What to expect from massive website changes?

Rich Owings

Local Search Expert
Joined
Apr 21, 2014
Messages
391
Hi all,

I've got a specialty lodging/retreat client who is undergoing a website redesign. The site is a mess with lots of unnecessary pages (e.g., one for each room you can book). They really need the redesign. We'll consolidate pages, strengthen the menu, improve UX, boost speed, etc. There is no domain or CMS change, but there are major changes to the site structure, including a new theme. We'll have 301 redirects in place wherever appropriate.

My question is, what should I expect? Will their rankings drop off for an extended period of time? Any idea how long? Do you expect it would impact map pack as much as organic? They rank well in the map pack but are a little weaker in organic.

Thanks for any insights you can offer!
 

Eric Rohrback

Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
1,005
Hard to know without seeing what currently exists > what will change, but in general if 301s are done right, then the affects should be pretty minimal. Are you culling any pages that have traffic/links? Will URL structures changes? Are you dramatically changing the internal linking strucuture/main menu?
 

Rich Owings

Local Search Expert
Joined
Apr 21, 2014
Messages
391
Hi Eric,

Thanks for taking the time to give me some feedback. It is greatly appreciated. To answer your questions:
  • Are you culling any pages that have traffic/links? We will try not to unless they are redirected to a relevant page
  • Will URL structures changes? Rarely. A few URLs will change, but again, they will all have redirects
  • Are you dramatically changing the internal linking strucuture/main menu? I'd say moderate changes
By the way, I just found a Wikipedia page linking to them, pointing to content that has been removed and is 404'ing. I'm going to try to get them to restore that content!
 

Yan Gilbert

Administrator
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
244
In general, I don't think there will be a drop-off with template and page updating. That can happen when you have a new domain. There might be a temporary boost if everything is fixed up properly as Google tries to assess the new pages.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,816
I have also experienced boosts after changing a website. Definitely record before/after website speeds with gtmetrix and google pagespeed.

Also, I would recommend not changing URL structure at all. If you did that, Google would probably just see a high amount of CSS changes (which may or may not trigger anything) and that's probably it. The less you change, the better.

URL structure and website speed would be my biggest concern.
 

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