Changing a well ranked page

I’m in a bind and I don’t know what to do. We have about 10 pages of content, a few of which are ranking well in our keyword. Most importantly, we have a single page that’s ranking page 1 number 1 for one of our top keywords.

The problem is that the page sucks. When it was written a long time ago, it was poorly written, hard to understand, and our bounce rate on this page is 58%, one of the worst pages we have.

The question is, do we edit this page to not suck, or do we leave it alone and make an entirely new page that covers the same topic but does a much better job of it? We’re not talking about a few edits, we’re talking about reworking all the content on the page. Even though it will essentially be the same thing, it will be entirely different by the time we’re done with all the changes.

I’m afraid to edit what we have because I don’t want to kill our first place position.

Hopefully somebody with experience here can provide a better answer, but here’s my initial thought, for what it’s worth. :slight_smile:

If a badly-written page is ranking well, a well-written page for the same thing should rank equally well, especially with Google’s newer algorithms. But to hedge my bets, what I’d do is this. Write the new page and replace the existing one, but keep a backup copy of the old page. Watch what happens to the SERPs. There may be a bit of movement at first, but hopefully you’ll soon recover your old ranking. If that doesn’t happen, restore the old page and move the new one.

[font=calibri]As TechnoBear says, take a back-up that you can restore if you need to.

Sure, that page might be at the top of Google right now, but is that actually any good to you? If it looks dreadful, is badly written and the bounce rate is off the scale, then it isn’t providing an awful lot of conversions and it isn’t giving a good impression of your business. Why would you want to have a page like that, even if it ranks at #1? You would almost certainly do much better if you had a good quality page even if it didn’t get the top rank in Google.

If the new page is at the same URL as the old one, covers the same content theme as the old one and appears to be part of the same website as the old one then Google should consider it to be an updated version of the page rather than a completely new page. While you might experience a temporary dip in rankings as Google updates its index and sorts itself out, keep the faith and you should be back to normal pretty quickly.[/font]

I’d be hesitant to touch that content if it’s doing so well in the search results. If you must tinker with it, try pushing it down the page instead of deleting it altogether. Long article pages of 2,000+ words pick up a lot of longtail searches that nobody’s optimizing for, So by retaining the content you’ll still get those hits.

On the other hand, how much control do you have over the page specific design elements? with some strategic tweaks towards the top of the page you may be able to redirect everybody to a much better place on your website.

The above advice would be the course of wisdom. I recently went ahead and made some structure changes and some content changes to one of my sites recently and in about 2 weeks the serps dropped and the traffic dropped!

So after waiting a month and after having “2 heart attacks and 2 strokes” I just reloaded the original content and in about 2 weeks I was back where I was before. Always keep a backup in case of major drastic drops in serps or traffic so you can easily pickup where you were at.

Yes you need to take a backup of that page and write a new content. You need to take care of the keywords and the focus terms for which your website page is ranking on the top position.
I totally agreed with Technobear’s suggestion.

This would be my answer. Making a bad impression is worse than not making an impression at all. It would probably be a good idea to change up the content, and maybe even try some A/B testing to see which design leads to the most conversions.

Google will not penalize your site for making the content better. They want to promote the best content possible to their users, so improving the content will only make them want to promote your webpages more.


For the page that sucks the most: is it the homepage? an inner page for a specific service? a blog page? the contact us page? the about us page? or another type of webpage?


Your rankings will be useless if your page is not converting well. Conversion comes before anything else. Go ahead and upgrade your design, improve the content and surely it will rank even better and maybe for more keywords. Add more pictures and related videos when applicable.

No need to make a backup really. No one makes backups for non-converting pages.