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Old 11th January 2006, 11:23 AM   #1
lascrapper
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My site is currently ranked #2 on the major engines for my first keyword. Yeah! But - I really want a new design to the site, to make it easier to navigate, and clean up coding. I bought a nice template that uses CSS.
I am so afraid to make the changes, because i don't want to jeopardize my ranking, yet I really want this new look! Does anyone know if this will change my rank? I am very hesitant to make ANY changes right now - but don't want to be paralyzed by this... HELP!

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Old 12th January 2006, 10:12 AM   #2
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Hard to say. The main idea is to keep your content the same including title and meta description tags and it should minimize the risk of dropping in position.

However keep in mind that you could drop in position even without redesigning site. That is just the nature of the game. So I would do what is best for my visitors. If that be a new design, then a new design it is.

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Old 12th January 2006, 10:17 AM   #3
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One of the things to think about with search engine optimization is that it's a long term thing. If you don't think long-term you run the risk of paralyzing your site because you get too wrapped up in not "risking" a ranking.

That's obviously no good. Because sites need to change.

In all honesty, when it comes to redesigning, there's a greater risk of impacting your conversion rates than there are of risking your rankings...but then again, you can increase both of them as well.

A few things you need to consider:

1.) Try to keep the same URLs. This is the biggest thing that can impact your rankings...having URLs that used to rank but that are suddenly non-existant. If you have to change your URLs, make use of 301 redirects to point the search engines toward the new pages.

2.) Make sure that the changes are still search friendly. Don't change to an all Flash site or to a Framed site or something else that might cause problems for the engines.

3.) Realize that you WILL see an impact on your rankings, maybe for worse, maybe for better. But, with the redesign, you should also be thinking broader. Don't worry just about where you rank for one phrase, worry about where you are GOING to rank for tons of phrases.

There's an article over at Search Enigne Watch that talks about the "Retaining Traffic After a Web Site Redesign" that's worth a read...

http://searchenginewatch.com/searchd...le.php/3422791

I guess my best advice is to not let fear control the need for change.

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Old 12th January 2006, 10:26 AM   #4
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I'm off to read that article! Thanks for both your responses!!!!

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Old 12th January 2006, 11:03 AM   #5
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To get a grasp of the slippery slope, do some advanced searches in google to see where you stand on specific factors. For example are your ranking heavily due to links versus on page optimization. That's will be a major factor imo.

Regarding changes, all the above comments are good but another major factor to me is to keep the internal navigation similar/same (including urls as mentioned by jen but also menu/link navigation within your own site).

I tend to think you will be okay with the transition if done appropriately but any time you make changes the potential is there. Often things may change with the search engines algorithm after your site changes, you may think it is because of your changes when in reality it may not be. Understanding what influences changes of rankings is key to seo - don't assume just because your site changes and rankings also, that's the only reason.

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Old 13th January 2006, 12:43 PM   #6
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I've done several redesigns to my sites and had no changes in rankings at all. Now, if you drastically change the copy (without some very careful considerations) there is a high chance your rankings will move - oftentimes down.

By following the suggestions others have given in this thread, you should be fine.

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Old 13th January 2006, 02:01 PM   #7
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Perhaps this would be a good time for you to investigate A/B Split Testing.

Once you get an A/B program set up, you can try out new designs without losing your original, (a) and have data which will help you see how design changes are impacting on your conversions (b) while allowing the search engines to keep the same old pages in their index, minimizing any potential ranking impact.

Google 'A/B split test' or similar to view a wide variety of resources on the topic.

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Old 14th January 2006, 02:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thejenn
One of the things to think about with search engine optimization is that it's a long term thing. If you don't think long-term you run the risk of paralyzing your site because you get too wrapped up in not "risking" a ranking.

That's obviously no good. Because sites need to change.

In all honesty, when it comes to redesigning, there's a greater risk of impacting your conversion rates than there are of risking your rankings...but then again, you can increase both of them as well.

A few things you need to consider:

1.) Try to keep the same URLs. This is the biggest thing that can impact your rankings...having URLs that used to rank but that are suddenly non-existant. If you have to change your URLs, make use of 301 redirects to point the search engines toward the new pages.

2.) Make sure that the changes are still search friendly. Don't change to an all Flash site or to a Framed site or something else that might cause problems for the engines.

3.) Realize that you WILL see an impact on your rankings, maybe for worse, maybe for better. But, with the redesign, you should also be thinking broader. Don't worry just about where you rank for one phrase, worry about where you are GOING to rank for tons of phrases.

There's an article over at Search Enigne Watch that talks about the "Retaining Traffic After a Web Site Redesign" that's worth a read...

http://searchenginewatch.com/searchd...le.php/3422791

I guess my best advice is to not let fear control the need for change.
Well thought out post! I'm inclined to agree with this, but I'm not an expert. If you want more input (from techies) try this SEO forum: www.seo-guy.com/forum. I've found it to be pretty helpful. Throw your question out there, and see if you get a consensus.

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