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Site Relaunch With Less And Different Content

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#1 mwisema1


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Posted 08 February 2015 - 07:42 PM

SEO newbie here! I'm working on a site redesign for a plumbing company. They want to switch their target audience from residential customers to commercial. The current site contains a lot of unique content about residential plumbing and their page rank is good. So I'm worried that when I relaunch the site without all that "residential" content, their page rank will suffer.


If I retain all the "residential" content and use 301s to redirect to it, or just keep the URLs the same - but don't include any links to that content (making it invisible to users of the new site) - will that work to retain the juice they've earned from the old content? Any suggestions for a better strategy? Thanks!

#2 chrishirst


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Posted 09 February 2015 - 08:18 AM



 and their page rank is good. 

Who cares! 


will that work to retain the juice they've earned from the old content?[/size]


#3 mwisema1


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Posted 09 February 2015 - 08:32 AM

Not sure what you mean by "who cares!"  I thought I should care about the client's page rank.


So just to clarify, you're saying that internal links to the content must be maintained in order to retain the page rank earned from that content?

#4 torka


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Posted 09 February 2015 - 10:47 AM

I think what Chris is saying is that no matter what you mean by "page rank" (whether you're talking about rankings in the search results or you're talking about the PageRank number), it's not necessarily a good measure of the "health" of the website. See, the first problem with checking search rankings is that those results are personalized. For everybody. Even for people who aren't logged in to a Google account. Which means that there's no guarantee what you see for rankings for that client is the same as what other people might see for their rankings.


(And of course the problem with the toolbar PageRank number is that it's hopelessly out of date, hasn't been updated in ages, likely will never be updated again, and didn't mean all that much even when it was being updated...)


The second problem with search rankings is that in order to check them, you have to select specific key phrases to check -- which may or may not be the actual phrases that prospective customers are using to search for your client's services. Any of us who have been in SEO for more than a few years have probably run into the client who desperately wants to rank #1 for some "vanity" phrase... something they noticed a competitor ranking well on... which is almost always a highly competitive phrase that will take a lot of time and effort to rank and which will bring in almost nothing in terms of useful traffic.


So having excellent rankings on such phrases also doesn't mean much in terms of helping the business. Increases the business owner's bragging rights, maybe, but doesn't do much for the actual bottom line.


The things to focus on are traffic and conversions. Are they going to see a decrease in traffic? Probably -- there are likely fewer people searching for commercial plumbing services than for residential. But I assume they have a good business reason for making this switch. For instance, I would imagine that the value of a single commercial plumbing job might be much higher than several residential jobs combined. This would mean they don't need as much traffic to be successful.


If the new site converts at the same or better rate as the old, that's a good metric to show the business to indicate that the new site is doing its job. They will likely lose some traffic due to there simply being less traffic for their new target phrases, and some due to the radical new direct of their business -- in essence, they're almost starting all over. But if the site is properly promoted, they should regain that traffic over time, and with a solid conversion rate in place, they will be gaining the maximum benefit from whatever traffic they do get.


My :02:


--Torka :oldfogey:

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#5 mwisema1


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Posted 09 February 2015 - 11:26 AM

Thank you so much! Very insightful.

#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 03:27 PM

Ignoring the Toolbar PageRank value, there is a benefit from leveraging the incoming (search-index-internal) PageRank-like value that search engines like Bing and Google assign to Websites: it drives crawl and helps keep a site in the higher tiers of their indexes.


What I normally recommend that people do when they are removing old content from a Website is put up a page that explains what happened and why and then redirect the old URLs there.  That is relevant to the old content and it preserves the flow of PageRank-like value to the Website.


Don't worry about keywords and rankings.  Think about what happens when someone follows those old links.


Some people feel overly anxious about these kinds of redirects but you can always use a "404 not found" redirect and still send visitors to the explanation of what happened to the content without passing on the PageRank-like value.


I have never encountered a problem with implementing these kinds of informative redirects either way.  Even when the old PageRank-like value stops at the 404 page, people who learn what happened may still help the site with future links.

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