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Unusual Request From Offline SEO Client - Can Any SEO's Help??

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Jinko, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Jinko

    Jinko Regular Member

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    Hi all,

    I do SEO for a local business and have their site ranked number 1 for their main keyword and 3 secondary keywords and continue to work on it to keep it there (competitive niche).

    They're now changing their business name/brand name and have a new domain and new website. They're asking me to 'change' the old domain to the new domain so they can keep their first place on Google....what do I do?

    I've never done this before and don't want to screw it up. Is the best option to set up a 301 redirect instruction in the .htaccess of the current (old) website? I need to pass on the authority so they stay at number 1. Big contract and big money being spent so need to do this right.

    Any advice would be hugely appreciated!
     
  2. HighRiskJohn

    HighRiskJohn Junior Member

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    Doing a 301 will pass the juice to the new site, but it wont guarantee high rankings. I'm assuming that with the seo your doing, you have soe social signals? Unless i'm wrong, all the social signals will have to be built back up again. Just because a site has high PR, doesn't mean it's going to rank #1. I would make sure that you also do some Press Releases to highlight the fact that abc is now xyz.
     
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  3. B. Friendly

    B. Friendly BANNED BANNED

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    This is a train wreck getting ready to happen. This has to be done "just right" or things will go very, very bad. I'm talking to a guy now that has fallen to page 3 because he moved his business 50 feet, and all his local citations are worthless now.

    Unless there is a COMPELLING reason, I would want to do as much nothing as possible. Continue to derive the benefit of the old, while the new gets it's presence established. Maybe gets some backlinks. Proves that it's onpage SEO is good. I wouldn't even do a 301 redirect right away. I don't care how many SEO "gurus" say differently. It's not like they are going to go out of business if their new website doesn't get changed over immediately for no particular reason other than it feels like it's supposed to happen and someone wants to do it.

    If you find me on Skype, I will be glad to give you my misbegotten opinion of the miserable nature of your client's Local SEO. I say this because ALL local businesses that rank well due to SEO have a miserable Local Presence, and that's the only thing that is going to save you when you make the switch. But that depends on what you've got established already.

    However, when you change, CHANGE. As in, all at once. Do ALL the local citations at once. The last thing you want is conflicting information out there saying different things. Above all else, preserve the NAP consistency. At some point, do the 301 redirect and then plan on leaving the old site active for at least a year. Maybe more. Google Analytics should show you what traffic comes from the old site, and so you'll know when it's time to safely make the switch.
     
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  4. rugbyjack2005

    rugbyjack2005 Power Member

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    Yeh a 301 redirect will pass the link juice across but go into WMT and change it there too
     
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  5. Zapdos

    Zapdos Power Member

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    Do a 301 on the pages, and then use domain records to point to the new site as well.
     
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  6. VinBed

    VinBed Regular Member

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    They need to be aware that they will likely lose their rankings. They'll want to reevaluate the value of switching domains like this..
     
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  7. SEOSIOS

    SEOSIOS Registered Member

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    discuss everything with them so they know what might will happen so you don't end up getting blamed
     
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  8. blackguy81

    blackguy81 Power Member

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    Just don't do it man ! I mean try to convince your client to not change the site - however, if that's obvious - tell them to keep the both at the same time. Then you can start work on the new site to make it near top of the SERP - and then you can gradually get rid of the old site.

    Of course if they are any multinational/big company with a great presence in offline media (TV, newspaper etc.) as well as online media - things will be much more easy ! I mean then they can have TV, newspaper ads, press releases to let the world know that they are moving to a new site/brand and will start getting almost instant popularity/ranking for their new site. I saw this happened earlier with a multinational brand.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  9. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    First mark the change in Google Webmaster Tools, then wait 1-2 days and do a 301 wildcard redirect (so long as your page names and file structure stays the same).
     
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  10. Getwhatchuwant

    Getwhatchuwant Elite Member

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    WTF? Why not just create a new site and start working on ranking it while you leave the old one up? Put a little header or something up saying "we have moved" and this way you keep the old rankings while building up new ones.

    I am not a web design pro and dont know what a redirect will do but to me, its not worth the risk if they are doing well with the site.

    People just take 1st page rankings for granted... LOL at the biz owner saying "We made a new site so please move our #1 ranking over..."
     
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  11. lee.golibu

    lee.golibu BANNED BANNED

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    create redirects in the .htaccess file on your new domain : Redirect 301 /old/old.htm http://www.domain.com/new.htm
    it is the best.
     
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  12. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

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    Jinko,

    You already have a lot of good tips from other members here and I just wanted to add a little. If done properly, the only thing your client's site will lose is a little bit of PR in the process. When you really think about it, Google has all your clients pages indexed right? When you start a new website and redirect those indexed pages, they still remain at number one correct? So as long as you leave that old domain running with all the pages intact, then your client's site will not drop in rankings at all (from a traffic standpoint). Of course the new domain will not be ranking number one but there will be the old domain serving as sort of a placeholder for the new domain.

    I say you will only lose a little PR because full PageRank is not passed on to other domains. Its actually only a small percentage of it. That being said, PR is only one of hundreds of factors that affect ranking and because your client's new domain won't be ranking on its own anyway, I wouldn't worry about this.

    I was recently involved in a changeover exactly like you describe. We constructed the new site, built a .htaccess file that would redirect page to page (to create a great user experience) and when the time came, implemented the redirects. As expected the PR dropped to zero for about a week before it came up to 2 from a previous 5. Traffic to the site however remained at the exact same levels it was at before the changeover.

