Changing Old Code To CSS Killed One Webmaster's Google Rankings

Jul 9, 2010 - 7:58 am 16 by

A featured WebmasterWorld thread has one webmaster who said his 13 year old well ranking web site was updated to use the latest CSS and coding techniques. The page content, titles, meta information was not touched, only the way the page renders, by using the latest CSS techniques to reduce page load time and page redenering. He said, immediately after the site went live, his rankings for keywords he ranked well for since the site was first launched 13 years ago - have vanished.

Let me quote what he said:

13 year old site. Using 13 year old code.

I decided to modernize using the cleanest of standards. I'm using the STRICT doctype (minimal errors upon validation) ... pure CSS, one stylesheet controlling everything which is minified... all pages compressed with gzip. No header information was changed... same titles, same meta. Basically I know what I'm doing.

I effectively took my average page size from 80k to 20k (before gzip compression) and the site is lightning quick. Visitors have been super happy with the improvement.

Every visitor but googlebot apparently.

The DAY after I rolled this major revision out, I began losing my major keywords. Every keyword was top 10, now I'm gone... not in supplementals - nowhere. Keywords dropped over the last 3 days... today there isn't much left.

He posted that on June 27th and today, two weeks later, there has been no improvement.

Now, if the URLs, title, content and everything else stayed the same and the only thing you updated was how the page source code is implemented, a ranking change should not been seen. I have to suspect that this webmaster is missing something, but he is confident he is not.

Tedster, WebmasterWorld's administrator said:

I've been involved in hundreds of redesigns over the years, some with content changes and some with only mark-up changes. I never ran into this problem.

I know flicky is reporting a big problem, and I'm not trying to diminish its devastating impact on his business. But I am cautioning against making generalizations based on this.

Have you experienced this? I just find it hard to believe that there are not other factors involved here.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.


Popular Categories

The Pulse of the search community


Search Video Recaps

Google AI Overviews, Ranking Volatility, Web Filter, Google Ads AI Summaries & More - YouTube
Video Details More Videos Subscribe to Videos

Most Recent Articles

Search Forum Recap

Daily Search Forum Recap: May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024 - 10:00 am
Google Updates

Google Search Ranking Volatility Spike Around May 22

May 22, 2024 - 8:01 am
Google Ads

Google Ads In AI Overviews, AI Shopping Ads, Brand Profile Ads & More AI Ad Tools

May 22, 2024 - 7:51 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google & Bing Say Upgrade To WordPress 6.5 To Gain Lastmod Sitemap Support

May 22, 2024 - 7:41 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Unusual Surge In Google Search Console Product Snippets Search Performance

May 22, 2024 - 7:31 am
Bing Search

Bing Search Testing Tag Filters

May 22, 2024 - 7:21 am
Previous Story: Daily Search Forum Recap: July 8, 2010