Will Changing My Web Layout Affect My SERP Ranking? Semalt Gives The Answer
Now when it comes to SERP, many websites are careful. This is because even though its just a result page, it is more than enough to run your website to the ground. This is why when many websites have a clue that such action will affect their SERP performance; they take it quite seriously.
However, we are here to provide the counsel you need to make the right decisions. In this article, we will be discussing how your layout influences your SERP performance and how you can keep your website on the benefiting side.
With a changing brand image, remodeling, or growth, many websites change their website layout almost every year. To stay in touch with the audience, websites have to make some changes to retain their "contemporary" appearance. Now all these are great ways to improve your website, and this is great when done on a small scale. Tiny drops, remember.
However, some websites decide to do a full-scale change. Web managers completely change the layout as well as the content of the site. This may come as a shock, but you'll be surprised to find that many clients come to Semalt complaining about a drop in performance, and when we inspect, we discover that not too long ago, the whole site was stripped and remade.
When doing this, what most websites fail to realize is that they destroy their SEO efforts and the momentum the site had previously.
What is a website layout?
In simple terms, this is the skeleton of a website. It has the power to make or mar any website. Website layouts are patterns or, like we said, skeletons that define the structure of a website. The layout is what gives the content structure and provides a clear path of navigation within the webpage. It is also responsible for the positioning of the important elements in a website.
What does Google have to say about changing the layout of a site?
Google has cautioned that updating a page's layout can affect that page's SERP ranking. This effect is still likely to take place even though the URL and contents remain the same. A question was thrown at John Muller concerning changing a website's layout and affecting the ranking. Without delay or ambiguity, he stated that yes, such change is bound to affect SEO rankings.
Another amazing fact about this response is that the content and URL structure of the site is maintained. However, SERP performance can still be affected. In Muller's response, he explains that changing a web design layout could impact the search ranking should be something that web designers should pay attention too. It is also important to understand how the change will affect the website before any changes are made.
He further clarifies as he explains that in changing or updating the layout, you will have to figure out how to use titles properly on pages, how to structure internal links correctly, and how to provide context for articles. When all these factors are put under an SEO microscope, viewers can see how these items can affect SEO.
No doubt, your layout will need an update. Even websites with SEO friendly layouts will need to update the CSS and monitor how individual HTML elements are styled and used. For example, it isn't difficult to find web templates that use the headings element to style the sidebar navigational elements.
So this brings our attention to one simple truth, changing or updating your web layout isn't always a recipe for disaster. It could be a good thing or a bad one. So it would be best if you didn't shy away when you feel there's a need to change the layout. Instead, you should seek professional evaluation. When making these changes, make sure you double and, if you can, triple check what upgrades are being implemented to make sure everything has been done properly.
Yes, we understand, updating a web layout can be scary. It's one of those things where a mistake could cost you. We've done it severally, and we can say that our professionals know how to get it right. That's why we call them professionals.
Why you avoid sabotaging your website during a redesign
There are many loopholes when handling SEO. This is because search optimizations are influenced by hundreds of elements. On the other hand, backlinks are a great way to score more SEO points.
Google and other search engines consider these links as votes since the dawn of search engines. The quality, quantity, and diversity of these links provide a website with enough influence to score higher in SERP.
Internally, links can also exist, and although they do not hold as much authority as backlinks, they are also very useful tools in SEO. While they don't do much to the outside world, these links are the key to providing a better user experience.
Are you wondering how? Here's what we mean.
In 2011, google released Google Panda. This was one of the first instances where google confirmed its qualitative factors in crawling and understanding search queries.
To get here, they used survey questions such as
- Would you trust the information this website provides?
- Are experts behind the content of the site?
- Can you submit your credit card details to this website?
- Are there obvious errors on the pages on this website?
- Does this website strike you as bookmark worthy?
- Are there too many ads on this website?
- Were the pages from the site able to appear on print?
Google got different users to answer these questions, thereby rating the websites.
A few years from then, Google started studying user behavior for clues on which websites were great. At this stage, we started having the idea that Google was no longer interested in ranking sites based on their links and content length but the overall experience of the website. To qualify for the first slot on the first page of a result, they needed to know that you would offer users the best experience. This meant, the better your experience, the more points for your site.
Now imagine that while reforming your web layout, you get to damage all the carefully laid out links on your website. Instead of having a smooth, seamless experience, uses now have to deal with broken links that derail visitors' paths in your site. When you redesign your layout, you change the very architecture of the website.
When done wrong, changing your layout can damage your hub pages. These are what we refer to as "clusters" of pages that relate to each other on your site. Hub pages won't only increase the dwelling time on your site, but they also increase your authority on the topics those pages discuss.
From that, you begin to have 404 errors. If you have just one or two on your site, then its no big deal. However, having let's say 10 of these becomes a problem. Using your website then becomes frustrating, and users have no choice but to leave.
When should a website's layout be redesigned?
When someone goes online and inputs a search query, you want them to come to your site. But imagine if you get to lose traffic because your website is too difficult, hard to read, or looks unprofessional. No doubt that you'll dread that moment.
Here are some layout design flaws you should look out for
Pop-ups are great, but they can also be a flaw. This is specifically for pop-ups that come before users have had a chance to look through your content. pop-ups should be seldom used, and endeavor to build trust with your audience before you can flow pop-up asking for their information
2. Illegible texts
Using the right font size and color is important. Avoid making the mistake of using hard to read fonts and poor color scheme. Internet users are not very patient and would not hang around to decipher your website.
3. Large sounds
This isn't a common one but its still important we mention it. When using a video or an audio track, you should never let it play automatically with the sound up. If you must play automatically, ensure it is muted.
4. Large files
Having many large files on your webpage slows down its loading speed. Remember, not everyone has access to large bandwidths of data, so having a website full of heavy images would make life frustrating. Rather than waiting, users with a relatively slow internet connection would prefer an alternative.
Having a great website layout improves SEO performance. Search engines love it when websites are as simple as possible but with the right content and more. Having a good layout places critical information in easy to find places. This makes finding information a lot faster and easier for everyone. While discussing what to do with your layout, do not forget to let Semalt help you make the right call. With experts and years of experience, you are guaranteed the best services and treatment. What are you waiting for? Steer your website in the right course today.