topstar - 10:05 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0) [edited by: tedster at 3:21 am (utc) on Jun 23, 2012]
Google's automatic response to a reconsideration request says the following:
If you’ve experienced a change in ranking which you suspect may be more than a simple algorithm change, there are other things you may want to investigate as possible causes, such as a major change to your site’s content, content management system, or server architecture. For example, a site may not rank well if your server stops serving pages to Googlebot, or if you’ve changed the URLs for a large portion of your site’s pages. This article has a list of other potential reasons your site may not be doing well in search.
Does anyone have more experience on website design changes and a rankings drop afterwards? How long would it take to make a comeback or is a drop a sign that Googlebot doesn't like something in the site?
I have done a major change to one of my sites including new layout, CMS, urls and meta title structure. Article content has stayed the same. All old urls were correctly 301-redirected to the new ones. I also added Google Analytics and removed thin pages. The site took a hit in rankings right after the new site was launched after being pretty stable for several years, including the recent algo changes.
The rankings continued drop in the following weeks. Keyword1 has now dropped from page 1 to page 5 and "keyword1 keyword2" has dropped a few positions, still holding on to #10 or #11 though. The drop date doesn't match with any of the Panda or Penguin updates so I assume it was caused by the change in the html or css.
Some possible causes might be the slower site speed (new CMS and too little RAM), above the fold algo (no ads but a large header image). I am working on solving all of these issues. The site itself is well done with html5 and css3 and I've cleaned up the backlink profile.
[edited by: tedster at 3:21 am (utc) on Jun 23, 2012]