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Ranking Lost after New Site, Cleaner HTML, New Content
fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 7:14 pm on Jul 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

We relaunched our new website. The major change is that we used many DIV tags so we can have less Tables. There is no hidden content anywhere.

We were ranked well; within the TOP 5 for keywords targeted. However, our with our new site we dropped to the 2nd page and some cases 3rd page. In some cases, the our pages have a blank PR.

Anyone ever experience the same?

 

idolw

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 7:45 pm on Jul 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

you may want to read this thread: [webmasterworld.com...]

enigma1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 2:45 pm on Jul 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

What I see is as time passes, is the google results become more and more irrelevant to the search criteria I enter. Many of the results point to sites with lots of links and irrelevant content to what I am searching for.

Dictionary/links like sites or sites with lots of feeds seem to dominate the top results of various searches I checked.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 2:39 am on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

No way, you made your site BETTER and it got lowered in rankings? Now you know why some webmasters don't fight the good fight and simply resort to mass spam of all tactics available to game search.

In all seriousness however, my advice is to stay the course. If Google can't realize you IMPROVED your site for your visitors then it looks badly upon them, not you.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 2:57 am on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

If Google can't realize you IMPROVED your site for your visitors then it looks badly upon them, not you.


What has making a site good for visitors have to do with a spider (Googlebot) liking the site?

People revamp sites and make colossal mistakes everywhere from changing page names, titles, meta tags, losing H1s, fancy javascript menus and all sorts of pure nonsense that sends the page into the pits of the search engine.

I'm sure doing a quick review of the pages before and after the revamp will be illuminating.

fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 11:26 am on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

from changing page names, titles, meta tags, losing H1s, fancy javascript menus and all sorts of pure


The only significant change we made was the page names. Our site was never too fancy with javascript. We also had all the content redone by a professional copywriter!

Also, we noticed that our PR ranking is spread sporadically throughout the site? Some main pages are blank, other lower-lever pages have PR5?

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 11:34 am on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

You changed <title>Name</title> or <h1>Name</h1>?

johnnie

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 11:39 am on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

If Google can't realize you IMPROVED your site for your visitors then it looks badly upon them, not you.

Always easy to say if your income doesn't depend on the site in question.

fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 11:45 am on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

@tangor The file names were changed, all other elements were modified slightly.

errorsamac

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 12:50 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

If your URLs were changed, did you 301 the old URLs to the new URLs? If not, then there is your problem (or at least part of it). :)

fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 1:12 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

@errorsamac All 301s have been done.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 1:23 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

The only significant change we made was the page names. ... We also had all the content redone by a professional copywriter!


You can't do those things and expect to retain your original ranking.

Even if you 301 redirect from the old page to the new page, it will take time for Google to reindex and adjust the toolbar PR for the new pages, you may have PR but just can't see it. If the pages don't show up in the index where they previously did, that's a clue your new page has no juice, possibly since a copywriter redid your content so the content that was ranking very well is now gone.

IMO, too many variables have changed, you started over from scratch and now it sounds like Google has possibly reset your site back to zero.

You can wait on the current site to rank if you have patience, and possibly months (years), to wait while the new site gets the same ranking, if ever.

Reloading the previous website sounds like your only option to quickly regain what you had.

Seriously, I would probably start over and try upgrading one thing at a time. First, apply a new layout on the old site using the old page names and content to see if that regains your rankings. Second, see what happens with the new content by slowly replacing some of the better ranking old content. Lastly, I'd probably just leave the page names as-is, I've changed thousands at a time before and it's a big mess and takes patience to wait for ranking to update.

Also, what about the meta tags, did you also change your meta keywords and descriptions?

Not that they matter as much, but it all ads up in the end.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 1:24 pm (utc) on Jul 19, 2010]

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 1:24 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Last thing I ever change is the URI as that can lead to a start from zero, even with proper redirects... particularly if more than a handful are done at a time (less than 10).

edit: Was typing mine about the time Bill sent his!


About the only "trust" any search engine can give is the file name PLUS content. Content is supposed to change, update, modify... URIs usually do NOT. Unless there is something really seriously wrong with a filepath once indexed I would think long and hard about changing it.

fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 2:36 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google has possibly reset your site back to zero.


We fell to the 2nd and 3rd page; we are not completely out. Our home page maintained it's PR6. The old URLs are no longer indexed; would rolling back be too late now? META TAGS did change.

Whats strange is that we have a 0 PR on some of our main pages. And other pages that are not important have a PR5. It's like a PR Bomb went off on our site, wiping some pages to 0 and others to 5.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 2:46 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's like a PR Bomb went off on our site, wiping some pages to 0 and others to 5.


Well not exactly.

You changed the file names and the new file names aren't in Google's visible PR toolbar, you cannot determine anything from the toolbar alone at this point.

If the rankings only dropped from page 2 to page 3 you may want to just site tight and wait, possibly tweaking any text to make sure your ranking keywords are more prominent.

Here's a simple experiment, replace a handful of your old pages that ranked well back where they used to be and see if they return to their normal place in the search engine in a week.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 2:47 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

The old URLs are no longer indexed; would rolling back be too late now? META TAGS did change.


YES! Rolling back is too late. You'll send another set of directives and the first set hasn't been fully recalculated yet.

You need to sit back and relax. The change in URIs has a big impact on SERPs during the initial recalculation period and that will vary depending on scope of site, number of URIs changed, etc.

You also need to make sure there are no crawl errors being reported in GWT or whatever tool you may use to review those.

