SEO Advice On Old Website

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This topic contains 52 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by   Samantha Cook .

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  • #7212

    Michal Kahn
    Member

    Hey guys, I’m looking for some advice. So I sold a guy on SEO but his website is about 10-15 years old (one of those .php websites). He wants SEO but doesn’t want to redo his website yet because he says his online application form on one of the pages is linked to some complicated database. I told him I didn’t see why that was a problem but he was adamant.

    Would you still do SEO for him in this case? Doing SEO on one of those old sites seems like a nightmare and I’m not sure it would be as effective.

  • #7213

    Jansen Smith
    Member

    As long as the On-Page SEO portion is on point and he passed a technical audit, it should be fine. Although, the biggest concern with the older websites is if the traffic comes, will it even convert?

  • #7214

    Gary Gittins
    Member

    Is the site mobile friendly and using SSL, if not whatever he does SEO wise will probably end up as money down the drain.

    • #7215

      Jamie Stewart
      Member

      Didn’t think about mobile-friendly. thanks.

    • #7216

      Nicola Hawkins
      Member

      PM the url and i will take a confidential look.

  • #7217

    Rollo Bowden
    Member

    This may sound harsh, but…
    “doesn’t want to redo his website” = I walk
    Is he the SEO expert in the room or are you? This type of client is a red flag for me.

    • #7218

      William Greer
      Member

      He says he can do it in 6 months or so but he has to wait b/c the database? so in the meantime wants to know if doing SEO on the current (old) site is of any benefit. I don’t really want to work on an old site like that to be honest but I don’t have many clients at the moment. My gut feeling has been to walk but I wanted to ask other experts.

    • #7219

      Gary Gittins
      Member

      You could leave the application page as a stand alone on the server and rebuild the website around it. Given that on page is becoming more and more important outside of citations and links there is no much you can do that you wouldn’t end up re-doing after the redesign.

    • #7220

      Keith Simpson
      Member

      He mentioned that as a possibility. I don’t see what the problem is. You can hook up the back-end to a WordPress form but he’s afraid it’s going to break something. I suppose we can do it that way.

    • #7221

      Andrew Nokes
      Member

      I’ve had clients like this. Walk-away because they will never be happy.

  • #7222

    Keith Simpson
    Member

    Aged websites like this can really respond well to back links and social signals because trust is already there. Build lots of quality back links and just look at simple onsite stuff like Metas and XML sitemap. Then when / if he does rebuild and you can add in some good content it will go boom.

    • #7223

      Keith Simpson
      Member

      Build a new one on a new page and robots.txt disallow that page so it doesn’t rank. Show him what it could be like, prove it works then make the switch. Don’t forget to remove robots.txt disallow

  • #7224

    Nicola Hawkins
    Member

    I have learned that work arounds vs actually fixing is more work than the pay. Uphill battle.

    • #7225

      Gary Gittins
      Member

      That’s what I was afraid of.

  • #7226

    Rollo Bowden
    Member

    I’d tell him to fuck off and go to his competition.

  • #7227

    Gary Gittins
    Member

    All the above.

  • #7228

    Jenny Ting
    Member

    No. Just Walk away. This client would be a source of pain a d frustration.

    • #7229

      Keith Simpson
      Member

      Agreed. Move on to clients that let you produce the results with your skills. Never be dictated to by a client that invariably thinks he is the SEO expert.

  • #7230

    Nicola Hawkins
    Member

    Turn them into an Ad client until they’re ready for SEO. This way, you still get the client, and their is the potential for them to pay you for multiple services instead of one.

    • #7231

      Jenny Ting
      Member

      Hmmm not a bad idea. Thanks

    • #7232

      Keith Simpson
      Member

      This will help you avoid any friction on the SEO side while he makes his decision, plus you can start getting him qualified leads within 24 hours.
      It’s a Win-Win, with Upsells in the future for you.

      Do you know FB ads?

      If not, you can go with someone who white labels their service.

    • #7233

      Jansen Smith
      Member

      Ha, this is my tactic for clients who don’t want ‘copy’ on their pages because they think it gets in the way of conversions. “Google takes care of people that don’t want to change anything, but you pay per click”

    • #7234

      Jenny Ting
      Member

      That’s crazy lol. People seem to make all sorts of excuses when they’re afraid of change.

      At least you get the client now, and can convince them later.

  • #7235

    Jamie Stewart
    Member

    If he had a 15 year old site and wanted SEO but refused to update, I’d tell him to kick rocks too.. he’s obviously not aware of how it works.

    • #7236

      Jenny Ting
      Member

      It’s simple you need to adapt or get left behind. But from experience people like this aren’t worth the hassle.

    • #7237

      Roelof Kramer
      Member

      Yep, I agree 100% and have made a ton of money from people who listen and left a ton of money on the table walking away from people just like this.

