|changing all content of a site|
I just aquired a really really great 9 year old, 2 word domain name. Unfortunatley, the previous content on it was horrible and not making any sales. There are quite a few pages indexed in google, but I want to remove everything and start fresh with some good quality content on this site.
If I remove everything and replace it, how will google view this big change? There are really just too many crappy content pages to redirect. Will I just have to hope and pray that they will eventually remove the old stuff from the index and include the new stuff, or is there something I should be doing to make this as easy as possible?
If the site wasn't ranking well, I wouldn't worry about making drastic changes.
If it is ranking well, my suggestion would be to keep the pages that were ranking well for their keywords, but have the links to them on your site less visible to the visitors.
It's my opinion that well-ranking pages on a site help "pull" the other pages up in rank. I can't verify that, but it's been my observation. Therefore, keeping the well-ranking pages will help the others, and eventually you can drop the old pages completely.
I heard of newly redesigned sites dropping rank so have been redesigning websites with only a handful of new pages per day instead of all at once and haven't experienced a problem with rank and in fact the rank has improved on all sites because the old sites had the same descriptions and titles and other problems detering a higher rank.
Of course this is only feasible if the new design is compatible with the old so the old pages don't look that much different from the new.
I recently acquired a site which had decent to good rankings for a number of search terms, but which had lousy design and weak content. I kept the basic link structure, used 301s on the pages I deleted or which were duplicative (including some rather lazy redirects of what had been entire folders), completely reworked the design, replaced the forums and renamed the directory (using only a general redirect of the old forum folder to the new forum homepage) and replaced 50 - 100% of the content on most pages with materials on the same subject, but with no regard for other factors such as keyword weighting when replacing the text.
The site content and quality is much better, Google has picked up the changes, and the SERPs changes have been modest and mostly favorable.
I admit, had this been a higher traffic site, or a huge actual or potential money maker, I would have been more cautious. And it is possible that for more commercially competitive keywords the results would have been different. But at least in this anecdotal example, huge changes were implemented with the user in mind, and Google seemed unbothered.
Thanks for the advice. Fortunately, there isn't much traffic at this point to be losing, so everything will pretty much be uphill. I'm ranking fairly well for some good keywords, but nothing that really pulls in the traffic yet. I guess I'll re-do the index page to start and redirect the pages that are at least ranking for a few things to start and scrap all the old ones that aren't doing anything good for the site.
The site has huge potential, but as it is now, and has been in the past, it is nothing, so I'm not concerned about losing what I have, just don't want to spoil things for the future.