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Tim Italy

Static to Responsive: The impact on SEO?

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We have a well established static site which scores well on many keyword terms. We have learnt a lot from this site and wish to redesign a responsive site with new structure. If we carry the 'old/successful' content through to the new responsive design under the new url structure, do we loose all our SEO legacy? All thoughts, comments and ideas welcome.

Edited by Tim Italy

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You will be ok if Google recognises that the new site is similar to the old and you have used 301 redirects to map the old pages to the new.

 

It does need a bit of care and attention but I've done this on my own sites and for clients and not suffered any loss of ranking.

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You will be ok if Google recognises that the new site is similar to the old and you have used 301 redirects to map the old pages to the new.

 

It does need a bit of care and attention but I've done this on my own sites and for clients and not suffered any loss of ranking.

 

 

Interesting. I was simply thinking of removing the 'old' site. I will investigate this further.

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You can remove the old site, you just to make sure there are redirects in place to point from the old pages to the new. This is ensure the search engines, inbound links and bookmarked pages end up where they should.

 

However, after some further thoughts: if the old site is performing well and converts a good number of visitors do you really need to change everything? A few tweaks to the CSS might do the job.

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It is a very good question! We sell ski holidays - www.theskisafari.com - and have sold 80% of available places for the coming season, mainly to UK based clients. Strategically, we want to broaden our target markets, specifically to include USA, Canada, Australia etc. and our perception is that we need a responsive site to attract these markets ... maybe!

Life is never simple ...

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It's a wordpress site so making it responsive is a doddle. And means all my other comments are irrelevant as you aren't changing anything Google cares about.

 

A couple of hours work on the CSS and you will be all done.

 

However, the layout and general site structure could be massively improved so a new theme might be a better way forwards

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Just saying you can make a few CSS tweaks is naive if you expect to get strong UX across all devices. HTML also plays a part in layout and structure and that will more than likely require adjustment.

The likelihood of you incurring technical debt is also really great, especially if this means leaving legacy CSS behind. From a coding perspective it's usually a better idea to start again from scratch and make sure you provide adequate 302 responses.

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Morning, just to add a few points and pitfalls.

 

Upgrading to a responsive site will improve mobile conversion, no doubt. But, as @@rbrtsmith points out just css tweaks alone might not be the best course of action. Often pitfalls with redesign can occur through rouge paths that give either a 302 (temporary redirect) or a 200 (ok) when it should be 404 (page not found), make sure you test with a header checker. 301 is vital here as any links to the site will need to pass their weight (around 90%) to the new page.

 

Secondly you will experience serp fluctuation if changing page names or urls. This is where new page is on the way up the ranks and old page is on the way down. This is natural but often I see clients panic at this point, depending on the site size will depend on the length of time this can take, it's not instant in serps.

 

Last, make sure the new site has some way of mapping what's going on. I use site maps with webmaster tools to catch rogue pages, soft 404s and missed 301s. Any way you want to monitor is cool, just make sure you do else you'll be blind if something goes wrong.

 

Edit: Forgot to say make sure the new site is FAST! https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Edited by BrowserBugs

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Don't worry if you want to change your static site to responsive. I think there is no any major impact of your site's SEO.

I think you first try to do changes with simple CSS changes of your website and for more easy option you can use redirection.

Hope it may helps you.

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You are definitely going to loose. New url structures need to be indexed afresh by search engines. This will take a little bit longer.

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