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1. Will redesigning the site casue a loss in rankings, considering we use the same basic copy/body content?
2. If we move from simple .html pages to css with .php will that negatively impact rankings? Should we keep the page names/file extensions the same?
3. What advice would you give someone looking to redesign a website with strong rankings in a competetive industry?
Thanks all for your help!
As you probably know, the best practice is to 301 redirect links to old documents to your new documents. This will transfer the link-passed strength of the old documents to the new documents.
Unfortunately the process is not instantaneous. Depending on the number of documents, how many document/folder layers, and the number and quality of external links, it can take up to several deep crawls to re-index your domain completely. That can take weeks.
After you update your web site, and before any crawling occurs your old pages still have 100% of your ranking strength and your new pages have zero ranking strength.
As Google bots attempt to crawl old (removed) pages and uncover your 301 redirects, the off-page strengths are transferred to the new pages.
As new content is crawled on-page ranking strengths are assigned.
So what does this mean to you? Here is an analogous demonstration:
Obviously this simplifies the process quite a bit, but it does offer a solid, general understanding of what happens to your ranking strength when you redesign a web site and rename all of your content.
The more documents you keep with the same name the less water you have to pour.
[edited by: Komodo_Tale at 9:28 pm (utc) on Feb. 23, 2007]
Thanks for that well thought out response. I am scared to revamp the site as we are dominating in our industry and I fear any significant change to the code will cause a decerease in rankings and subsequently traffic for an unspecified amount of time. Hmmmm....I'd like to hear other people's experiences regarding such a change.
It's probably a good idea to go over each page template with a microscope, and then to check one or two important pages after content has been added. You might catch a few things you'll be happy you spotted.