The Role of Web Layout Changes in Ranking Revealed by Google

As a webmaster, you do everything possible to create a stellar impression on your online customers. And why not? The look and feel of your website is an online reflection of your business. 

It can make or break the way your lead feels about your business and affects the conversion rate.

This is why a perfect web layout that has just the right amount of each web element is of utmost importance.

Its importance is so crucial in creating a positive overall UX that webmasters often redesign the website to align it with the overall marketing strategy.

However, are you aware that changes in a web layout can have an impact on your SERP ranking?

Yes, that’s true. Web layout changes while keeping all else the same, including the URL linking structure and content, can impact SERP Rankings.

Hear it from the Webmaster

To know exactly where this comes from, you need to hear out the Google Office Hours hangout where a user sought clarity on this from John Mueller himself.

The exact question was:

“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.”

The most intuitive response to that would be a ‘No’. But contrary to popular belief, changes in the web layout can be a reason for a change in SERP rankings.

Here’s what Mueller said,

“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.

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.”


As webmasters, we know that even the most SEO-friendly websites will need updates and changes to keep them in line with changes in strategy or marketing.

So, does that mean that the changes will lead to a drop in the rankings? If so, making changes can be quite scary, while keeping the web layout intact can have other repercussions.

To lift the mist on that, Mueller said,

“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.”

We all have made changes to web design at some point or the other. But, the knowledge that these changes can affect ranking is new. 

However, this cognizance will also help us think carefully through the changes and become acquainted with the stylesheets and the underlying code to decide what changes are absolutely important, and what can be avoided. 



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