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Does a site re-design spell trouble with rankings?
Block19Row13




msg:3352574
 3:28 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

our site is starting to feel out of date and tired and is in desperate need of a facelift.

if we change the page structures (html etc) but keep the page content the same, will we see an effect in our search engine rankings?

its taken us a long time to get anywhere in G and would hate to see the hard work go to waste because we change our page structures.

many thanks in advance

dan

 

Haecceity




msg:3352631
 4:33 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you keep the URLs, content and links the same and are only changing graphics and layout then I believe there should be only minor slippage, if any. I've never found purely cosmetic changes like that to have any effect.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3352638
 4:40 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree. My experience with this has always been positive. A year or two ago I changed two sites to CSS and it did them no harm. There should be no problem with this.

centime




msg:3352644
 4:51 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi Beedee

I am about to transfer a site to css, may I ask, did you keep the content the same?

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:3352700
 5:33 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Largely yes. I took the opportunity of freshening up a couple of pages but it was mostly the same content.

Robert Charlton




msg:3352766
 6:29 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am about to transfer a site to css, may I ask, did you keep the content the same?

Changing a site to css and keeping the content and urls the same...

Have done this over the past year with several clients... even changed the code order of navigation elements within the page... and have seen no problems.

Shifting global navigation blocks, though, is not the same as shifting lots of content around within your page copy, which does entail some risk, so be aware of what you're doing.

Re urls... on one site, there was consideration about whether also to change underscores to hyphens while we were making the rest of the changes, and I decided that the risk there was not worth the hypothetical (and most likely slight) benefits.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:43 pm (utc) on May 29, 2007]

Haecceity




msg:3352787
 7:04 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I forgot to mention I changed a site to css some years ago and had no problems. We;ve changed the design since and also no problems.

Moving our site to a CMS, changing all the urls, and 301-ing everything to heck has resulted in a slight drop in traffic, although one keyterm has dropped significantly. But that's a step further than you're planning to go.

foolsgold




msg:3352843
 8:00 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Robert Charlton

'there was consideration about whether also to change underscores to hyphens'

You don't need to keep the urls the same if you 301 them. Change if you want.

Block19Row13




msg:3353558
 3:00 pm on May 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

sorry to bother you all again but i would like to re-enforce the isuue.

things we plan NOT to do in the redesign:
- change the URL
- change the site structure
- change page names
- change content
- change navigation links (anchors)

things we plan to change in the redesign:
- update images
- update CSS values
- change page structure ie, html page layouts

one other thing to note is that we use an e-commerce template system, so 1 small change on the product page template would see the change across 2500 pages etc.

after knowing these factors, would i be wise in leaving things alone?

and with the template system, you can appreciate that it is difficult to do a gradual site overhaul.

many thanks for all your help.

BillyS




msg:3353621
 3:56 pm on May 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I redo my site template roughly once every 18 months and have yet to see it make a difference (positively or negatively). I do not change URL structure or the position of navigation links - just trying to make the HTML more efficient or pretty up the site a bit.

RichTC




msg:3353640
 4:24 pm on May 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you build loads of new re-designed pages with new internal urls and 301 the old page urls to the new ones is the general concensus that that could be a kiss of death?

idolw




msg:3353642
 4:27 pm on May 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

i'd suggest you do two things in following order:
1. make sure new version uses same URLs
2. forget about search engines - this is the best time for that.

good luck!

Robert Charlton




msg:3356330
 11:53 pm on Jun 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you build loads of new re-designed pages with new internal urls and 301 the old page urls to the new ones is the general concensus that that could be a kiss of death?

For a site with, say, SE-spider unfriendly urls, definitely go for the 301s. They're what you need to use.

But with a site that has a lot of deep inbounds, eg, and is performing well because of them, global 301s become a risk factor that I'd avoid if they aren't necessary.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:05 am (utc) on June 2, 2007]

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