Domain Manage

Google Penalty if Keywords Changed?

Discussion in 'New Domainers' started by jj1, Mar 25, 2009.

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  1. jj1

    jj1 Active Member

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    A new client wants me to redesign her existing art gallery site using a new domain. I am obviously aware (and have advised the client) that new domains can attract penalties in the serps (sandpit, new website filter etc).

    However, before I advise her to keep the existing site, do people believe that making significant changes in the keywords also produces a penalty/filter? I have read on a different forum a belief that drastically changing the keywords is the same as creating a new domain in Google's eyes. What are your views?

    Note that the current site is scarcely optimised at all - only the home page has a title tag, and this tag only says the name of the gallery and would therefore have to be changed to include terms liks "Scottish fine art" etc.

    I would be interested in any views.
     
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. GPedro

    GPedro Active Member

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    Surely if you're just redesigning an existing site, then the keywords won't be changing too drastically?

    Once the new site is up, I'd imagine you could just 301 redirect the old domain to the new one and be able to keep serp positions.
     
  4. jj1

    jj1 Active Member

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    Agreed it's not like changing from an art gallery to a computer shop or something but when we moved from a very small town (at that time our site was 8 months old) where we were no 1 for a non competitive search term (website design small town) and changed our keywords (to website design larger town) I did notice that for 4 months we couldn't rise above no 9 in the serps, no matter what seo changes I made.

    Then - at about the same time as our site became a year old - Google suddenly let us rise up and a month later we became no 1. However, I don't know whether this is because our site hit the 1 year mark or whether we had been penalised for changing the keywords from one town to another - as I had read in a different forum.

    That's why I was interested in learning from domain experts whether changing keywords - even if it's not a massive change from one type of business to another - might trigger some form of keyword change filter?

    I haven't yet done a 301 redirect so excuse my asking - do you have to keep the old domain name (hosted by a different hosting co) going for this to happen? That is, does the user have to pay for 2 domains?
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  5. CJB

    CJB Active Member

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    You don't need hosting to redirect a domain.

    If the site currently isn't optimised surely there are no rankings to lose.
     
  6. crabfoot United Kingdom

    crabfoot Active Member

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    Keep both domains, but run one site. If the keywords are effective, use the same keywords on the new domain, but make the old domain point to it. Yes, you have to pay for both domains, but only pay for hosting one - the cost for the old domain is just the domain registration fee.

    Your registrant usually offers certain basic services. If you discontinue the hosting service, you usually still have the basic services afforded with the domain registration fee.

    This normally allows you to redirect the servers for the old domain to point at the new domain, at least until the registration runs out. You don't need hosting charges for that, usually.

    If you have a bad deal, transfer the name to a cheap registrar. Don't drop it if it has live traffic. The only bad situation is if the host has registered the domain in their name, not the customer's. Then you might have to wait for it to expire before you can do anything about it.

    Ask your old and new hosts how to work it. They are legally obliged to tell you no porkies, although the subject is not in their FAQ pages.

    You will probably want to transfer the old domain to somewhere cheaper eventually, but it is invariably worthwhile to keep a domain which has traffic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  7. storebuilder

    storebuilder Active Member

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    Keep both domains but develop a new site as per client request and continue running two sites.

    Optimise the new site with keywords and measure against the old.

    OR

    Build a new site on http://www.somedomain/newsite and use google website optimiser to determine which is the most effective site.

    If the existing site has little traffic then building a new site is a good option, as you can't be accused of destroying what wasn't there in the first place.

    A new site won't rank as highly as a mature site WITH LINKS but I would guess that an art gallery isn't particularly worried about building up links so it's nothing to worry about.

    Keep the client happy.
     
  8. jj1

    jj1 Active Member

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    Many thanks for all of your helpful advice.:p
     
  9. charlie

    charlie Well-Known Member

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    Boolean Answer though - is there a penalty for changing keywords??

    thanks
     
  10. charlie

    charlie Well-Known Member

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    so no one knows for sure if there is a penalty for changing keywords?
     
  11. admin Spain

    admin Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't know what you mean by "penalty" but I would have thought your rankings are in part based on the keywords you use, so for me it is not where your site ranks in Google, but where your site ranks in Google for the particular keywords that is important to you.

    Your site ranking may drop for a new keyword but that may be just because there are many more sites for that term than a less popular one you used recently.

    When I make a new site, the thing I look at is to redirect the old pages to the relevant new ones, automatically. If you use the site:www.%%%.co.uk option in Google you will see how many pages you have indexed and what they are. If there aren't too many of them I do old page to new page redirects in .htaccess to ensure the indexed page still has relevancy for the Google link and they dont just get 404s

    Admin
     
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