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Rewriting text on a ranked page... good or bad?

     
7:24 pm on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We have some pages that rank very well for a few popular keywords. The content was written several years ago and has a few typos that we want to correct. We also want to change some of the text and add new information as well.

Do you guys think there is any risk in changing text and images around on a ranked page? Or could making minor changes (adding text, removing text, adding images) cause the page to lose its ranking?

Maximus
1:45 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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FWIW my opinion is to do it slowly. Fix typos first, watch logs over a week or three. If OK add new content.

We changed (fixed) a title for a top ranking page some years ago and it literally vanished overnight and took months to return.
12:37 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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On the other had a minor tweak can sometimes push a page up a few places as well.
3:26 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Rewriting text on a ranked page... good or bad?


Depends ...

... sorry, but the way search engines work now there is no such thing as black and white on any individual ranking object. I have dozens of sites. On some, changing the text even slightly could tank their rankings - on others I could rewrite the whole page and not skip a beat.

We changed (fixed) a title for a top ranking page some years ago and it literally vanished overnight and took months to return.


Beware posts like this that quote personal experience for a single site. It has absolutely no bearing on what might happen to your site or the best way to go about it.
6:35 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Interesting, thanks for the feedback guys. Going to just leave as is. Might just correct the typos for now :)
9:18 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This can be seen from 2 sides:

- does it work? then why fix it?
- anyway, I would fix it, slowly but I will (but that's me: i hate having pages wth wrong info)
9:50 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"wth wrong info" exactly, this is my main issue. Wrote it all in a hurry a few years ago and now everyone is reading it!
10:28 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Most of the time, a good ranking depends more on backlinks (plus title tag and anchor text) than it depends on the basic HTML text on the page. If you don't touch those more sensitive areas, then small tweaks to the basic text are usually just fine. New images are usually no big deal either.

However, if you plan to make major edits, or to expand/reduce the amount of on-page text to a significant degree, then a good ranking can go wobbly. Or it can improve, too - it's just that you should recognize that you are into a more sensitive area.
11:01 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Tedster..
11:56 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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A high rate of change on a page sends a poor quality signal.
1:02 am on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Depends on the page. If you run a current news section or a busy blog, then your home page for that area is naturally going to change pretty fast. But if you change a product information page twice a day for a week or more - yes, that's not so good an idea.
8:44 am on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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A high rate of change on a page sends a poor quality signal.


Absolute nonsense!

Whilst I totally agree with tedster's comments, I don't think he was harsh enough on the instigating statement. It needs to be made very clear to newbies that fresh pages DO NOT send "poor quality" signals.

Changing the text, title, linking structure etc. can change ranking ... obviously! Google sometimes heavily drops pages that make important changes for a period but the reasons are nothing to do with "poor quality".

WebmasterWorld forum pages change every few minutes, it's rankings seem to be doing fine.
7:02 am on Apr 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In my experience doing what the OP suggests will almost certainly cause no problems. I have information based websites that I make minor changes to infrequently and AFAIK this has never damaged my rankings. Even a full rewrite of the page content should not cause problems provided that the keywords are retained in all the right places.

Also, if the page's ranking comes mainly from off page factors then clearly you can get away with even more.