How to Implement Site Changes Without Negatively Impacting Search Rankings

Redesigning a website to include fresh updates may make it easier for you and your customers to communicate better with each other. But will it impact the search rankings of your website? In a recent Reddit discussion, John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google advised best practices for redesigning a website or changing domain names by focusing on its positive as well as negative impacts.

Domain Change vs Redesigning a Website

Mueller started the discussion by comparing two of the changes that can have an impact on your search rankings; domain change and redesigning a website.

Mueller said, “You’ll potentially see more fluctuations from the redesign/ revamp than from the domain name change. Moving things 1:1 from one domain to another is – for the most part – a non-issue.”

A redesign can have more disturbances on the search rankings of a website as compared to changing the domain name.

Updating the Website in Phases

Through improving the design and structure, the performance of the website is improved making it easier for the visitors to consume content and take action. Improving it in stages can help publishers and marketers to determine what changes negatively or positively impact a site’s performance. By implementing changes at once, they would not be able to identify what changes need to be rolled back or improve.

According to Mueller, “If you do that and move domains, you won’t know why there are changes, and that’s where a lot of the site move stories come from. If you need to do both, I’d try to split it time-wise so that you can recognize any negative effects in each part, and take action to improve them. If you do everything at once, you’ll never know what to fix, and even if things end up “same as before”, you won’t know if one part went down, and was compensated by an improvement on the other part. Keep things controllable & trackable.”

Related: SEO Refresher Tips from Experts


While a new domain name won’t hurt the search rankings of your website, redesigning a website altogether may have serious repercussions. Restructuring a website to improve a site’s performance in phases would let you record the negative or positive impact of search rankings. It would also be beneficial for future reference.


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