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    Recommendations on a site re-design


    My company has a website that is in desperate need of a re-design but it ranks really high in the search engines. It was created in Dreamweaver and utilizes a dynamic web template, which includes a menu with about 30 links on it to product pages within the site. By getting rid of all of these links would it affect the SEO at all? We want the new site to be more clean and simple but not at the cost of losing traffic / search engine rankings.
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    When doing a redesign, we always recomend that clients sustain as much of the internal links as possible. They don't have to be in the same place on the page, or look the same way, but as long as the links are preserved somewhere on the page, you are least likely to see a ranking/traffic decline as a result of a redesign. However there are many other aspects to a sites on page infrastructure that also need to be preserved during a redesign. Some of them include: URL structures, text based content on the page, and title tags. Good luck!
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    Thanks. Can anyone else provide their opinion on this issue?
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    It's impossible to give specific recommendations without seeing your site and the competitiveness of your industry. How much does your company make from it's Google ranks? How much would it be hurt if you lost all of those ranks? I can't imagine plunging into a redesign without a full report from a skilled SEO professional.
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    Originally Posted by KernelPanic
    I can't imagine plunging into a redesign without a full report from a skilled SEO professional.
    That's really the heart of the matter. If your sum total research on rankings impact before doing a redesign is to have asked some questions on some forums then expect an absolute roasting if things go pear shaped.

    Engage a professional to analyze your current site. Aspects such as which links are followed and which aren't or which pages have the highest drop out rate (visitor flow), keywords that each page currently rank for and why, (etc., etc., etc.) should be fundamental to website redesign.

    Yes your new design should be modern. But the process should also be taken as an opportunity to improve user experience.
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    Hi OceanM,

    Yes, getting rid of the links to those pages would affect their rankings. That's because one of the ranking factors in the algorithms are the quantity and quality of links pointing to a given page. This includes both internal and external links.

    I'll give you an offline analogy. Suppose you're a retailer. You take some products out of the window, and switch them for others. It's fair to say that the lower exposure will result in fewer sales for the products that were formerly in the window, right? It's the same here. If Google understands you to be saying, "these product pages are less important now," then guess what that does to your rankings and traffic?

    So, what can you do to get a more modern (I'm understanding you to mean less busy, correct? "cleaner"?) look, without hurting the rankings?

    You can group the 30 links into categories, and display the categories only, by default. If someone's mouse hovers over the categories, then they can be shown the links in that category. Provided you do this with CSS + HTML (as opposed to javascript or flash or other search engine unfriendly technology), then you can maintain your rankings yet get a cleaner design. Your designer can look up tutorials on css rollover menus if needed. The end result is that you have perhaps 5-7 visible category links, rather than 30. I think that's what you want, right?

    Note: If you do a redesign, it's very important that your new site prioritize user experience and business metrics over whatever the designer(s) feel like / what is pretty. That's because your site is a selling tool, not an art gallery. If need be, give your designers a couple of hours (paid) to work on some fun artsy sideproject to get that out of their system ... and design a business site for you.

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