While Updating A Website Can Have A Negative Impact

In the After Hours Webmaster Hangout, John Mueller of Google answered many questions about what types of changes affect the stage and what types of changes won’t happen.

Along the way Mueller describes a variety of harmless scenarios as well as the types of changes that might affect how Google views a website, including viewing it as a new website.

Search Performance Affected by Site Changes

The person who asked the question said that the last three websites he had “overhauled“Experiencing a very negative level change in Google search.

He states that it has never happened before “reshuffle“And is working to find out if this is a matter on Google’s part and also to understand what kind of changes could affect search performance in general.

It must be said that John Mueller did not ask to explain what the person who asked the question meant by “reshuffle“From the website.

Overhauls can range from a simple redesign to a complete SEO update to content, meta data and in -depth changes to the structure of the website.


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John Mueller Google Discusses Improving Websites

John Mueller of Google

John Mueller Says it’s not Google…


“In general things like this I would notice every website.

No one is saying that … if the website is revamped then we must change its position.

… If you see this with three websites it looks like maybe you’re doing something unique with the modification process and not that there’s something on Google’s part that will block the renewal in general.

For remodeling sometimes there are several things that come together and sometimes it is difficult to know exactly what is going on.

But the main thing I need to keep in mind when you do a reshuffle is to make sure:

So that the URL stays the same as much as possible so that you don’t change the URL structure.

Internal links remain the same as much as possible.

That the content and layout on the page remain the same as much as possible.

And if the technical elements are basically aligned then from our side the only thing we see is maybe the website is a little faster now because you are using a faster infrastructure. “


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What Causes Google to Treat Old Sites as New

John Mueller lists the types of changes that can cause Google to consider a website completely new.

“If on the other hand the factors are inconsistent such as:

  • If the URL changes
  • If the layout changes
  • If the content changes
  • If you do not have a redirect from the old URL to the new URL

Then basically the aspects that say that we should consider this as a new website because basically we crawl from scratch and there is completely different or completely different content in its preparation or a completely different layout or a completely different URL.

So … in fact from our side, we will say that it is a new website, we will start from the beginning and try to understand it again.

So that was something I noticed there. “

When Website Changes Coincide with Google Updates

Mueller further mentions that Google is constantly updating and that changes in rankings may not be related to recent changes to the website.

Mueller observes:

“The other thing is we’re also making other level changes across the web.

And sometimes when you do a revamp, you’ll get the timing in the perfect way to fit in with when we’re making core updates or when we’re making larger level changes.

And it’s very hard to know: Is this problem due to the type of technical changes I made or is this problem because Google will generally understand my site differently anyway.

Trying to figure out like … is there something you did with the change or is it something Google changed?

I think that was a good first step and to do a few things it was very useful to re-check all the technical details and links that actually get a map of all the old URLs and then check them out on archive.org and see how they looked before and confirm like what now.

Use different testing tools to make sure that everything can be crawled and indexed … all that stuff. “


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The last information about crawling a website is very good information. Always crawl the website before making any changes to have a record of what the website was like before the change.

Once the website is updated the new website can be crawled and any changes between the two conditions can be compared. Screaming Frog has a visual overview that shows the internal link structure as a graphic with well -connected nodes and is very visible. Comparing two views, for example, can give an immediate idea of ​​unintended changes.

If the URL structure of the website has changed then the old website crawl can produce a list of internal pages which can then be included in Screaming Frog as a list crawl which will show if there are pages that are orphaned or not redirected as they should be, etc. .

Is Changing the Site Structure Effective?

The person who posed the question thanked Mueller then added that he had changed the structure of the website to divide it into several sections.


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He had never mentioned this before so now Mueller was actually answering another question.

Now he answers if changing the structure of a website will affect how Google sees pages on that website.

Mueller replied:

“It’s something where changing the structure of a website will affect how searches view it and it can also have a positive impact.

So maybe a change was made earlier if you went from a one -page website to a multi -page website, maybe that’s a good change for that website.

But maybe the same changes for the current website you’re running don’t make so much sense. “

Does Changing Paragraph Order Affect How Google Sees Pages?

The person asking the next question asks if changing the order of the paragraphs on a website can affect how Google sees the page.

Mueller replied:


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“It’s not usually but can affect a bit because we’re trying to understand the context of the text you have on the page and if you move a paragraph from something very prominent to an area where it’s like oh this is the side of the Note.

That can affect how we view that information. “

Examples of Changes That Google Will Notify

In response to another follow -up question John gave an example of a change that could make Google view the page differently.

“It’s better if you change something from that like the page title and you move it to the footer or something like that, that’s something where I can imagine our system saying oh it doesn’t matter anymore.”

Does It Change All Images By Position?

The person who asked the question submitted another follow -up question, which asked whether Google would change the ranking if the site updated their site with the new image.


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Mueller replied:

“For a normal web search it won’t be a problem.

For image search, if you want the image in image search and if you get traffic from image search, of course changing the image is important. “

Negative Search Changes Need to Be Investigated

If changes in search rankings are not easily recognizable, then the first step should be to crawl the website to identify any negative changes that may be visible from the crawl data.

If there is no obvious cause then it may be a change related to the Google update, which then means a different type of audit that involves examining search results to see what has changed in the type of website Google ranks.

Changes to the website must be made carefully.

Backups are essential. If something goes badly, the site can be quickly restored to its original state and the ranking decline reversed.


Watch John Mueller answer many questions about website improvements and ranking downgrades, from the 40 -second mark of the video.


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