Matthew Bailey, SES Advisory Board & President, Site Logic Marketing
The good news is that if you follow the rules, you can pull off all sorts of site architecture pandemonium. They had a scenario where they had to simultaneously change subdomain and 301 redirect 16 million URLs and were able to pull it off successfully.
Google’s algorithm is tweaked almost daily. Once or twice a year the changes are significant and get a name, like “Panda”.
Panda was a zero-sum game. For each site that lost rank and free organic position, another site took its place. The business directory site that is a Didit subsidiary doubled in traffic, then dropped and came back. Be patient and take all also changes with a grain of salt. Changes can occur from day to day.
Pagerank – inbound links still lie at the heart of the Google algorithm, but many additional relevance signals have been added because links can be gamed.
Google searches for social signals, mentions in gmail, chrome blocking, time on site, pageviews, bounce rate, page engagement, page load time, +1s, shallow content, non-unique content, advertising heaviness, and ad clutter on pages.
Don’t forget to use Google and Bing webmaster tools: use site maps and watch keyword data.
Also, use analytics data to see changes is most popular pages and changes in top keyword mix.
Never shut down the old site before testing the new site. Do a landing page or micro-site and do split testing, where a percentage of clicks go to the new site, while a majority still go to the current site.
for PPC you need great quality score conversion and great landing pages increase leverage. Landing page opportunities can be found by sorting by impressions and creating better landing pages.
tweaks vs. major changes
After you’ve identified a page with high opportunity, figure out how much you want to change and test. You may have a better existing page, so make sure to A/B test.
When considering major changes, make sure you consider returning customers, especially if they make up a large portion of your business.
American Meadows: Google poster child
there are many reasons for a site redesign / relaunch make sure they are good reasons. Will there be a benefit or is it just an ego or look and feel change?
- deep dive into taxonomy and on-page optimization
- full 301 redirect implementation
- feed Google specific signals
It’s hard to figure out the true results from a complete change because so many things are changed at once: design, structure, technology, etc. One thing that I’ve learned so far at SES, though, is that combining all of the different components into a cohesive plan is essential.
- iterate when possible le
- resist the opportunity to change everything at once
- have realistic expectations
- the dip is real; once you recover, ongoing detail work can take you to the next level
The scariest project I have ever undertaken.
- rule #1: don’t ruin what you already have. Assets, assets, SWOT analysis
- determine essential changes which can definitely be supported
- make a better website: easier to find by search engines, easier to search within the site, easier to encounter on social networks
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
Hippo – highest paid person in the org
It’s a sleight of hand trick. Distract the users while you’re changing something else
Domain age, inbound links, 14 years of content, traditional guest posts
Industry is changing,
SEW Pain Posts
- numbered URLs
- 301 redirects, orphaned pages, very old high ranking content
- site structure: current vs new, news vs columns, forums vs social media, subscriber content
what is a better web site?
Editorial goals such as:
- migrate site
- increase traffic
- increase usability
business goals such as:
Simplify your structure, taxonomy and categorization. IA is important when doing a relaunch.
What do you do with out of date content with historical SEO value? Do you rewrite or add updates? They decided to put a disclaimer on old content with a links to newer content
The more other signals going on in social and other channels at the time of the relaunch will help insulate you through the process.
Mobile site, auto ping people across channels when new posts are created. Social growth will help SEO growth. Social gives you immediate traffic and builds up SEO Traffic which follows later.
Track different types of users interaction with your site categories. Use heatmaps to figure out what your visitors are looking at to drive content and advertiser placement.
- increase your rate of publishing
- be skeptical in analytics
- use webmaster tools
- try to get a few big links to help you through