Afraid to change web pages?

The most common worry we hear from web-site owners is that they are afraid to change their web pages. Probing this fear further, we consistently hear that people are afraid of losing their search ranking status as a result of making changes. This is a misplaced and unfounded fear.

The confusion and concern over web-site page changes is centered around the difference and distinction between domain name age and web page age.

Web search results on Google and other search engines are ranked by formulas that are kept secret by the search engine. However, Google and other search engines publish guidelines for web sites. Analyzing these guidelines makes it clear there are two conflicting recommendations that confuse web site owners.

One guideline is that web-sites may be ranked by the age of the domain name. A domain name that is ten years old is considered more stable and authoritative than a newer domain name.  Another recent guideline from Google indicates that pages that have been recently revised are considered to be more relevant and ranked higher than older pages.

Since web site and page ranking is primarily based on page content, any revisions to a web-site should include as much of the original content as possible.  When page names are changed, this doesn’t pose a problem for search engine spiders as long as the new pages are properly linked and visible.  Using inter-linking between pages and providing an accurate site map page help ensure that the search engine spider can effectively crawl across the site and discover every new page.

Pages that are obsolete or have inadequate page names should be removed and deleted to prevent being indexed and included in searches. These pages will be removed from searche results when the search engine receives a “404” error from the web-site indicating the page has been removed.

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