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There's a wealth of evidence that you'll do much better visualizing a 'virtual partnership', where you build a good site, and Google builds good serps.
"incurring more of the wrath of Google" really will not get you far - Google is a complex of computers and software and really has no wrath.
You'll thank me later ;)
Not advisable but sometimes needs must, I'm doing a "rolling" redesign/content update while keeping the original file-paths, and so far so good.
Never heard of LAMP so can't help you there, and the best time to get some new SEO input is ab initio, IMO...
Google giveth a natural search spike last week and then Google tooketh by week’s end.
Google dances on the weekend quite often.
I've been doing a site redesign without major SERP problems. Some things are up, some are down. It's not clear that there's been any penalty over many changes in a short period of time.
I try to minimize the number of new pages, keeping the old urls as often as possible. I suspect the main issue to Google is the relative increase in total pages for a week or month.
I also suspect its programmers understand there's no need to penalize a webmaster who's trying to better user experience.
They may even check a redesigned site (a lot of page changes) to see if it's been overoptimized, and then issue penalties if necessary.
P.S. I check SERPs of major key phrases daily to see if any changes upset Google.
Really want to know more about totally changing platforms and how LAMP fares in search.
Thanks again, for everyone's thoughts.
There has admittedly been a drop from page 1 to page 2 on Google's results for my main keyword. But that might have happened anyway. For some reason Google doesn't particularly like my very thorough, comprehensive site (with tens of thousands of organic incoming links) compared to some of the single-page wonders with a handful of incoming links that are above me.
Anyway, WP makes it easy to add new content, I'm using the blogging software to add lots of new material, and the verdict's still out on what the longterm outcome is. Somehow I cling to the hope that good content -- and lots of it -- will win out in the end.
These factors are not mysterious - we talk about them all the time here. But still CMS systems keep popping up that generate weak mark-up or even pages that are dead wrong. Make sure that your content creators understand the importance of title elements and meta descriptions, plus H1 and H2 tags. And make sure the CMS empowers them, rather than obstructs them.
Also make sure your content creators cannot subvert your intentions by hiding links on the page, and so on.
preserving as many of the URL's as possible would be more efficient for content updates
Preserving URLs is good, but not if the new system needs to do pretzel yoga to accomplish it. 301 redirects within a domain can kick in relatively quickly if you need to change the urls for established content. However, you are right that the best policy is to preserve your important URLs unscathed.
I think more trouble gets generated by technical errors than by technically sound site restructuring.
I know you do not make recommendations here, but being this is an expensive proposition both in fee and potential business loss from poorly or subversely executed coding, is there a way to clearly check on our end that everything is going as hoped for?
Are there any advance signs in a CMS to avoid? Any checklist besides your already mention title elements and meta descriptions, plus H1 and H2 tags, and superflulous links?
One more question, that more a cart before the horse situation or vise versa: Is it more efficient to have a SEO and/or linking strategy strategy consultation before or after the redesign to ensure a better start?
Thank you again.
Make sure that each "page" of content has only ONE canonical URL that can be used to access it.
Most CMS driven sites have several to many dozens of Duplicate Content URLs that cause serious indexing and ranking issues.
We're using LAMP apparently (didn't know the term before ;)) but that hasn't changed. Same server, different CMS, still PHP based with SEO friendly URL's.
I really don't think these things matter that much, as long as you keep the basics of SE friendly pages (not over-optimized) - other factors will determine how well your site does in the SERP's, IMHO.