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SEO is improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site or page from the search engines using natural organic and algorithmic search results (SERPs).

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August 12, 2007

Redesign Transition - Reducing the HIT

I recently took on a job to move a fairly large commerce site to a new server with a whole new design. The site is a PR 3 and ranking very well. My primary concerns are not really for the inbound links, but rather the initial hit in the SERPs for the IP / DNS change, and new sub page URLs. I know this will be just awful! So like any reasonable person, I have been researching how to minimize this. Here's the plan.....

  1. I plan to get right on removing the old URLs in Google's Tools, as opposed to letting them fall off in a few months. I am hoping Google will see this as "purposeful" on our part and treat it in relative fashion. Keeping the old URLs would not be helpful, as too many are in the supplemental index.
  2. We will send an email to the site's existing HUGE database of email addresses from users, telling them about the pending redesign and new features coming in the next few days. My hope here is that we will spark some of the thousands of users to visit in the first week. I "hope" this will demonstrate some level of "authority" to Google and keep us from the sandbox.
  3. I have been over the last few weeks working hard on quality directory submissions to the main page. They thought process here is they will hopefully arrive in a steady stream relevant to the launch of the new design next week. When the design is live, I will follow up with deeper submissions for the many Category / Landing pages in the new structure.
  4. At the moment the site is heavily burning the the PPC. We will continue that, but tweak it for some new terms....especially some long tails.
  5. We will move the name servers very quickly and the entire process will be accomplished in the site's least trafficked time period.
  6. I will update thumbnails on popular sites like, About Us, Domain Tools WhoIs, Quantcast, Alexa, and some others.
  7. The site will be live but protected from crawl on an alias Domain until the server side SEO is completed, and entire site is bug free. We have no desire to chance adding new pages to the supplemental. After launch the alias Domain will be 301 redirected to the proper Domain.
  8. Immediately upon the DNS completion..I will use the sitemap generator to complete and upload a brand new sitemap. The service I use will ping Google upon completion. Next we will ping Ask with the new sitemap. Call for a sitemap update in Yahoo Site Explorer, and submit the new text map.
  9. There is a wide array of theory on this...But I have had much luck with especially MSN/Live. I will submit the main page and each Category/Landing page to Google, Yahoo, and MSN/Live via the submit URL forms. I will "comment" on Google's form to hopefully help incite a nice full crawl.
  10. The new site will have a sitemap/content feed. I will submit this to MSN/Live, Google, and Yahoo.
  11. Next I will ask DMOZ to have the listing edited. We are not changing theme, but I would ask to "tweak" the description terms that are already a little out of date. Hopefully swapping them for more relevant terms in the same category.
  12. I will contact some of the bigger sites that are deep linked and ask them to update their links. Many will not, I know this...But my effort may land some existing quality links to link to some sub pages. This site really has some great existing links.
  13. I will contact some of the sites linking to the main page and advise them of the redesign...I am hoping since they are all organic links, the linking site may want to alter the anchor text and maybe even note the redesign for the link.

Well......That's the plan. I think these efforts will, at the very least, reduce the "hit". The site is currently "in a bad way" for many reasons...So there is really no place to go but UP. I will keep you posted.

Any other ideas would definitely be appreciated, and rewarded as usual with a little "link juice" and an edited post.

Peace and SEO

Melanie Prough

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