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I'd like to start changing and updating the various pages of the site immediately to address these concerns. Do you think it's risky to do sitewide updates right now or should I implement them more slowly over the next couple weeks? Would at least like to tackle the homepage asap
In my (somewhat limited compared to yours I imagine) experience, if you have two sites on the same server sharing the same content, you can kiss goodbye to both of them in Google.
1. Keyword/phrase over usage. Known by seo experts as keyword stuffing. This is also the most commong form of over optimization and also the easiest to recover from. When you are trying to rank for a specific phrase, you want google to find that term. Many webmasters will do this by placing the same term in the page title, url's, meta tags, body text, anchor text, header tags etc etc. It is important NOT to do this. Google will know what the subject of your site is without having to repeat the same phrase over and over. That just gives a poor user experience. Not only that, google will know you're trying to game the system. You could possibly overcome this by strong content and a good backlink profile, but it will likely still hold you back in some way or another.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:43 am (utc) on Apr 24, 2012]
However, as has been a hygiene factor with website building, I suffix the website name at the end of the title. (Eg: Big blue widgets for sale - ExactMatchDomain.com)Any chance you could elaborate on that? I've never actually done the suffix although, interestingly, Bing does in fact suffix the site's name to the end of the titles in their SERPs. In any case, what is the hygiene factor you're talking about? In case the page gets copied wholesale? I'd like to learn more about it. Thanks!
2. Redirects. I seen a major competitor just lose its number 1 position after holding it steady for 3 years. This site was not only number 1 for this industry, but its also one of the top 500 most popular websites in the USA. It is a huge huge brand and it has just dropped to position #7 after being #1 for 3 years. One thing I noticed about them is they redirect several domains to their main site and they have bought out competitors over the years and just redirected them to their main site. Be careful not to redirect too many sites to your main business, and if you do, make sure to follow recommended procedure as offered by google.
1. Keyword/phrase over usage. Known by seo experts as keyword stuffing. This is also the most common form of over optimization and also the easiest to recover from.... (etc)
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:06 am (utc) on Jul 30, 2012]
[edit reason] added quote box and edited quote [/edit]
what you described is a bad practice. It is over-optimization with all its consequences (lost ranking, authority and whatever).
[edited by: tedster at 5:53 am (utc) on Sep 6, 2012]