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Full Site Re-Design - Things to Consider
aok88




msg:4428109
 1:03 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am dealing with an ecommerce site that is 15k pages and over 8 years old that was Pandalyzed and now does about 40% less in traffic year over year.

We decided that the best thing to do was to start over with the site, do a redesign, improve the info architecture, do layout fixes, add new original content for some important pages, etc.

There are tons of things to consider when doing this. Among them are baking into your new design as many best practices for your industry as possible. Another is to add social features where applicable, such as Twitter and FB buttons, and oh yeah, Google+ buttons too. And you need to consider which pages, if any, are you going to 301.

Re-designing a site also gives you the opportunity to consider moving hosts, changing your url structure, maybe adding subdomains, changing your analytics provider, and more.

This site I am redesigning got hacked a number of times over the years, and the host is so bad that no one answers, ever, when you call support so you have to leave a voicemail that doesn't get returned.

So, needless to say, I am moving hosts with this redesign. My two questions are:

1. Is there a threshold for number of 301's? I don't want to or need to 301 all 15k pages, nor would I think that is a good idea. But how many could I do without causing Google ranking/indexing problems? 10%? 50%?

2. If the domain registration does not change, but I change the host and the entire design, would also changing the ownership of the Google Analytics trigger Google to think it was a new entity taking over the site and reset it's power/juice/rankings?

 

goodroi




msg:4428120
 1:48 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sorry you are having trouble. I am a little worried by your question about the 301 redirects. Are you doing the 301s to help the user experience or as a Google shortcut?

Many sites impacted by Panda were impacted by Panda because they took too many shortcuts. If you are going through all of the hard work to relaunch the entire site I doubt you want to take shortcuts.

A 301 is only needed if there are external websites linking to your page. If a page only has internal links pointing to it, a 301 is not really necessary. Most e-commerce sites have very few pages with inbound links from external sites (check your log files). Based on my experience I wouldn't be surprised if you had less than 300 pages with inbound external links. Those 301 redirects might be able to be reduced further by using some wildcard expressions in your htaccess file.

Marketing Guy




msg:4428122
 1:56 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

1. 301's will be fine - just completed a similar project with 40k URLs. In my case I removed most of the pages and enough had inbound links for it to be worthwhile redirecting them to the homepage. Google WMT is a good place to start to check for IBLs and see what you need to redirect.

2. Nope, you'll be OK. Again, I just moved host, completely changed design and redirected the above URLs. Recovered from Panda within a couple of months.

To be honest though, these things are just your tools and not particularly a strategy for recovery which comes more from analysing & reviewing your content.

netmeg




msg:4428123
 1:57 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

About a year and a half ago I took a midsize ecommerce site from OSCommerce to Magento, and I posted a checklist of the various things I was doing here:

[webmasterworld.com...]

If that's of any help to you. FWIW that site was never pandalyzed or in any trouble (other than the trouble that is native to OSCommerce structure, ork ork) and after about four months, it *really* took off in Google. Now it's getting about three times the search engine traffic it was getting when we converted. But the client also has a lot of other channels going as well - PPC, a monthly 80 page catalog, weekly email campaigns, etc. So we never dipped in overall traffic, but we did dip in Google for about three weeks.

Planet13




msg:4428188
 5:04 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but...

Isn't Panda really about the content?

Aside from "...add new original content for some important pages...", what else are you doing to address the CONTENT issues?

Again, apologize if this is a dumb question and I missed something. I just thought that Marketing Guys comment that "...these things are just your tools and not particularly a strategy for recovery which comes more from analysing & reviewing your content," was spot on.

aok88




msg:4428229
 6:23 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

I love this forum, thanks for all the good responses.

goodroi, I am only 301-ing only pages with IBLs

Marketing Guy, maybe I didn't get what you wrote, but did you end up 301-ing all 40k pages and found it to be no problem? Were there any pages you 301d that did not have IBLs?
And yes, I totally understand that these are just tool and that a lot more is needed. I simply didn't list all I was doing here.

netmeg, thanks for the info, I'll check it out.

Planet13, what planet are you on? Just kidding. No, I get what you're saying and content is certainly important. But...my Panda theory (and this is obviously for another thread) is that it was about site structure, info architecture, internal and external duplicate content, pagination problems, broken links, crawl issues, page speed, user engagement, deep IBLs and lots more. My redesign I think addresses all of this compared to how the site is now. Only if you get all that right do you then get to 'compete' with good and orignal content relative to your industry.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4428300
 9:59 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

There are tons of things to consider when doing this. Among them are baking into your new design as many best practices for your industry as possible. Another is to add social features where applicable, such as Twitter and FB buttons, and oh yeah, Google+ buttons too.
I'll never have these on my sites. I'd rather close them down that have those buttons on them. My pages load fast. I don't need slow loading buttons with companies that also have privacy issues.
aok88




msg:4428539
 12:24 pm on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just found this line from another post from Marketing Guy (to answer my own questions above)

There's been some speculation about how to manage old content - I 301'd everything to an appropriate page. Seemed to be just fine.

Marketing Guy




msg:4428544
 12:41 pm on Mar 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

It was a forum that I removed - had been around for years so loads of threads had natural IBLs. 301'd all to the homepage with no issue. The lion's share probably had no IBLs but basically I weighed up the options (don't 301 at all, selectively 301, create new content for core rankings, etc) and issues (did I want loads of people hitting 404's, etc) but the quick fix of 301 all to a single page (the homepage) was the most effective in terms of time / resource committment.

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