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  1. #1
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    Replacing HTML site with WordPress - SEO Implications

    Hi

    I built an HTML site for a client a 3 years ago. It is well optimised and comes number 1 on Google search for all their most important search terms.

    She has recently contracted me to rebuild this site in WordPress. The layout and content will be pretty much the same, but she wants to have more pages and do blogs/ galleries/ videos etc.

    I am just starting on this site and it will go live in January. We want to minimise any downtime.


    My question is, by remaking the site on the same domain in WordPress, do I run the risk of losing the SEO?

    Has anyone got any experience or tips on this?

    Would it be better to keep the same HTML homepage and link this to WordPress? (this has been suggested by the client but I don't think she will get a lot of the benefits of WP with a static home page).

  2. #2
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    You can either build the WordPress site offline or at another location while in production. Or you can build it alongside the current site and just not link to it until it's ready. (For example, if the current home page is called index.html, the WP index.php can happily sit alongside index.html and the viewing public won't see the WP files at all (until you delete the index.html.)

    Once you are ready to launch the WP version of the site, certainly have the home page served up by WP, but just make sure to redirect any old page URLs to the new page URLs via an .htaccess file. That will keep Google happy.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot Spartinman's Avatar
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    Your SEO will actually be better just by the makeup of PHP in wordpress. Trust me. Also, selecting the right template/design will have a big impact on that. Just make sure it is a clean design with clean code and no "fillers".

  4. #4
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    Yes, you need to be extra careful. you will feel bad if the rank drops for some known or unknown reason after a hard work. What I would do:

    1. Keep the Static files remain there.
    2. Start developing in a Sub-domain with WordPress Privacy ON and Robot.txt active.
    3. Finish the new design.
    4. Content: Copy and paste content from Static sites to WP site.
    5. URL Redirection: Do a extensive and detail oriented work on URL migration. I will take help of Google WebMaster Tools for this. If possible keep the URL of both the site same, it is highly possible. If your sttatic site URL is conventional then create bunch of 301 redirection using WP Plugin.
    6. Move existing Static site to a Folder to preserve copy of original site.
    7. Move your sub-domain WP files to root location.
    8. Download/Export .SQL file from PHPMyAdmin. Open it in Text-Editor like NotePad++ and run a "Find and Replace" of your Old Domain to New Domain, say, prod.domain.com to www.domain.com.
    9. Empty data and Import the updated .SQL script.
    10. Make the WordPress Privacy OFF.

    LIVE.

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  5. #5
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartinman View Post
    Your SEO will actually be better just by the makeup of PHP in wordpress. Trust me. Also, selecting the right template/design will have a big impact on that. Just make sure it is a clean design with clean code and no "fillers".
    Sorry but that's nonsense. Anything WordPress can you, you can do at least as well in good old HTML. The advantage of home made code is that you can get it to do exactly what you want, whereas any template or CMS is likely to limit you to some extent and mean that you have to make some compromises. In terms of design or function, there's nothing that WordPress does that you can't do yourself - the reason for using a CMS is for convenience of creation and maintenance, not because it's technically better.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    I partly agree with Stevie D, regarding the nonsense post that a blanket statement that WP will make it better simply because of the magic combination of PHP/WP however in many cases you can leverage the CMS and make a marked SEO improvements with more flexibility in page titles, navigation, meta tags (if you still believe in them), XML-Sitemaps, keyword rich URLs, etc... I have some experience in this area and have made really poor performers turn around and become top performers. However, as you know it's more difficult when the website is already a top performer.

    My chief concern would be how many pages does the site contain and how many of these pages are the ones that perform well in the search results. It's likely that only a fraction of the pages are performing well in the SERPs and those are the ones to be aware of.

    One part of my strategy would be to use the .htaccess to do a 301 redirect from the existing paths of top performing pages to the new ones.

    Code:
    RewriteRule ^old-page.htm http://www.example.com/new-wp-url [R=301,L]
    The rest depends on why the site gets good SERPs. I'd spend some time figuring that out and then makes sure that the new site retains or improves on those areas.

    Note: Don't forget just because a site does well this week or the last 6 months doesn't mean it will last. Google does updates and people move around in the ranks. I used to have my business website in the #1 spot for the terms I chose but over the past year I've gone anywhere from 4th to 24th and currently I'm #14, so on page 2. It's fine because my site is well over 10 years old and needs to be replaced but it's something to keep in mind... When you're #1, you can only retain or move downward.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    the reason for using a CMS is for convenience of creation and maintenance, not because it's technically better.
    Yeah! that's the point.

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