I started a new job last week for an ecommerce business.
The website is ranking ok and im saying ok as a guess. I haven’t had a chance to do any analysis yet.
However, my question is or whatever you want to call it is;
What do you guys think are bad actions when optimising a live website?
The markup seriously needs some work as there’s very little in terms of semantics, theres a mix of external and internal CSS as well as online HTML styling and shed loads of commented code due to poor maintenance. Do you think optimising the markup and then rolling out the updates sitewide is a bad idea? Do you think it could/would kill the existing rankings?
Key things to make sure, when you’re working on a website (whether you’re optimising it for SEO or making any other kind of design or content changes):
[list]make sure all old URLs continue to work, and if you change any file names, make sure they are redirected.
go for as little downtime as possible. Obviously for the few seconds that you’ve got the FTP connection open to upload new files, certain pages won’t be available as they are transferred, but apart from that, make sure everything that is there stays there. If Google starts getting 404 errors from pages it has already indexed, it will quickly get bored.
[*]That’s it really![/list]
As long as the site and all previous URLs continue to work all the time, and you’re improving the code, you shouldn’t encounter any major problems.
Google isn’t too bothered about how your page is constructed. Even if you’ve hacked it together using layout tables and presentational markup, Google can usually have a reasonable stab at what it should be. If the content is largely the same, even if the structure around it is different, Google is unlikely to be bothered, it’s the content it’s interested in. If you’re changing the content as well, Google might consider it to be a completely new page.
Why would you ever include parameters that aren’t necessary and don’t make any difference? Stripping away any unnecessary parameters will ensure that all your link juice is being focused on the same page. Alternatively, if you are getting some benefit from that extra parameter, you can mitigate against the dreaded duplicate content by putting a <link rel="canonical" href="http://website.com/product_details.php?id=EPLK14003">
tag in the head of the document, so Google knows that whichever URL it has followed, it’s leading to that one same page.