In an effort to position content first, there has been a response by some designers to either start placing the navigation bars on the right (instead of the traditional leftside) OR to structure css so that the content at least appears to be coded first on the page, with which I think most of us are familiar.
Noticing over the recent months however that a few of the sites I've been following with the serps that do place content first have taken a dip in their rankings (in particular, spoofing G into thinking content was first, at least). Though this observation comes from a small pool of sites.
Has anyone else noticed this?
I'm tempted on a site I'm developing right now to just put the nav bar on the left and leave it at that, to counter any real risk involved (though I'm also not "code spoofing").
I would doubt that just moving the placement of content in the code would be the sole cause of a dip in rankings, but I could be wrong. I have not noticed this recently, but will keep an eye on it. I have tried moving content higher in the code in the past without any adverse affects.
Your site needs to be most usable to your visitors first, otherwise all the traffic in the world won't matter and while you can make nav on either side, there are conventions that work better. There's certainly no reason not to optimize your code to make it easier for engines to see what's a priority and how to navigate around but the idea of moving your nav for the sake of SEO seems to be putting the cart before the horse.
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