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    To overhaul ranking site...or not?


    Hey everyone,

    I've got a long-standing site, I got on-board with SEO pretty early (we're talking 2005 ) - it ranks highly and, somehow, has done for a dozen years now.
    The architecture of the site is pretty old though and has been layered over the years with what's likely some less-than-ideal PHP code. But it is pretty fast, responsive and mobile friendly to an extent (room for improvement, scores 70 odd percent on that front).
    That's the front-end at least, page optimisation/coding on internal pages isn't great and many of the URLs are non-canonical, though my dev made an attempt to update some.

    It's now at the stage of needing a bit of an overhaul, I thought maybe it'd be beneficial to move to a Wordpress platform but, given the excellent ranking, I'm also aware this might not be worth dicing with? I suppose ideally, I should leave all current structure and links in place where possible and maybe just keep face-lifting it and trying to improve code where possible?
    My dev said canonicalizing would be a "big job" but isn't this just a case of making an index list of alternative SEO-friendly URL's and implanting the alternatives into the title headers?
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    One way to do this...

    Make a current list of all urls on the site now.

    Give the site a face lift, also using WordPress is a good idea, but keep the url structure the same if possible.

    For any url that needs to be changed for seo reasons, you can 301 redirect the old url to the new url in your htaccess file. This way all existing backlinks will take users to the correct page on your updated site.

    Your dev is right, and it is not as easy as you think !. If you have never done this type of overhaul, you can easily ruin things. You should farm this work out unless you know exactly what you are doing.

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    • goof agrees
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    If your users are starting to have a hard time with the website, then overhaul it. After all, the users should be the primary consideration while the ranking is only secondary.

    Touching structure and links should also be user-dependent (pretty much anything really). But you can always employ redirects for any URL changes.

    I didn't quite get the last paragraph though. Canonicalising (as far as I know) is to be done when you need to maintain 2 or more pages with the same content. Not sure this needs to be part of the process if you do decide to overhaul.
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    Thanks for the replies. Yes Sandy, usability is key.

    KnowOne, could you indicate what the benefits of transplanting the content into Wordpress might be? I'd anticipated this would improve mobile responsiveness & compatibility but my dev didn't seem convinced (on that front at least).
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    Is this website how you feed your family? If yes, don't fuss with it,

    Are you experiencing traffic / conversion loss due to its dated nature? If no, don't fuss with it.

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    • KnowOneSpecial agrees : Exactly, if it ain't broke don't fix it
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    No no don't make a structural changes to the website, fix the errors if you can, for canonical things you should use Google webmaster/console also it is better to play more with GM than structural changes
    Last edited by Prof.stan; Jun 26th, 2018 at 01:29 PM.
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    Originally Posted by goof
    could you indicate what the benefits of transplanting the content into Wordpress might be?
    Well for starters, you would not need developers to manage the site after you learn the ropes with WP.

    You can use a perma-link plugin so you can create a seo friendly url structure. In addition there are many other plugins that can make one's experience with WP nice and easy.

    Most people can learn WP in a very little amount of time. All hosting providers, of any worth, support WP, some better than others.

    There, just a few reasons that WP can be a good choice.

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    • Prof.stan agrees
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    Originally Posted by KernelPanic
    Is this website how you feed your family? If yes, don't fuss with it,

    Are you experiencing traffic / conversion loss due to its dated nature? If no, don't fuss with it.
    I definitely see the point especially the part with family. However, by failing to take action one might be missing out on bigger opportunities. Yeah he's probably not losing traffic or conversion but what if he could actually gain more by improving the website. But yeah, that's a big IF.

    However if he wants more, he has to do something.

    ... and be prepared to suffer the consequences.

    Comments on this post

    • goof agrees
    • Doodled agrees : Fair point!
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    It is how I feed my family, so thanks for the input, although it's left me even more undecided I realise the key point is no-one has a crystal ball.

    I don't think it's losing traffic but I'm conscious that nothing's a given with G and I need to keep it moving with the times (though, as you all pointed out, that can be a risk in itself).

    I know a little HTML and I'm sure I can pick up WP easily enough, I've just had 2 other sites built in WP for other areas I'm trying to diversify into, so I guess I'll have to learn anyway!

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