Expect at least a 2-4 week shuffle while old URIs get replaced by new URIs and do the dance. And, depending on the new URI structure, you could have easily taken a step backwards, it really all depends on what you've done and how you've done it.

TheMadScientist

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 3:19 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

People revamp sites and make colossal mistakes

Yeah, like they follow the Google Guideline to build their site for visitors not search engines and really mess things up almost every time!

Maybe they need to edit that one too, like adding 'almost' to the nothing a competitor can do to harm your site...

I think this might be more accurate:
"Build your site for visitors, not search engines, unless of course you already have a site built, then either don't update it or make sure you build it for us to see as the same, never mind cost, budget, visitor friendliness, and don't even think about changing the position of the links on the page, the text in those links, or even the page load order, because it'll tank you every time, so if you're rebuilding, feel free to do as you please, but don't really change anything if you want to retain your rankings..."

Not picking on you incrediBILL, but more the irony of the 'guidelines' people are advised to follow being a huge pit fall.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 3:45 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

My guidelines are simpler than google's

If it ain't broke don't fix it!

Fwiw, restoring the original pages within a reasonable timeframe has worked for me in the past

fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 7:02 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

If it ain't broke don't fix it!


Well after a few years, we decided to target certain services and drop others. We provided 4 types of services originally, and we scaled down to 2.
We wanted to make it easier for the users, and thought being more targeted would have helped the SERPs.

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 9:03 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

The file names were changed, all other elements were modified slightly.

OK, so here's my question:

If you take a page that ranks well for important keywords, and change nothing except for the file name, then link it into the site and simultaneously remove the original from your hosting account -- Does G see it as an entirely new page?

If so, wouldn't you lose the points you get for the "age of the page"? Don't we see the age of the site as one of the hundreds of criteria in the algo, so in this case, the page "age" would be loss? Or is that not a factor?

...................

fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 1:36 am on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Our Rewrite Rule in .htaccess was written as follows:
RewriteRule ^folder/keyowrd.htm$ /keyword.htm [L,R=301]

Is there anything wrong with it?

Its hard to swallow when you reduce code bloat, publish more and improved content, achieve links from excellent sources, and still get zapped!

arronsky



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 1:44 am on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

if you copied and pasted it, yes, there's a spelling mistake keyword.htm vs. keyword.htm (not sure if that's intentional)

fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 10:14 am on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes that was a typo, we usually write Rewrites as follows:
redirect 301 /keyword-A.php /keyword-B.html

jdancing

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 3:18 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

From what you describe, I would guess that your site will come back to where it was in the next 1 to 6 months. Hopefully this was not your main earnings site and just one of many.

Last year I switched one of my sites from .ASP to .PHP in a server move and redesign. I sweated bullets, but things worked out without a hitch. I did two things to increase my odds of success.

1. Historical content of about 40,000 pages of user created stuff all was archived in a fashion that for the visitor was out of sight except for a small a "archives" link but for the search engines it still had the same location and ASP extension via a URL rewrite. My thought was this would make the change look much smaller percentage wise for Google as the majority of the site's content still was exactly where it was before.

2. Any current articles or pages that were ranking well which I wanted to keep rankings, the 301 was done from old to new design/URL but the core content remained the same until I was sure things were stable.

You mentioned you got rid of two main services. If you just deleted those pages, is it possible to get them back and archive them at the exact same url they used to be? If they are take action type pages, you could add a note saying "this page is listed only for historical purposes". If these two services had a lot of pages, dropping these pages was just one more of several major changes you did at the same time on your site.

fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 5:50 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

is it possible to get them back and archive them at the exact same url they used to be?

Thats what we've done recently. Keep you posted on the results

enigma1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 8:42 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

You shouldn't be making redirects if you want to keep your old pages indexed and their rank. You accept the exact links and then you load the associated content and in the htaccess you have a rule to pass the input to a script to your new application with a lookup table or if there are just few links you could process them inside the htaccess.

You may need some code to avoid duplicates though so your seo code doesn't create new links that point to the old ones.

claus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 9:28 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

We also had all the content redone... (...) file names were changed


I think you will find the answer to your question in the above.

That, and new page titles plus new document structure means that what Googlebot sees is essentially a brand new site. So, it's placed in the sandbox for a while...

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 10:27 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

You shouldn't be making redirects if you want to keep your old pages indexed and their rank.


I do this all the time, especially to fix canonical issues, and Google usually has little problem following the old page to the preferred location and maintaining the page rank.

However, nothing else has changed on the page, everything remains the same so it's easy for Google to detect it's a simple move.

What the OP did was a wholesale site renovation, basically what a new owner of the domain might have done, totally different issue than a simple URL redirect.

jdancing

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 10:28 pm on Jul 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

We also had all the content redone... (...) file names were changed


Definitely, the main cause of problems. I guess the question is how can fashezee fix his site as quickly as possible. Since the site is basically a new site with the old links, I am wondering if a restore to the old site still might be the best option. The when the site comes back, then do the site upgrade the SE friendly way.

fashezee

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4172161 posted 10:34 am on Jul 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

If changing a page from SEARCHENGINEOPTIMIZATION.html to SEO.html and updating the content with new,
more detailed unique info is perceived as a 'faux pas'; then the Google guidelines of 'build for the user'- whats it good for?

Our local market is much more familiar with the term SEO these days as oppose to a few years back, where the companies we
were targeting had no idea what SEO was. Given companies know what SEO is now, it would have been better for us to shorten
the URL so that we can direct people to that page when they called - its much more practical for the user.

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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