How much does alteration to your website structure affect your rankings, if at all? Making changes in your site’s structure, or changing around the content of the site too often, does impact the site’s ranking. Every change you make forces Google to reassess your sites ranking, because Google stores a copy of your website on it’s server. Whenever there is a change in any aspect of the site, Google will detect it and reevaluate your ranking based on the new pages it has indexed.
If you were to change the structure of your website leaving very little content, or if you add unoptimized content which reduces the overall keyword density of your site, this could adversely effect your ranking. The same goes for your web design. If you frequently make changes to your web design and shift around your linking structure, you might end up harming your web rankings.
Of course, not all change is negative – if you make changes to the text for the better and improve the structure of your web page, there will definitely be improvement in your site rankings as well.
When you make a change to your website, make sure you keep the regularity of Google indexing in mind. If your site is indexed once a month, try to do updates in a lump before the next sweep. Keep as much of the original content and site structure intact, and don’t fix what ain’t broke. Even popular news sites have a set pattern of displaying data; updates occur in a specific section of the site, relieving the spiders from having to index massive changes every single update.
If you do need to update and your rankings are already good, follow these steps:
Add new content on a separate page so your original content is intact. You can add a news or what’s new? feature to your site instead of making frequent changes to the whole website. This is a smart and search engine friendly way of adding new content to the site.
However, don’t put a link for every new page on the home page, as this might decrease the ranking of the home page. Make one link to a separate what’s new section and add new pages or events to that area on a regular basis.
If you have to make changes to main site structure, make them as discreetly as possible. This will help keep distribution of Page Rank stable. for major do-overs, shut down for a day or two and revamp.
No matter what the change to your website, the change probably will impact your ranking – whether it is a good or bad change is up to you and how you go about the process. If you do it right you will benefit from these changes instead of losing valuable ranking.