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Life Cycles Becoming CPU Cycles

Joined: Jan 02, 2003
Posts: 714
Location: Vancouver Island

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 7:23 am Reply with quote


I'm consulting for an emergency planning group in town. Their current website (circa 1996) is a mess, it's old, static, ugly and the developer left town. What they want is a CMS where the principals of the group can post their own news stories without learning any programming and they want interactive features. Enter moi!

Everything was going very smoothly and we were about to go live on the new .ca domain (re-directing the old .com domain for the next year or so) when someone, I don't know how much knowledge they have, said... "we can't change anything and if we do our google ranking will drop and we will be 'punished' by google if anything on the site changed or there are any re-directs."

Well, this bit of information got everyone all excited, and they asked me what I was going to do about it.

For me, it seems very clear ... the heck with google, let's put up a system that is new and fresh and useful to the members of the organization and google will figure out what google needs to figure out.

otoh, I don't know what kind of punishment google has in mind ... I don't know much about google at all.

Any ideas? Is this just a myth or does google really have a way to punish a domain if they change anything? Or, do I need more info?

"We want to see if life is ubiquitous." D.Goldin 
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Subject Matter Expert

Joined: Feb 23, 2004
Posts: 358

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 2:07 pm Reply with quote

Google is very proprietary and anally secretive about how they go about rankings and/or punishments. That being said, no human on this planet will be able to offer you a concise answer.

I converted such a site... a business entity that had static pages to a nuke 7.6. There was a lot of work involved into making it look more like a static site. I had to hack and re-code in things like individual page names, individual descriptions and individual keywords. In the end, you would not be able to guess it was even a Nuke site.

After a month or two, the site traffic started increasing, naturally since their website was now more interesting. Because of the extra traffic, we saw more googlebots showing up, and their page ranking INCREASED. Some of their new products started hitting blogs, which were posting backlinks, and ranking increased even more.

So, long story short... a temporary downturn in google rank should turn around and actually increase if you create a new website with content that will attract more interest. Google for sure places a good deal of importance on interest in your site from other sites and unique visitors. Content that is always unique, relevant, and constantly changing and/or being updated is always given a thumbs-up by any search engine.

I would tell your client that a small reduction in page rank might be expected and isn't unordinary. In the end, the work you did and the new content that they will be allowed to add to the site should ultimately increase their ranking in the long run.

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Former Moderator in Good Standing

Joined: Apr 30, 2004
Posts: 3221

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 5:25 pm Reply with quote

There wouldn't be any page rank for the new .ca domain initially though. If you're intending to change the site, point the old .com domain to the new hosting space.

- Star Wars Rebellion Network -

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:20 pm Reply with quote

Thank you for being so helpful. And I agree, adding new and interesting content is bound to help the rankings in the long run.

And about moving the domain ... of course, we will point the old domain to the new one ... but this is where there is an issue, that if google finds something different at the end of the re-direct, that they will punish you?

It all sounds a tad melodramatic, eh?
Site Admin

Joined: Aug 29, 2004
Posts: 9457
Location: Arizona

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:48 am Reply with quote

Unfortunately, moving to a brand new domain name is definitely an issue, but use 301 redirects from your old to the new. There is no way to avoid an initial "drop" in rankings. it is just inevitable.

You may even try to get sites that were previously linking to the old domain to change their links. Especially the high-quality (high rank) sites, get them to change if they will.

If you can also get a .gov or .org to point to the new domain, that will help.

Also, I would suggest that the new domain is not just on a yearly registration. Make it for 10 years and it will look less like a "spam site".

Eventually I will substantiate much of what I am saying above as I have been researching SEO topics and am planning a series on SEO / RavenNuke / PHP-Nuke on my blog. I have the outline and some initial content planned but not ready yet time-wise to write....

Where Do YOU Stand?
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Site Admin

Joined: Jun 04, 2004
Posts: 6433

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:51 pm Reply with quote

Is the site registered at DMOZ.org? If so, you might want to think twice about redirecting the .com domain to .ca. If not, definitely submit the domain there after you have the initial site set up with initial content, titles, descriptions, keywords.

Having fresh content doesn't necessarily hurt - Google likes change. But the content (visible content, as well as page title, header description, and title tags - not necessarily the META keywords) needs to be appropriate for the keywords you think people will use to find the site in Google.

I think evaders99 and montego were suggesting that the existing domain be pointed to the new server (if it changes), not necessarily to the new domain. That (simply moving the server) shouldn't have any effect on search engine rankings or pagerank, if all other things are constant.

Having an XML sitemap increases saturation (the number of indexed pages) for Google and (presumably) other search engines (Yahoo, Ask) that use that. Using ShortLinks might help increase saturation for other engines. Having higher saturation means there is more content for the engine to consider when finding search results, which increases the likelihood that your pages will be found.

If you have a lot of existing links to the current site, you might want to find a way to support those links via a static file, redirect or other approach, especially if you can't get them to change the links. Having links helps pagerank, but the impact on search engine placement is difficult to determine.

Although a link from a .gov might be helpful, I'm not sure having one from .org makes much difference since there are no controls on .org registrations. However, having a link from a .edu (accredited educational institution) domain is REALLY good (though not easy to accomplish...).

PHrEEkie's points are well taken - having a great CMS like RavenNuke, coupled with some additional tools like MS Analysis (statistics), nukeSEO (SEO utilities and dynamic sitemap) and NukeSentinel (tracking) can given you additional information and capabilities that a static site simply can't do. Once we upgrade nukeSEO, it could be considered for inclusion in RN, and I'd suggest we consider taking a hard look at adding MS Analysis as soon as it can be made compliant Smile.

Montego, my research isn't as fresh as yours, so I'd definitely appreciate your input and assistance on the upcoming upgrade for nukeSEO (thanks for the suggestions you've already given).

I search, therefore I exist...
nukeSEO - nukeFEED - nukePIE - nukeSPAM - nukeWYSIWYG
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:53 am Reply with quote

kguske, thank you for correcting the .org! I messed that up and meant .edu. Sorry about that! Embarassed I agree with everything you have said. Unfortunately, most of this is "art" and "experience" because SE algorithms are a closely guarded secret.

Regarding nukeSEO, we definitely need to get the Dynamic Titles "right" and CodyG, don't keyword stuff these. Page Titles serve TWO purposes: 1) SE ranking (i.e., getting good search engine placement in results) and 2) getting good CTR (click through rate). Keep in mind that CTR is determined by a human sitting on the other end of a search results page reading through the results text and having to make a decision as to which link to click... make YOUR link be the most likely link they click, which includes NOT playing "games"... people don't want to be "sold" on textual gimmics, they want relevant content when they reach your page.
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