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New Client - Looking for Feedback on Updating Existing Content

Should I update page titles, meta description or leave alone?

6:53 pm on Oct 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member from US 

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joined:June 14, 2010
posts: 612
votes: 8

Hi All - I'm looking for a bit of advice in a what would you do kind of fashion. We all know that Google can get kind of jiggy when content is updated, and I'm trying to avoid a negative impact on changes.

I recently took on a new Client, which includes correction of many technical errors, site optimization, content optimization, etc. I've finished with the technical portion and starting to prepare for the content optimization. Their website is well established and they rank fairly well for many of the higher volume targeted phrases they've been after. Many of the pages are in positions 1-5.

Their site was converted to WP in December, and since that time they have slowly lost a lot of long-tail traffic to their core pages. Overall site traffic is down 60-70% across all core pages since the change. The technical issues, IMO, were not anything that would lead to this level of drop. The content however has been thinned down significantly.

The page titles and meta descriptions, which I realize are not as important as before, are a mess. If they're targeting a 2 word phrase, that's the new page title. No title is longer than 3-key-words. Matching H1, and no other headings anywhere on the page. The meta-description is [kw page title] [company name] [kw page title] and is all automated through an SEO plugin. Goog is showing its own titles in the SERP, versus the titles ([seopage title - company name] they have in place, but does show the matching meta description. The page content, while it is super-focused on the shorter, high volume single phrase they are after, is as thin and weak as the titles/descriptions.

My questions and reason to step back before changing:

If/when I change these page titles and descriptions, am I shooting myself in the foot by changing something that's working for short-phrases, but may be partially behind the loss of long tail?

Instead of changing the page titles, meta, should I focus on the page content instead? Adding in verbiage to recapture the longtail, and present the page better to visitors.

For what its worth - they drive PPC to the same pages with very low conversions.

Looking for opinion... Thanks in advance.
3:09 am on Oct 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
votes: 752

I'm not sure what this might mean, but three out of three clients that changed to WP have all seen diminishing returns after conversion. Tempted to say that moving to a lowest common denominator CMS is the root cause, yet there are so many other WP sites that excel. Just saying...

Keyword focus and content should go hand in hand, though I personally lean toward content as more relevant.

h1, in and of itself, does not have the same ranking signals as the old days, but remains important for providing user experience and serp help. There is also the possibility that competition in niche is eroding serp share: more players, less pie....

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