|Redesigning the Marquee Page - things to keep in mind?|
My site is undergoing an overall redesign and now we are getting down to the point to redesign one of the marquee page when it comes to SEO. It is making me jittery since any mess-up here could have a drastic impact.
What are the things that I should keep in mind?
1. I will fit all the textual content that was present in the earlier design to be present in the new one as well
2. There used to be a large h1 keyword in the earlier design. This new design template does not have a scope to have a similar title. Should I be worried? Or will having the title in the 'more modern' design that does not offer a H1 lead to a drop in rankings
3. The new design will be overall pleasant to the eyes and user-experience compared to the older design. I hope that conforms to Google's latest diktat on ranking algo.
Please let me know if anything I may be missing here. Thanks,
anand84 - Would you clarify what you mean by marquee page.
Hi Robert, I mean a high profile page in terms of search engine traffic. It's one of the pages that we have been ranking #1 for a number of high competition keywords for a long period of time.
PS : Sorry for the confusion with the html tag :)
With CSS, the h1 tag can be styled to any appearance. Might keep that in mind.
It sounds like you're happy with your rankings and aren't quite sure why you have them. You're right to be careful.
Once upon a time, many years ago, the combination of keywords in anchor-text, title, and headings was sufficient for ranking. Before CSS, the H1 heading was the big bold text at the top of the page. Since the algorithm tried to emulate human perception, search engines naturally assumed that big bold text suggested the topic of the page. Additionally, the use of headings... h1, h2, h3... gave the page something of a hierarchical outline structure, with the main topic (in h1) at the top.
CSS has enabled modifying the appearance of headings while preserving their structural nature. The h1 tag, though, over the years, has been so misused that the search engines have paid less and less attention to it. Some testing reports that the h1 tag itself no longer has effect on rankings. I've continued to assume that it doesn't hurt to have a classically well-structured page, though it's sometimes best to be subtle about it. I certainly wouldn't yank a relevant main heading from the top of a ranking page and replace it with a graphic.
It's likely that your page has come to rank because of factors beyond your initial structure, but you don't know what those are. I haven't seen a ranking page with a large unformatted h1 heading for quite some time. I'd modify the appearance of the h1, as tangor suggests, with CSS to make it more attractive, but otherwise keep it looking like a heading... primarily for the user.
Since you're not completely sure why else you're ranking, I'd keep the key text elements all the same. Changing the appearance of the page with CSS styling, though, shouldn't hurt at all, and in fact it's likely to help. Ditto with adding attractive images, so long as they don't greatly slow down the loading of the page. But keep text as text, and headings as headings.
One other factor to pay attention to... I've seen some webmasters assume that navigation doesn't matter much, and that's where I've seen redesigns come back to bite them. Site structure and navigation anchor text is extremely important. If you're not sure what you're doing, it's hard to give general advice beyond that, except to hang onto what works, and make other changes slowly, after your redesign, when you can check them out individually. If you make a lot of changes all at once, you won't have a clue what went wrong.
Thanks a lot Tangor and Robert Charlton. I guess we will be going with the CSS-level formatting of the h1 tag. The new design has all the headers in lower case; I hope it doesn't matter as long as we emphasize on the importance of the keywords using the h1 tag.
Regarding the other changes you have mentioned, we are largely retaining all the textual content from the earlier page (although some sections go up or down in the template depending on internal feedback).
We are retaining most other on-page SEO factors (and the off-page backlinks). So I hope the impact is minimal.. Thanks again for your help.
h1 tags have not been deprecated in google... they are still part of the algo, just not as large as the "old daze" (sic). We never throw away anything that works... even if it works a bit less than before. Semantically, h1 is important to the page and anything that is important should be used.
Style it as you like, that's what CSS is for.
Yeah, we have decided to use H1 for that very reason. Thanks tangor for confirming this.
The rule with SEO and HTML is simple: Use HTML Tags as they are intended.
If you have a first order heading than use the H1 tag.