    In the end, rankings in SERP's are means to an end which is traffic. As long as you are redirecting all pages to equivalent pages on the new domain, the process should be pretty straight forward and you should be able to preserve your traffic levels. Just make sure you leave that old site up until you are sure the new one is doing well on its own.

    Google has a good video about this too,

    http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=83105

    Good luck!

    Shawn
     
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  13. Adam718

    Adam718 Senior Member

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    This isn't too big of a deal. You being able to rank your client #1 lets them know what you're capable of, so they value you. As long as you let them know that it may require more work and time for you to try and get their new website up there, everything will be fine. Just do a 301 first, and work from there.
     
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  14. markcooper006

    markcooper006 Junior Member

    i agree with Getwhatchuwant above.
    first the new site, slowly build it social presence, then add a popup to your old site saying "our 'old business name' is now "new business name', click here to go to our new site or close this popup to continue". wait for sometime and then use 301.
     
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  15. bostonbull

    bostonbull Newbie

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    If this was a month ago I would say just go ahead and 301 the site. Google has made some changes with this and I would not 301 the site. Put a notice up saying the site is here or whatever but do not 301 it.
     
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  16. B. Friendly

    B. Friendly BANNED BANNED

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    Alright so I'm going to try this again. Without singling anyone in particular out, someone here is the exact opposite of right, which is wrong.

    SEO and Local SEO are two completely different systems. SEO's that use standard SEO methods for ranking local businesses get "juice" and they may rank well in the organic listings, like any other business. And some of that juice "rubs off" and the same business may rank well in the Local listings also. But just because standard SEO methods (blog comments, forum profile links, web 2.0, link pyramids, etc...) "work" on getting the business ranked well, that doesn't mean that the SEO has done "Local SEO". They've set-up a spammy, fragile and unnatural looking profile that like a house of cards will collapse if the least little thing goes wrong.

    In this one customer's case, the thing that went wrong was that his 35,000 backlinks fell to about 100, due to an algorithm update or whatever. You could see the sudden drop-off in Majestic SEO's report. One day he was "B" in the Local search results and had 35,000 backlinks, and the next day he was on page 3, and he had 100 backlinks. And his phone was dead, dead, dead at the very start of his busiest time of year.

    What MIGHT have saved this guy is if he had a strong Local presence. When his backlinks took a dump, he had nothing but a well-done Google Places listing with an inaccurate physical address, and a website that didn't even HAVE his physical address on it. Of the 50 or so local citations he might have had, about 10 of them showed his business at 4 different addresses, 2 different phone numbers and under 3 different business names with about 6 different spellings.

    So, when his "SEO guru" changed his Google Places listing so that the address was CORRECT, it didn't jibe with all the other local citations that said he was somewhere else. So Google concludes that, instead of being a Local Business with 100 backlinks (which is pretty good, for a local business), instead this guy was a non-local business with weak organic presence, with only 100 spammy backlinks, a few of which gave conflicting local addresses. A nothing. A nobody. At that's exactly where Google put him, which is nowhere.

    So, when all these "SEO gurus" start yapping about PR, etc... none of that means squat because that shit can disappear the next time Google farts. But if you have a strong Local profile in place, Google will always believe that you are a real local business, with a brick & mortar location, and you service your customers on site (or not, but you want to hide that if it's the case), etc... Google has a completely different definition of the word "relevance" for local listings, and any "SEO guru" that doesn't have that as his 1st operating perspective has no business giving advice on what a local business should do.

    And another thing the non-Local SEO gurus don't mention is that website traffic is not the end-all be all of Local business. They see things in terms of big numbers, and percentages of conversions and most of their gross income is profit. They think 1000 visits converting at 3% for $10.00 is "normal" and if traffic drops to 500 (X 3%) well that means they are making less money today. Oh well.

    A local business might get 30 visits in a month, and convert 5 of them, and those 5 might represent 50% or 75% of their gross income. And from that they pay rent, electricity, phone, internet, webhosting, insurance, wages, SSI, taxes, etc... and if they are lucky they have something left over at the end of the month that's called "profit". You never hear SEO gurus talking about profit because they haven't got hardly any overhead, it's ALL fucking profit.

    And so, they apply the square peg of their unique little corner of the universe to the round hole of what reality looks like, and when the small business's traffic drops to 15 in a month, and they convert only 2 of them, they can't afford rent, or electricity, or both. It's not just a minor drop in income that can be recovered over the long term. It's a BIG FUCKING DEAL, and it may mean the difference between staying in business or not.

    So my point is, some of these guys throw around their big-city, SEO guru advice around without any consideration for the consequences to the small business owner if they are wrong. And I'm telling anyone that cares to listen, they are wrong.
     
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  17. Jinko

    Jinko Regular Member

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    Wow - I love this forum and the wealth of knowledge here!

    Thanks to everyone that took the time to reply with their advice to help me. Some slightly conflicting views but the primary messages of what I need to do are there. I'm going to set up a meeting with the business owner and discuss all these points to make a new plan moving forward - making it quite clear that it's not as simple as just 'switching' #1 Google rankings from site to site!

    Thanks again guys,

    J.
     
  18. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

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    You would do well to heed B.Friendly's advice. Do not kid yourself into thinking that you are not ranking a new site. The new domain name makes it a new site, and unless your page content is going to be exactly the same, it is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Local is a very different animal, and brick and mortar businesses are even more different. The bottom line is new customers on the phone. If they are dropping an established website and domain name, and moving to a new one with different content, their new customer rate will plummet. Even the redirect juice will fall away, because the content will have changed.

    BTW, it will be your fault.

    You should discuss this with them ahead of time, and do not gloss over the possible consequences.
     
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