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    Older site ranks high, how to update?


    Hi everybody,
    I have a new client that has an older site that currently ranks very high in goggle that has no SEO work applied to it. They want me to update it, make it look better, but i am afraid it might loose its rank in google if i change anything on it. How should i approach this? Should i play it safe and create a totally new domain name and start from scratch?
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    If you are wanting to maintain rankings then a whole new domain would probably be the worst thing to do.

    Are you looking to just re-design the existing pages leaving content and page names (URLs) alone? Or are you changing all the page names (URLs) and the content or ...

    If you you are just changing the 'look' of the existing pages then any SEO hit shouldn't be too bad if there is any.
    In fact, if done with SEO in mind it could even help if it sorts things like page load times, stickiness, click through rates, visitor generated backlinks (due to being a nicer site) etc.

    After that, if the site is changing I expect the idea is to improve conversions, in which case even if there is a small drop in visits due to lost rankings this would be more than made up for by the better conversion rate.

    In the end, all change is a risk and all you can do is plan accordingly.
    Last edited by Kevin H; Sep 5th, 2013 at 05:08 AM.
    Freelance SEO and Web Developer
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    There are 2 important things to keep in mind while updating old website.

    1: Design point of view: If you are just changing look and feel of the website to make user experience better, then there should be no problem at all. Using Clean Design. CSS and DIV tags will eventually help website with load time and low bounce rate.

    2: Development point of view: PLEASE Don't mess with the URL's. Changing the URl structure will give you a big fall in rankings. Home page may hold the PR but other might not. In case you are planning to change the URL's make sure you do 301 redirect and point to new URL's. This way you will get back your link juice from the former URL's( But this may take 30-60 days).

    I hope all above info help

    Regards
    SEO Company Indian
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    Originally Posted by Kevin H
    If you are wanting to maintain rankings then a whole new domain would probably be the worst thing to do.

    Are you looking to just re-design the existing pages leaving content and page names (URLs) alone? Or are you changing all the page names (URLs) and the content or ...

    If you you are just changing the 'look' of the existing pages then any SEO hit shouldn't be too bad if there is any.
    In fact, if done with SEO in mind it could even help if it sorts things like page load times, stickiness, click through rates, visitor generated backlinks (due to being a nicer site) etc.

    After that, if the site is changing I expect the idea is to improve conversions, in which case even if there is a small drop in visits due to lost rankings this would be more than made up for by the better conversion rate.

    In the end, all change is a risk and all you can do is plan accordingly.

    Ok, thank you very much for the reply. These reason why i am weary of changing/updating this site is that its "third" down from the organic google search currently. The client wants me to not of course loose the ranking of the site, but if i develop new pages for this site, on the domain name, will it impact the clients ranking?
    Is there anyway to do this to make sure that the client doesn't loose the ranking. There is currently no one that is doing SEO with the site, i guess all their ranking comes from other people linking to the site over time and there is allot of text on the site about the niche.

    My task is to make the site uptodate, current, stay on top of her competition, and maintain their ranking. Is this possible, or if i touch this site, will it loose the ranking?

    thanks.
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    "Changing the URl structure will give you a big fall in rankings", ok this was my intuition telling me the exact same thing. Thank you for verifying it!!
    So if i keep the same file naming structure, keeping the same paths, but can i add image using Photoshop to improve the over all appearance of it with no problems? .
    If create a blog and attempt to do SEO work in the site, is there any chance at all some how goggle could drop the ranking?

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