Marketing 2 min read

Google Says Updating Web Layout Can Affect Search Rankings

mohamed Hassan /

mohamed Hassan /

Publishers update their web layout for various reasons. For example, you could change designs when your website is not displaying correctly on smartphones or tablets.

It’s also a quick way to make your website technologies more compatible with the latest web standards. However, switching Content Management Systems may be the biggest reason publishers update web layout.

But how does this change impact search ranking?

In a recent episode of Google’s Office Hours hangout, a site owner asked whether changing a web design can affect ranking.

The question reads:

“I recently changed the layout look and feel of my blog and moved away from WordPress. And now using Hugo static site generator for publishing my posts. Does the change in layout impact my ranking and search results?”

The individual was quick to point out that the website’s content and URL structure remained the same.

In response, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, John Mueller, answered yes. Changing the web design layout can indeed affect how your site ranks on the search engine.

Here’s why.

How Changing Your Web Layout Impacts Search Rankings

Publishers usually have to update most web layout templates out of the box. For example, web templates sometimes use heading elements to style the navigational parts in the sidebar.

Site owners add little tweaks to make things more compatible. This could range from CSS updates to how the publisher styles and uses various HTML elements within the page.

So, while the website’s content and structure remain the same, the search engine can notice these slight changes.

Mueller explained:

“So just because the… kind of the primary content like the blog posts that you have and the URLs themselves don’t change doesn’t mean that there’s nothing else around all of that, that search engines won’t be able to pick up on. It can definitely affect SEO.”

However, the Webmaster Trends Analyst pointed out that the impact isn’t always negative. Sometimes, changing your web layout could affect your website’s search ranking positively.

So, it’s not that you need to avoid making these changes but rather when you make these changes make sure to double-check that you’re kind of doing everything really well,” he concluded.

Read More: Google Expands Free Shopping Ads to More Countries

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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