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Overhauling a website completely, how it will affect the rank?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by psychodelic2, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. psychodelic2

    psychodelic2 Junior Member

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    Greetings BHW members :)

    One my dear clients has a highly ranked research site which ranks on top 5 in google for its niche and keyword.

    However, personally i believe the site has very poor design and too much text on the frontpage.

    i suggested to the client to create a clean and slick new website, but he is not ready for it citing that it will pull the site down in rank and we will be the ultimate loosers..

    basically since it has many articles paste right on the front page.. i want to make it more user-friendly and make links to independent articles and make sections in the website..

    how can we achieve a complete design overhaul, while keeping the same content ,on different pages than just 15 pages, it can go into maybe 40 pages now..and not loose our ranks in g

    thanks

    ps - no wordpress for my client either. i am thinking html 5 + css
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012
  2. Derrick H

    Derrick H Registered Member

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    I'd recommend the re-design and the then create an XML sitemap under the new design and submit that using Google Webmaster Tools! This will help Google find the new pages and the existing content
     
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  3. psychodelic2

    psychodelic2 Junior Member

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    Thanks Derrick for your valuable time.

    We actually wanted to create a completely new site with the same content, but the front page had a huge amount of text thus a high keyword density.

    The new template will have more image driven impact and almost no complete article but "Read more" links to help categorize the content more easily and help people read what they think they would like to read first..

    So 85%-95% of content from front page will be gone from the index page but still be present in other pages.

    I get what you are saying, put all those pages in XML and add to sitemap in Google Webmaster, are you sure our index page and the whole site wont fall down in rankings ?
     
  4. Derrick H

    Derrick H Registered Member

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    Psychodelic - I was not aware that you were cutting that much of the content, I'd still recommend doing the XML sitemap and submitting it to Google through Webmaster tools though. If you are replacing that much content with Images make sure you optimize your images with good keywords (ie alt image tags, title, description). If you are doing read more style posts on the front page then try and cut the articles/posts on the index page after a few of your keywords are visible. Technically if you are reducing the the amount of text on the index page then you can still achieve high keyword density if you have the keywords before the "Read More".

    I have had good success redesigning a page for someone with a similar predicament but we used Wordpress and had a nice suite of SEO pluggins to help. Also as a disclaimer this was about 2 years ago. Keep me posted with how everything goes.
     
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  5. Superdude22

    Superdude22 Registered Member

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    Are you only redesigning the site so they will pay you to? At present it seems like it's at a good spot. W/ removing content, and moving things around and changing the structure, there's a strong chance you are going to mess something up and loose your rankings. You'd have to make sure you have a 301 from every old page that's gone to the new place it's supposed to be. Don't be afraid of text in favor of flashy html tricks or images. Google values content, not design. Ease of use holds very little value, especially if site speed is currently good. I'd say tread lightly w/ a redesign, I've seen good sites fall out completely b/c of a redesign/content reorganization. Do everything you can to keep the content structure the same (thus the benefit of a CMS) and only change the CSS.
     
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  6. psychodelic2

    psychodelic2 Junior Member

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    Thanks again for your valuable inputs!

    I am beginning to think my client is right about this, his site can not be redesigned at risk of loosing rankings..

    but the amount of text is crazzzyy ... the audience themselves need a neater view of the whole content i think as it refers quite a few PDFs and other research repositories as well. maybe we can create a seperate page that lists all documents... the sitemap idea is excellent, thanks!

    Anyways for now, the client has suggested i use a fresh domain and re-create the research web .. once that domain ranks on similar rank, point this existing site there.. what u think of this approach?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012