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Question: Did we screw this up?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by sunyata, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. sunyata

    sunyata Newbie

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    And can we recover it?

    Recently launched a upgraded e-commerce site and have taken a very heavy hit in traffic coming to the site, especially for previously well ranked keywords. Also the toolbar page rank is showing as N/A.



    Basically the client had a very old Joomla/VirtueMart site that hadn't really been upgraded since it launched back in 2008. In May their host upgraded the PHP on the host which in turn completely broke the site. We decided to migrate the data over and rebuild the site as a WooCommerce store. We got the new site back up on August 1st and since then the traffic is about a 1/4 or a 1/2 of what it was previously.


    There were major changes to the url structure, titles, meta descriptions, and the url changed from www to non-www


    We have a 301 redirect in place to handle the www url change, but have not had them in place to redirect the old VirtueMart pages to their WordPress counterparts, since we thought we had lost the old site.The old VirtueMart URL's were not very keyword or content friendly, and have been replaced with pretty friendly /category/product_name.


    I recently found a somewhat working development version of the old site, which could be used to setup the redirects from the old pages. Should we do this now or is it too late? And is there anything else we can do to recover what was lost in traffic and keyword ranking?
     
  2. Veyron

    Veyron BANNED BANNED

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    Yes, I would make the changes to see what happens. It definitely couldn't "hurt" the site as this point and if anything would help. By the way, why was the site not updated in almost 6 years?

    Veyron
     
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  3. 0_00_0

    0_00_0 Senior Member

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    Definitely set up the redirects from the old URLs! That will go a long way! You don't need to set up the old cms you can just manually do it easier a different way. There are a few ways you could tackle it.
     
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  4. innozemec

    innozemec Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    when you made www change, yes the pagerank is now gone and you need to wait google to transfer it via the 301 redirect

    for sure such big changes will cause huge loss in rankings, thats why it is not good to accommodate so much changes all at once..

    now you simply need to wait and hopefully your rankings will be back within several weeks to months
     
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  5. sunyata

    sunyata Newbie

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    The client was afraid to do the updates. I looked at doing the updates for them shortly before the site went down, but they were so far behind the ball that it was really problematic.

    Then the host changed the php and the point became moot.
     
  6. sunyata

    sunyata Newbie

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    Those old URLS are really awful and there is no info about the content in them at all.

    Example:



    Which is why I thought doing it with the old CMS would make the most sense. What were the other options you were thinking of?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  7. sunyata

    sunyata Newbie

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    Thanks. Yeah agreed about all of those changes not being done at once would be ideal. Once the 301's are up it could take a few weeks to a few months for the pagerank to transfer?
     
  8. validseo

    validseo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Doesn't matter... all your backlinks went too them... All your backlinks were orphaned by the move. In webmaster tools look at all the crawl errors... specifically the 404 and 500 errors... 301 the hundreds if not thousands of those and you will do much better. A single 301 of everything old to the new home page is better than nothing but much worse than doing proper old page to new page redirection.

    If you don't support all the old backlinks then google thinks your site is very broken and not very trustworthy over time... lots of 404 and 500 errors in GWT is a very bad thing...

    Also check your index status... how many pages are indexed. If your site has 2000 pages of content and GWT says that 147,000 pages were indexed last week then you have more problems than orphaned backlinks... these could be things like missing canonical tags, URL params that need to be ignored, duplicate content. If you view the HTML appearance section in GWT it will indicate duplicate titles and meta descriptions... the example URLs in this section can help point out where things are getting duplicated in the URL and crawl of your site.

    Your page rank wont be fixed. Google has not updated toolbar pagerank for months and might not ever update it again... Look for your position in the SERPs as an indicator of website health... its a better indicator anyway.


    Good luck,

    Ted
     
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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  9. 0_00_0

    0_00_0 Senior Member

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    It is really important that you still 301 redirect all of those old URLs to the new ones. All of the old URLs, despite how ugly they are, are aged and likely have many links built to them. 301 redirect all of the old product URLs to their new product URLs and you will for sure see improvements in traffic and search engine visibility.
     
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  10. MadStacks

    MadStacks BANNED BANNED

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    As others have said do 301 redirects from the old URLs
    Anytime you change anything with the link structure you are asking for page rank hell. :)
     
  11. Jonny Quick

    Jonny Quick BANNED BANNED

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    The short answer is Yes, you messed the customer's site up. It's a classic case of a web developer that doesn't know what he is doing, and shouldn't be in the industry in the capacity he is in, blundering his way around until something blows up in his face.

    First, let's all tell the truth and be respectful here, and not invite each other to pretend to believe in each others lies in order to get along. I/we KNOW that part about the host "changing the .php" and "breaking the site" is a lie. If the Host did anything that changed the site, it could have been easily fixed by someone that knew what they were doing. But instead you took advantage of the situation and created a new site with not one thought about preserving the backlinks, the SEO, etc... Not one thought was given to SEO because you did not even know enough to know that you did not know. And you didn't warn your client because you couldn't, because you didn't know. And now you are in "damage control" mode and you won't tell them the truth about why their SERPs are in the toilet. And you really should.

    1) Reinstate the original website, and do whatever is required to fix the ".php" problem(s) (if their really are any.
    2) Start doing selective 301 redirects to the new site, based on backlink PR & backlink volume. In some cases it will make sense to redirect to the new site, and in some cases it will be best to leave the backlinked pages to remain "not redirected". Some backlinked inner pages are for juice, and should remain untouched, while others might have to be redirected to the new site (such as the "check-out" page, if it has backlinks).

    FYI: The above is the exact tone and wording I would use if I happened to encounter your client. It would be a good idea for you to get ready for a newly-informed client to hear what I've just said.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  12. MaximumAchievement

    MaximumAchievement Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    No it is not too late.