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Changing website design and content affect google ranking position

 2:22 pm on Nov 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am in the process of changing my website design and content structure. I am ranking in the top 30 for a music related keyword.
google has finally indexed my pages properly. Anyway, i was wondering, if i changed my whole website design and left out some content on my home page would this affect my rank in search engines.





 5:03 pm on Nov 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

changed my whole website design

Do you mean change the look of the site, or change the way it is structured?

You can completely reskin a site using new images and new CSS without changing a single line of your html. Since Googlebot and friends don't to the best of our knowledge care about CSS, this is fairly safe. Is this what you had in mind?

Why would you want to leave content off your homepage? This sounds much more serious...


 2:02 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the reply Webdoctor. I think you have hit the nail on the head with your answer. I am just going to change the look of the website now and leave the content alone. Also the only content on my home page is about me and my music albums. Which i think i will leave as it is. The current site at the moment does not look that great. The new one i have nearly finished looks a bit better.

As you have just told me google does not care about the way a website looks to the bot, i can go ahead and put up the new site in a couple of days.

all the best



 7:11 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have seen evidence that I interpreted to mean Google does care about both Javascript and CSS.

My logic is simply that I could not imagine any other way it could have done what it seemed to be doing -- which, of course, someone else might consider simply a failure of imagination on my part.

It is, however, likely that, whatever Google is using CSS for, CSS used merely as a face-transplant isn't going to have major effects.

Which is to say that IF you go ahead with this advice, and IF after you do, your search positions take a deep dive, ... then, well, then I'd tend to imagine it was a coincidental Google algo change, rather than anything you'd done.

If that warranty is of any value to you, you're welcome to print it and post it on your office wall.

Jordo needs a drink

 7:16 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

and left out some content on my home page

Yes, your rankings will be affected. May be negative, may be positive... Depends on the content you're leaving out.


 9:51 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have seen evidence that I interpreted to mean Google does care about both Javascript and CSS.


Have you any evidence that Google (or indeed any other SE) fetches *external* CSS stylesheets referenced by pages?


 3:24 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I changed the design and structure of the pages of my site and the site has been supplemental for over 1 year right now. :o(
Ps. Content still the same.


 3:41 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I changed the design and structure of the pages of my site

Do you mean the site's internal structure? www.example.com/foo.html moved to www.example.com/cms.aspx?id=foo
* if so, did you use 301 redirects? Did you do it all at once, or little by little?

Do you mean the pages' internal structure? www.example.com/foo.html stayed at that location but the html coding and markup was substantially different?


 2:00 am on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

ok, thanks for the replies people.

my new site design will be going live today and i will let you all know if i drop in ranking. Although it could take some time.

I have kept all my content on the homepage and even added some more.

i don`t think my site used javascript anymore though and it is now html 4.0 valid.

The main thing is, i have kept the anchor tags exactly as they were before on every page.

my page size is still 90 k as before. IT has just had a nice facelift.




 8:26 am on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Remembe the od saying; if it ain't broken......


 8:42 pm on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

When changing a site from having multiple <font> tags, poor HTML code, not using heading tags, and having low quality titles and meta descriptions, to instead having all code laid out as headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, and forms, with all style information in external CSS files, and with improved title and meta description data, and all javascript code moved off-page, I have only ever seen a site gain positions and traffic...


 8:52 pm on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

The name of the page still the same, For exemple, www.example.com/foo.html stayed www.example.com/foo.html but the html coding and markup was substantially different.


 11:42 pm on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Title, meta description and all might be the same, but changing the design in my experience ALWAYS effects serps. Sometimes in a good way, some times bad. SE's are like voodoo sometimes, once you find that magic spell, it's hard to convince myself that "changing" it is a good idea, unless of course it is in the best interest of your readers. Never forget that your readers are who you are writing for, not the SEs.

If I had a site ranking well, but was bad for readers I would chance it. If however, readers love it... Well, as was said above
if it ain't broke don't fix it



 12:42 am on Dec 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Remembe the od saying; if it ain't broken......

yeah... but you know us webmasters. we NEVER leave anything un-tweaked.

If it's only a design facelift, I figure there's not a problem. If content is moved or removed, check all KW densities, meta tags blah, blah, blah.

(off topic but...) Adding a variable in your dynamic URL can have totally disastrous consequences IF you are running adsense. I did this and my ad targetting has been half #*$! ever since.


 2:13 am on Dec 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

If I were planning a new site today, and I thought it might be subject to regular changes in its future "look", I would definitely take the extra development time to create a "pure css" layout, after the style of CSS Zen Garden.

That would allow all kinds of visual tweaks and even re-designs in the future without changing what googlebot sees in the slightest. So once I had a page that ranked well, I could tweak and re-design to my heart's content without concern for lost rankings. I could separate content changes from design changes and know for sure when a change in content had an effect, without wondering.

That said, I don't have any sites where I want to show visitors regular changes in the overall look, and I still find that development time for a new css-only template tends to make this approach prohibitive forme in practical terms, eve though in highly admire the pioneers who are clearing away the brush in this new world. If I could use a proven css-only template over and over, I just might approach a new site this way.

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