my site.

Google should still see the content down below, however, the user is only interested in the top portion of the web site and will never scroll down below.

This way I get the best of both worlds. I get to keep my tried and true google ranking with my old design while have the profesional looking site displayed for the user.

Other techiques could be a fast refresh, but im afraid i would get penalize by this.

Anybody has any ideas or opinions.

 

kevinpate




msg:64029
 12:49 am on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

>however, the user is only interested in the top portion
>of the web site and will never scroll down below.

You seem more certain of this particular assumption than I would be. Then again, I grew up taking apart stuff just so I could see what was inside, so maybe I'm a tad bit nosier than most. Good luck with the approach if you go that route.

TheDave




msg:64030
 1:25 am on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think you should try and keep your old content up the top of the page, and work it in with your new design, or put it on a seperate page and link to it.

rfgdxm1




msg:64031
 1:39 am on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

>You seem more certain of this particular assumption than I would be. Then again, I grew up taking apart stuff just so I could see what was inside, so maybe I'm a tad bit nosier than most.

My same reaction. If I saw this site, likely I'd think "What a total unprofessional, bozo webmaster. This is a cluelessly laid out home page."

lgn




msg:64032
 2:48 am on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

My market are consumers and not web designers.

My experince is that consumers only browse to the point, that they get the information they want, and all the information they want will be above the fold.

I stand to lose alot more, by losing my google ranking, than scaring away a few nosy people.

My major concern is how google would treat this.

I have quality content, but I just want some insurance, that I don't lose my ranking by a major design change.

rfgdxm1




msg:64033
 3:02 am on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

What you are proposing essentially is cheating by stuffing keywords on the bottom of the page. You are assuming they won't scroll down. If on a hand review of your site someone at Google sees what you are doing as the scam that it is, you could get banned.

John_Caius




msg:64034
 9:57 am on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Homepage ranking is mostly to do with things like:

keywords in the title tag
keywords in H1
keywords in text
keywords in incoming anchor text
subpages pointing at the homepage
number and source of incoming links

Most of these shouldn't change much when you just change the design of the homepage so I wouldn't worry too much. If you drop down in the SERPs then look at what factors you changed and improve on those.

Mike12345




msg:64035
 10:07 am on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Can't you use CSS [webmasterworld.com] to change the design of your site, thus not change the actual HTML layout fo the page too much.

I think you would get the best of both worlds, a fresh new look, and maintain your current ranking. I might be totally wrong but thats the approach i would take.

FleaPit




msg:64036
 10:07 am on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Backup your old homepage, then introduce your old copy into the new template using the same title tag, description, link text etc., etc. As long as the design is not overly complex then you shouldn't have a problem with loosing your rankings. Of course, there are no guarantees but...

lgn




msg:64037
 11:45 am on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

You say that titles in H1 or similiar is still important. However with CSS, you can make your H1 titles small, and the search engines don't see the CSS. So does search engines really give H1 titles that heavy weight anymore?

I am having second thoughts about this. I am now
leaning towards having 3 columns of text at the bottom of the page. I can use about our company column, our guarntee column and something else, to provide my keyword density in a couple of hundred lines of informative text.

No body will want to read this, but it will be non intrusive, and will not look like spam.

ken_b




msg:64038
 4:15 pm on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

I recently did a complete redesign of my page layouts. I just put the old content, which had worked fine for ranking, into the new page layout. No problems were seen. In fact the new page ranks higher, with the same content.

But you may be relying too much on your home page for ranking and results.

Spreading the content over several pages, linked from the home page if possible, might well get you better results. And at the same time lower your reliance on one page maintaining it's ranking.

twilight47




msg:64039
 4:39 pm on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

The top of my web page will show the new site design, however I will put a large empty space (say 1000 pixels vertical of blank) followed by my old webpage below.

If the original webpage was useful in content, why would users not appreciate it. IMO, There is no reason that you couldn't organize the info to make it look more professional without losing content, as well as describe the info on the lower part of your page for the surfer that may find it useful, there is no reason to hide good content. If on the other hand it is not useful content, then it is really just spam.

bunltd




msg:64040
 4:59 pm on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

IMO there's no reason to duplicate your content on the bottom of the pages just because you change the design of the site, in fact, the risks wouldn't be worth it...

We recently did what Mike12345 suggested, and re-designed our site using CSS-P, but with the same content, title tags, links, so the basic html didn't change (it's actually much cleaner). Our rankings for our main keywords were unaffected (even with Dominic/Esmerelda), we maintained our 1's and 2's, and actually saw improvements in the SERPs for other pages/keywords...

LisaB

ulounge




msg:64041
 7:07 pm on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know someone in the same field that I am in who has had the top 2 spots for a key word for some time.

His old site was mainly all flat .html pages with lists. The new site is graphical and dynamic asp pages.

Even after the redesign he has kept the top 2 positions singular and plural for this keyword. I would not worry... it has been a few months now and his site is sitting still.

jesserud




msg:64042
 12:29 am on Jul 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

A site called blackbaud does something like this. Their front page is mostly graphical and poorly coded (empty/missing/incorrect alt text). If you scroll down, you see what looks like a separate text site (it starts with "Welcome to..."). The graphical portion has a white background, while the text portion has a black background. The text portion is somewhat keyword-stuffed.

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