Should I Update A Website That Already Gets Traffic?

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old website

As a general rule of thumb, Google likes it when you update content on your website. This shows that the site is active, which means that it is providing some sort of value to the online community. With that in mind, there is some concern when an existing website already gets a ton of traffic. Will updating the site get rid of the traffic and hurt the site’s sales or user engagement? Let’s take a look at different ways updating your old website can help or harm it.

How Updating Your Site Could Help Your Traffic

For the most part, it’s a good idea to update an old website if you want it to feel fresh and read-worthy. This shows your visitors that the site is still active and that you still care about it. Search engines see updates as signs of improvement, which proves to them that you do in fact care about your visitors. Your traffic levels are going to reflect that.

Updating an older site also gives you a chance to add onto it and correct issues that have been lingering on the site for a while. If there are problems with your site’s navigation or overall functionality, take this opportunity to polish that up. Don’t over-update to the point that you make a whole new site. Freshen up the content and adding some new graphics where applicable.

How Updating Your Site Could Hurt Your Traffic

The main reason an update to your website may hurt it is because you do something to change its current traffic source. For example, let’s say that you are a dentist and one portion of your site is a high-traffic dental blog. If you update the site and get rid of the blog, you could see a significant decline in your views. The same could be said about deleting individual posts that are getting high-volume, consistent visitors.

Changing the ownership of a website could also harm its page ranking, which will in turn hurt its traffic levels. If you have recently purchased a site that you want to update, set the ownership on your hosting plan to private so search engines cannot detect the change. Try not to change the overall purpose of the site so much that it fits into an entirely new category. This could certainly hurt you in the long run.

How To Preserve Your Website’s Traffic During An Update

Here is a quick checklist to follow when updating a website with high traffic:

  • Back up your existing files before you even think about changing the site.
  • Span the updates over a few days when possible, rather than dumping them all onto the site at once.
  • Maintain the URL current pages and posts with high traffic volumes, or redirect them to another comparable part of the site.
  • Refresh the current content. Don’t rewrite it entirely.
  • Check the site thoroughly for errors and correct them as soon as you find them.

With the right balance of new content and existing traffic flow, you should see even bigger success with your newly updated website.

Christopher Bower is a Member and Marketing Director of Detroit Internet Marketing, LLC and brings over 20 years' experience in marketing and online marketing. His education includes Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Marketing, and has been involved in both national and local marketing in Chicago, South Florida and Michigan.

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