Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Steven Ward on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, June 7, 2018).

What strategy do you use to improve the site and give it a boost?

Looking for some advice: Let`s say you take over a niche review website that has been left alone for a few years, but is actually ranking close to page one for a few decent keywords.

What strategy do you use to improve the site and give it a boost?

The site badly needs a re-design, so I`m thinking to do that first. But how do I approach the pages that are close page 1 on SERPs? Completely re-write them? Change them a little at a time? Make related blog posts linking to those pages?

I`m thinking to develop this as a bit of a case study. I don`t really care if the site never turns a profit, although that would be nice, of course.


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YOUR ANSWERS

Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Amber Greening: If they are currently ranking near page one. I would leave them alone and throw some links at them to see if that helps?
  • Steven Ward: I suppose I could try that. The content could really use some improving though.
  • Amber Greening: Then that would only help. I don`t really know your SEO level. But the first step is on page. If that is done right, powering up with some good backlinks is next.
  • Steven Ward: I’ve done the Clickminded SEO course and a bunch of reading but little actual experience.
  • Steven Ward: Thanks for your tips!
  • Frank Watson: Keep as much as the old page content as you can - then add updated info after looking at what is on top few sites for results
  • Frank Watson: Would add internal links to associated pages - can do a site:your domain +keywords ranking for
  • Frank Watson: Add a text box below the outliers to main page as a further suggested info or products
  • Steven Ward: Yeah a lot of the content is good but presentation needs improvement. In terms of content i am mostly thinking of adding new posts
  • Dan Thies: Identify the best content, use that to build social audiences and drive traffic.Clean up the site while that’s growing.
  • Cheryl L Yancey: Can you clean up the site without destroying & rebuilding it? (For example, like a WP site?) If so, then rebuild a little at a time (clean and polish). That might help the aesthetics.
  • Steven Ward: Indeed it is WP. That`s what I`m thinking too. Not going to do anything radical, just change things over time.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: Changing to a modern theme shouldn`t affect rankings adversely. That said - doing it in steps can help assure that... do the theme and let it settle for 3-4 weeks. Then after it settles, go through the content bit by bit. Modern themes (if they are any good) have some semantic HTML elements like nav, breadcrumb, aside, and article tags that most of the older ones do not have. So when you upgrade like this - there is still some math and background work going on in the search engines as it organizes its understanding of what is what on the page. Back before these tags, Google was pretty good at figuring out what was what - but once you add them, it can validate those old assumptions. We`ve done this strategy with old sites quite a bit over the past few years. If they are smallish sites (under 20 pages or so) we typically do it all at once. Anything greater than that and it`s a redesign first (along with maybe a new home page and some CTA elements in the sidebar to help drive some conversions). Then the content later. Never seen a site lose anything going this way - but have seen some good improvements. The highest risk area (though also one of the highest potential rewards if done properly and if it`s actually necessary) is changing the URL and primary navigation structure so everything is organized more logically. Long term risks are low - but this is the one action you can take that might make your listings drop for a few weeks because of new URLs and new link structure - so there`s a lot of off page data that has to shuffle, recalculate and all that fun stuff.
  • Steven Ward: Great info. Thanks! There are 20 blog posts and like 6 or 7 pages so I’ll go ahead and update the theme. I did change to https (from http) last night, but other than that I don’t expect I’ll need to do much with the link structure. Also there are less than 20 backlinks.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: Let the HTTPs settle for a bit, too. Technically that`s a URL change. A lot less background math going on, and (if you did it right) shouldn`t post a short term drop risk. If you have (or can create) a staging site - work on the theme on staging now and get it looking sexy - then push that live in 2-3 weeks (or whenever you get it done after a few weeks). Here`s some general info on the semantic html markup I mentioned above. https://make.wordpress.org/.../best.../markup/semantic-html/ Make sure the theme you choose is using that. You have a review site, too - so if that`s the case, make sure the plugin you`re using (or the reviews themselves) are leveraging the review structured data too. This is a little trickier - though many (if not most) review type plugins have it nowadays. This is the type of thing that can really make your listings pop if you have star ratings, can logically attach the review(s) to specific products (even on other sites) and so on: http://schema.org/Review
  • Steven Ward: Stockbridge Truslow it’s not a review site but lends itself to reviews quite well so that is what i was going to start adding
  • Stockbridge Truslow: Ahhh. Gotcha. I guess I misread that part. Sunday morning late start and only 4 sips of coffee before reading posts surely contributed to that. lol Keep the review markup in mind when you get there. The semantic HTML bits apply for every site - look for themes that talk about accessibility, HTML5, WCAG compliance, and all that fun stuff. Not all will have it, but it is a huge step forward to have those things and most of the key elements are just "set it and forget it" type things that automatically happen.
  • Steven Ward: No, I did mention reviews, but I didn’t quite realize until a few hours ago that there are just a couple actual reviews on it currently.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, June 7, 2018).

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