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Google confirms that web layout and design can affect search rankings

Google confirms that web layout and design can affect search rankings

We know that content, loading speed, and URL changes may affect the search engine rankings of a web page. But what about the layout and structure of the page?

Google’s John Mueller recently confirmed that changing the layout or structure of a web page can affect its search rankings. 

More importantly, a change in web layout can trigger changes in search rankings on its own — even if the content and URL remain exactly the same.

This explanation by John Mueller was a response to the following question by a website owner:

“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?

On a side note, there’s no change in the content and the URL structure. It’s still the same as before.”

Mueller responded:

“Changing the layout of your pages can affect your search results.

This is something that some people work on actively as well with regards to on-page SEO.

So things like figuring out how to use titles properly on a page, how to do internal linking properly, how to provide more context for the article itself.

All of this can definitely affect SEO.”

He further added:

“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. And it can be a good thing; it can be a bad thing.

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.”

Takeaways

The general consensus was that simply changing the structure and layout of a web page — especially if the content and URL remain the same — would not trigger changes in search rankings. However, as John Mueller confirmed, that is not the case.

Changes in the layout may change search rankings of a page.

Therefore, the next time you plan to make a change the layout or design of the web page, keep that in mind. Once the changes are implemented, search rankings for that page may change.

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Luke Harniman

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