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what counts as a "major" and "minor" website change in Google's eyes?



3:29 pm on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

as Im aware, major changes to a website will result in a temporary drop in Google rankings, as the site will need to be re-indexed for the changes.

However, does anyone have any guidelines or official documentation to say what Google sees as "minor" and "major" changes? It seems so vague that it's unbelievable.

I don't want my site to drop in rankings at all and want to avoid this at all costs so I need to make sure I'm not creating major changes to drop my rankings.

For me personally, I will only be adding a few paragraphs of text to the homepage and changing the stylistic layout of the page. The existing text that is there now will also remain and is only being added to.

All other pages on the site (about another 200 pages) will be the same (but placed in a different site template), and URL structure will not change.

Will this be enough for Google to see it as a "major" change, since the index page is being changed and the site graphical template is different, or will I be okay here?

thanks in advance


8:53 am on Nov 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm interested in this as well. I was originally planning on posting a new articles sections on my index page with around 20 articles. (site currently has only 4-5 links on the index). So I'd assume all this new content would be considered a major change. I'm just not sure if it's more beneficial to slowly roll this out, or just do it at once.


1:56 am on Nov 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

You have a better chance to keep the site's rankings if you implement the changes gradually. In the OP's case, it might be best to slowlly add the new content to the home page, then wait a bit before changing the layout (or reverse that order). If possible, you should also change the layouts of the other pages gradually. This would be safer than doing everything at the same time.


5:53 am on Nov 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Work "small". Update/Change over a period of WEEKS. Doing it all a one time (roll out) does seem to have a "hit" factor.

If immediate, ie, a NEEDED change to make the site "better" or "focused" then do it, take the hit, then wait.

Me? If I need to change I do it, large and in charge, and have rarely seen anything longer than three weeks in response as regards SE.


8:03 am on Nov 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have the same predicament.

350+ URL changes, new site layout/structure/navigation plus some minor description and title changes for many of these pages.

I'm doing the change in one hit, but will wait until 1st January when I would normally see a seasonal traffic drop anyway.

I expect rankings to tank, I'm just hoping the hit isn't for too long.


10:05 am on Nov 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

In my opinion changing internal linking structure of a site is a big deal for Google. Most recent topics about "website overhaul and ranking drop" are because the poster changed navigation on the site by adding more links to main navigation.

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