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Cleaning Code Bloat Before Actually Performing Seo


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#1 hitechsol

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 01:30 AM

Hello there,

Recently, I ended up working on an SEO project. Before deciding on the project, unfortunately, I had not noticed the bad coding practices the website has on all the pages. I have made some basic SEO related changes on the site. However, I am not seeing any positive improvements in the ranking or traffic. Rather, the rankings have dropped since we started the SEO work.

The site is table based with no CSS at all. It is a big mess. The navigation is even worse and is very user unfriendly. Do you think I can go on with the necessary SEO related changes without getting rid of the messy code in it?

Thanks

Edited by hitechsol, 29 September 2009 - 01:31 AM.


#2 fisicx

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 02:10 AM

Rather, the rankings have dropped since we started the SEO work.

First thing to do is undo the changes you have made!

Changing the code won't necessarily help with your SEO work but it will make things a lot easier the manage the site. Stripping out the HTML styling is a doddle using something like dreamweaver, all you need to is sitewide replacements.

What will help however is getting rid of the structural tables so that each page has a logical information flow.

Edited by fisicx, 29 September 2009 - 02:10 AM.


#3 jonbey

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 03:14 AM

One of my SEO pals asked for my thoughts on a prospective client site the other day, and all I could really think to say was the the first step in SEO would be to build a new site. Then I remembered the thread here that linked to this article on the SEO equivalent putting cream on a dungpile - http://www.searcheng...site-dung-p.php (cannot find the thread here!)

#4 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 07:50 AM

While ugly code that uses tables can be problematic for many reasons, it doesn't have to be a hindrance to SEO. It may be an issue if the ugly code actually prevents search bots from properly doing their job, but otherwise, it can be left as is in most cases. The navigation might be a real issue, since bad, old navigation (like javascript links) can prevent a bot from finding and indexing inner pages and/or anchor text for nav links might be sub-optimal. But unless the old code is hindering bots, it's probably ok. The problems may stem from other areas. I'd start by seriously thinking about what changes you made that subsequently caused rankings to drop. (If the two are even related - could be coincidence).

Anyway, it's hard to say much more with so little info, but my basic answer to your question is "probably". Probably, yes, you can continue on with seo changes despite the old code, unless that code is actually preventing the bots from doing their job.

Edited by dazzlindonna, 29 September 2009 - 07:50 AM.


#5 glyn

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 08:01 AM

Woaa. Hold on there a minute.

You've changed the code, made it better and the rankings have dropped.

Absolutely Normal.

If you change the Title's the same thing will happen.

If you know the code is cleaner, leave it for a few weeks and see if you come back up. If you changed the title leave it 6 weeks.

Bye.

Glyn

#6 TheManBehindTheCurtain

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 09:58 AM

Anyway, it's hard to say much more with so little info, but my basic answer to your question is "probably". Probably, yes, you can continue on with seo changes despite the old code, unless that code is actually preventing the bots from doing their job.

Like Donna says, it's not clear from what we know, but the odds are your code bloat and your SEO efforts are different issues. Use Google's advanced search to make sure your pages are all being indexed and can be found at all through search. If they are, the "optimization" part of SEO will start by making sure meta data is correct -- title and description tags. Making sure headings are clear and include your target keywords. Making sure the content itself is compelling, well written, and reasonably optimized for your keywords. All those on-page factors are not necessarily heavily influenced by bad coding, and some, like the meta data, probably not at all. Off-page factors like link building will make the biggest difference in your rankings, and that has nothing at all to with coding.

So in a world where resources and time may be limited, if SEO is a priority, cleaning the code may not be the best first step from a purely pragmatic point of view.

On the other hand ... a short investment in cleaning up and making the site easier to manage and easier to update may save you time in the long-run.

Edited by FrankElley, 29 September 2009 - 10:00 AM.




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