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New Site Launch With Limited Success


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6 replies to this topic

#1 taterchips

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 11:46 AM

Hi,

Hoping to get some help/input/advice from the experts.

I am a healthcare provider - local business, no ecommerce, informational site with the purpose of driving local business to my clinic location. I had a website for about 8 years that was outdated, but ranking top 3-5 for relevant local searches in my particular business/city. In July 2011 I launched a brand new site. I spent a year building this site - all original content, well written/non-spammy. I spent many, many hours reading and learning how to properly optimize the site, both on-page and off, did my keyword research, wrote great titles and descriptions, etc. Launched a blog on the same domain writing original, keyword targeted blogs with links directed to appropriate pages on the site, listed in directories, verticals, IYPs, local directories, profession specific directories, Yahoo Directory, etc.

I submitted a XML sitemap through Webmaster Tools for this site, using hcard markup on the site for NAP info, KML file and sitemap on-site, etc. Basically, trying to do everything right this time around. The old site was a comedy of errors but ranked very well, so I figured if this site was impeccable I could rule the planet with it. 54 pages were submitted through WT, with 50 pages indexed.

So, after launch my plan was to let the site percolate and climb the rankings before shutting the old site down. In the first month I climbed to page 2 and by month 2 I had dropped to 600-700 for relevant local searches. At this point I learned a painful lesson about change of address and 301 redirects.

On October 3, 2011 I had 301s set up to redirect pages (8) from the old site to appropriate pages on the new site, and submitted change of address requests through WM Tools. In the 3 weeks since, I have climbed to approximately 300-400 for relevant local searches. I also filed a reconsideration request for the new site and received a message letting me know there were/are no violations or penalties. My old site continued to rank well through Panda updates, so I don't think that is an issue with the new site since directories and links are very similar between sites.

So, a couple of questions:

1. How long does it typically take for the new site to climb back up (in a somewhat non-competive industry) after a launch and redirection from an established site?

2. I haven't taken care of internal linking on the new website other than on a couple of the 70 or so pages. How much benefit will that have with more internal links/pages pointing to the new homepage? I plan to do some more reading before I take on this task so it is done correctly.

3. The current site has a flash menu system and flash animation, although the pages that the flash menu system point to have been indexed. I am currently working on removing all flash from the new site and replacing it with a static/text menu system. Will this be of any benefit considering the new site has been successfully indexed?

4. What is of the most benefit at this point (other than time) for helping to build up authority/rank for the new site?

Sorry for the long-winded question, but considering the time I've put into the new site I want to make sure I give the most coherent explanation of my situation. Thanks in advance for the help!!

Keith

#2 Jill

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE
1. How long does it typically take for the new site to climb back up (in a somewhat non-competive industry) after a launch and redirection from an established site?


Depends on a zillion different factors. Could be anywhere from 1 day to never.

QUOTE
2. I haven't taken care of internal linking on the new website other than on a couple of the 70 or so pages. How much benefit will that have with more internal links/pages pointing to the new homepage? I plan to do some more reading before I take on this task so it is done correctly.


You don't have global navigation that all links to the home page? How do people get back to it?

QUOTE
3. The current site has a flash menu system and flash animation, although the pages that the flash menu system point to have been indexed. I am currently working on removing all flash from the new site and replacing it with a static/text menu system. Will this be of any benefit considering the new site has been successfully indexed?


You don't need to remove the Flash, but you do need an alternative menu that is not Flash. This is critical, and it's likely what's causing the problems with your current low levels of search engine traffic.



#3 taterchips

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 02:49 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Oct 27 2011, 11:36 AM) View Post
Depends on a zillion different factors. Could be anywhere from 1 day to never.
You don't have global navigation that all links to the home page? How do people get back to it?
You don't need to remove the Flash, but you do need an alternative menu that is not Flash. This is critical, and it's likely what's causing the problems with your current low levels of search engine traffic.


I do have global navigation from both flash menu up top and header beneath. What I meant was the majority of pages on the site have no links inside the content pointing to other pages.

The flash menu items are mirrored by same in the footer, but my understanding was it is more beneficial to have text menu items at the top of the page.

#4 Jill

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 03:19 PM

If your navigation is spiderable, then it's not necessary to have links within the content.

It's sometimes helpful to your users, however. Good to direct them to relevant, related information.

#5 ScottSalwolke

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 01:40 PM

QUOTE(taterchips @ Oct 27 2011, 11:46 AM) View Post
I am a healthcare provider - local business, no ecommerce, informational site with the purpose of driving local business to my clinic location. I had a website for about 8 years that was outdated, but ranking top 3-5 for relevant local searches in my particular business/city. In July 2011 I launched a brand new site. I spent a year building this site - all original content, well written/non-spammy. I spent many, many hours reading and learning how to properly optimize the site, both on-page and off, did my keyword research, wrote great titles and descriptions, etc. Launched a blog on the same domain writing original, keyword targeted blogs with links directed to appropriate pages on the site, listed in directories, verticals, IYPs, local directories, profession specific directories, Yahoo Directory, etc.


I'm curious why didn't you just put the new site on the current url. It would have made things a lot easier if it was feasible.

#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 01:59 PM

If your navigation is done in Flash, you are probably suffering in part from a delay in the processing, as the search engine has to convert your Flash links (which it should be able to do) into normalized HTML links and then inject those into the crawl queue. I have no idea of how much lag time that creates or if there is an unintended loss of value.

It's generally not recommended that you use Flash for navigation.

#7 taterchips

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 02:28 PM

@Scott:

At the time I wasn't aware of the problem with having 2 sites with similar content. My plan was to let the new site climb in the rankings before removing the old, and it turns out that strategy is what got me into the trouble I'm in. In hindsight, you're right, I should have just launched the new site under the old domain.

@Michael:

I've done a fair bit of user testing since I launched the site, and have decided the flash portion of the site (as well as stock photos and color choices) need to go away. The site comes off a little bit too gimicky and I think this will up the trust factor. The load times are actually pretty good from what I see in Webmaster tools, but given the option between the two I think the flash can ride off into the sunset.

Thanks for everyone's help. Much appreciated.




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