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Placement of Navigation does make a difference

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9:55 am on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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10 days ago, I rebuilt my website. The content stayed the same, only the code changed. I moved from JS popup menus to CSS ones.
Immediately our rankings fell from mostly #1 to almost void.
When I compared the new and old code I realized, that in the past the navigation was at the bottom of the code, now it was at the top.
Yesterday I changed it so it appears at the bottom of the code and get's displayed at the top via position:absolute. During the night we were - like always - fully crawled, and our rankings completely recovered.
3:04 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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how big is your navigation? Is it a long laundry list of links or just a few?
4:18 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think that has to do with site description.

By change in coding one can alter site's meta description in serps.

4:37 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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simply making large scale changes can often cause a drop....regardless of what they are....its pretty common....
6:11 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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M_Bison:
That site's pulldown navigation has 27 links ("sitemap on every page")

Soapystar:
Yes, but the observation I made is that ranking remains unchanged, if the content remains unchanged and navigation is in the same place. The rest of the markup didn't matter. Not even the fact, that the navigation is now a nicely structured hierarchic list. It was a series of divs before.

What I'm trying to say is: If you want to change your code or even your CMS, go on, don't be afraid. Simply make sure the content and position of the navigation remains unchanged.

6:21 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I don't think we should draw conclusions or make changes based on one person's experience. It could very easily be a coincindence.
7:04 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone else here experienced changing a site (or even a single page) one day and seing a significant change in SERPS the next?

I would have thought this was at least a bit unusual

7:08 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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plasma - There are apparently two things going on here, both of which might have had an effect...

...I moved from JS popup menus to CSS ones.

...in the past the navigation was at the bottom of the code, now it was at the top.

From your original post, it's hard to tell if your JS pop-up menues were spider-friendly, and whether changing these might also have influenced what you saw.

7:11 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone else here experienced changing a site (or even a single page) one day and seing a significant change in SERPS the next?

I would have thought this was at least a bit unusual

Unusual and unlikely. I would at least want to know what was cached in Google as an indication of what they had indexed.

1:29 am on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Any benefits of placing the boilerplate menus at the bottom of the page and unique content on top? It would change what the spider see first, although I'm sure the benefits are slim.
1:49 am on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think this webmaster is possibly onto something.
7:52 am on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone else here experienced changing a site (or even a single page) one day and seing a significant change in SERPS the next?

My webpage has about 8 links at the top (8 sections) and links on the side that vary with every section.

A few months ago I put my side links at the bottom of the page (they were previously underneath the main navigation) and saw one of my internal page's ranking increase for a specific term.

The problem was that underneath the main navigation, I had this elaborate table for a page heading, so when I did a site command, all my pages except the home page were in the omitted results. So I changed it back again, lost the internal page ranking (wasn't important), but got back all pages out of the omitted results.

Now about a week ago, my pages are starting to go into the omitted results again. So last Friday I put this elaborate table down the bottom, leaving an <h1> tag at the top. The side links are still at the top though.

I am hoping this will sort out this omitted result problem I have. The pages look the same as they were before, it's just I am altering the CSS and HTML code to put content nearer to the top.

8:58 am on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Robert:
I use NOARCHIVE, so I don't know what the cached version would have been.
11:36 am on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Gissit:
The site got recoded at 3-8, at 3-9 it sunk in ranking, so within one day rankings changed. They were rocksolid for years.
At 3-17 I "fixed" it and again within one day rankings changed.
We get fully crawled on a daily basis, were would be the point in that, if not in fresh results?

Of course it can always be coincidence. I could try putting the navigation back to the top and see what happens...

12:47 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Did you hear about "Everflux"? ;)
6:27 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm currently running an experiment on one of my sites to see if placement of navigation within the HTML source makes a difference to Google. I'm using CSS to position the exact same block of navigation in two different areas of the site. (Laundry list of divs down the left column.) Google still hasn't fully indexed all of the pages since the changes were made. (250k+pages) I should know more in a few weeks.

For the pages that have been indexed and are appearing in Google's cache those pages' placement within serps do not seem to have been affected significantly in either a positive or negative fashion. I do see some pages coming out of supplemental though I don't think that's related to the navigation changes.

8:28 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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i can believe this