Edited by Fitzillo, 29 August 2012 - 08:26 AM.
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Posted 29 August 2012 - 08:26 AM
Posted 29 August 2012 - 08:43 AM
Posted 29 August 2012 - 09:43 AM
Beyond that, I think Chris's query is a legitimate question.
While SEO is part of what I do, I'm more of an old-school webmaster with responsibilities for a lot of other things. I don't have time to waste chasing down problems that aren't really problems. And I, too, wonder why some website owners and SEOs seem to be so eager to find problems when their sites are actually performing well.
Not trying to call anybody out or put anybody on the spot. It's just sad how often we get people in here looking for help, because they tried to "solve" something they'd identified as a "problem" and screwed up perfectly functional websites that were (before the "repair") bringing in good revenue. Or we have to "talk down" people who are in a panic because they think there's something wrong with their site -- some indicator that doesn't mean anything changed somehow, or they read a blog post claiming the end of the world as we know it is coming (again) -- and they're tearing around like their hair's on fire looking for something to "fix" the "issue"... only it turns out, when we ask, their traffic, conversions and revenue haven't been affected at all.
In other words, there actually isn't an "issue" at all, when one stops to take a breath and really think it through.
The way I see it, Google and the other search engines are getting better and better at detecting the things we do to "optimize" our sites for the search engines. Frankly, they never wanted anybody to optimize for search. When you make a decision about your site based primarily on what you speculate might be the effect on search, you're doing exactly what they say to NOT do.
Yes, you have to keep technical concerns in mind. You don't want to just plow ahead and do something that breaks stuff unnecessarily. For instance, if your URLs change, you want to be sure to 301 redirect from the old to the new... but, you know, that's not just something to do for the search engines. It's good for people, too -- in case they had bookmarked the old URL, or they're following an outdated link from somewhere else. So that's something technical you do because it's good for people, that also happens to be good for search engines.
But deciding on whether to update your site software to the most current version based on whether the search engines will "like" it? I'm sorry, but that's silly.
Updating is the best thing for humans. It's best for you as the site administrator, because it brings your software up to the most recent version, keeping you up with current technology. It means you're not going to have to scramble at some point in the future when the old version of the software is no longer supported, or it breaks and can't be fixed or some other disaster befalls it. It's better for you as a site developer and a marketer, because it gives you access to new features and functionality that you might not otherwise have had. And that can make it better for your visitors, because they also get access to those new features (as soon as you incorporate them into the site, that is ).
The search engines are not going to penalize you for using current software. They run on software, themselves. They expect the underlying software that runs your site to be updated from time to time. New versions often contain security fixes -- why would the search engines downgrade a site for using more secure software? If hackers are able to exploit a security hole in your old software that was fixed in the newer version, NOT upgrading could cause your site a lot more problems that the upgrade ever would.
If the URLs must change because of the upgrade, 301 them. Then move on. I'd be willing to bet you're way overthinking this and it's not going to be as much of a problem as you think. Last year, I migrated from a hand-coded HTML site to one running on Wordpress. Every URL I had changed. I 301'd them all and we moved forward without a hitch.
Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:58 AM
Just for clarity, .. I have noticed a steady drop in the text search rankings. Yes, it's still profitable but it has definitely affected my bottom line. My goal is to increase business, not settle for something that is under-performing. In this part of the overall conversation, I was simply trying to figure out if the duplicate pages my cart creates could be one part of the problem. I do still rank well in image search but not text search anymore... so I figured it was one factor (of many) that made sense to look at and ask about.
Having said all that, Torka, the rest of your post was awesomely helpful, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience... it has given me a new perspective.
Edited by Fitzillo, 29 August 2012 - 11:12 AM.
Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:15 AM
IMO, duplicate pages could be part of the problem. Depending on what page naming conventions you use for the old and the new software, it might be possible to do something programmatically via .htaccess that redirects those old pages to the new without having to individually handle each of the 750 pages. (Somebody who knows more about regular expressions will have to help you with that part, though. Not my strong suit, sorry!)
If it were me, either way I'd bite the bullet and make the change now. It's the right thing to do in the long run, and it's just going to get harder the longer you wait.
My additional (So we're up to four cents now -- wheee!)
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