  • #7238

    Gary Gittins
    Member

    I agree he is going to be a pain, 15 years and still holding on. You will spend more time educating than its worth.

  • #7239

    Keith Simpson
    Member

    Tell him to try this, in order to get a perspective: “Go to B&Q, buy a big, strong, long chain, tie his car to a tree, and then try to drive the car away.” Tell him If that will work, the SEO will also work on his outdated website.

  • #7240

    Roelof Kramer
    Member

    Is his site ranking for the keywords he wants? Is he ranking for anything?

  • #7241

    Jenny Ting
    Member

    I will not do SEO for a person who is not welling to accept changes and suggestions, instead of this client I will focus on others who listen to me.

  • #7242

    Rollo Bowden
    Member

    Make a subdomain no-indexed while you built out a new site that has a WP compatible form that connects to the DB.

  • #7243

    Roelof Kramer
    Member

    Upsell a web design to him.

  • #7244

    Samantha Cook
    Member

    If the PHP scares you then you are not really an expert. You just need to learn how to do SEO for more than template style websites. This is an opportunity to learn, not an obstacle.

  • #7245

    Keith Simpson
    Member

    I see a lot of interesting comments here. This is my 2 cents. Feel free to make change.

    I was presented with an opportunity to take on a client 3 years ago for marketing, who had an integration with casinos across the country. Their website was legacy to say the least. I was adamant about rebuilding their website, and lost the opportunity as a result.

    My local competitor won the business, and she has now moved into a nice new comfy office space that she paid $15 million for. That is the only client she has now, and the client just had her revamp their website.

    3 years ago, she was struggling to make ends meet, had 3 employees, and took on their business with a $4,000/month retainer. Needless to say, I was shortsighted in regards to the hurdles, and she thanks me for the opportunity I gave her regularly. What I wasn’t aware of at the time, is that they had just paid $450k to create the integration for their website.

    Lesson learned. The hard way. We often lose sight on the big picture.

    Food for thought.

  • #7246

    Jenny Ting
    Member

    Why can’t you do SEO on a .php site? There isn’t anything you can’t do on or off site with .php that you could only do with another CMS.

    I have clients with both static and dynamic sites that rank well.

  • #7247

    Nicola Hawkins
    Member

    What sort of database are they passing data to? Maybe there is a Zapier integration to the database you could link to from a contact form?

  • #7248

    Samantha Cook
    Member

    “one of those .php websites”. What?!?

  • #7249

    Roelof Kramer
    Member

    First off, PHP is easily converted and read into html. So that’s not an issue.

    Secondly, If the website is legitimately 15 years old than it needs to be rewritten: 100%

    Lastly, and CAUTION: When building a new site try to reuse as many of the URL’s as possible and properly redirect the ones that are broken or irrelevant. Be prepared to add massive new content and voila you have yourself a nice foundation to work with, being this client has been online with that domain for 15 years. This is EXACTLY the kind of client I would welcome with open arms, as long as I opened his ears.

  • #7250

    Gary Gittins
    Member

    Sounds like a Granot site. Mover?

    • #7251

      Carol Bradley
      Member

      Why a granot based site? That’s just a web application. I am very familiar with that crap software and fluent in the moving industry.

    • #7252

      Roelof Kramer
      Member

      hahaha, yeah their CTC cost to conversion is ridiculously expensive. From a money in house standpoint.

    • #7253

      Samantha Cook
      Member

      I hate Granot.

    • #7254

      Jenny Ting
      Member

      You could easily put that into a sub folder. And then just use an iframe.

  • #7255

    Carol Bradley
    Member

    I really don’t see any problem doing SEO for an old site, in fact, it is an advantage. As far as SEO is concerned, you barely need 1-2 days for doing on page or onsite SEO and rest is all off page part. I would suggest you to hire some php developer to work with you for some time. It would be silly if you will loose business for such kind of reason. What I have learned from my experience is that you can’t accept client to give you exact same requirement you want to take. There will always be some sort of challenge and this is why it is fun to do this.

    • #7256

      Roelof Kramer
      Member

      Yes, You want the business , but you cannot possibly want to keep the exact same website up that was built 15 years ago. It has to be ugly as if Roseanne Barr and Leprechaun had babies UGLY. Part of being a good SEO or web design guy is your ability to talk your client into doing what you are an expert at. This is not doing what they always want NO. However, as a painting company, would you go to paint someone’s house and the customer tell you exactly what brand paint to use what type of this or that.. No way, you would show up with the equipment you used to a success in the past and all you would need is what colour the client wanted to paint the home. It applies exactly the same in his field my friend. To each and to its own, but that’s how I see it.

    • #7257

      Carol Bradley
      Member

      If he don’t want it than it should be fine. However, I didn’t know that you are a web development company too. Furthermore, all that has been told in your description was the old PHP website not the UGLY thing, you only mentioned the old PHP thing. I would have given different advice if I saw that coming. Though, I agree with you that if the website is not giving good user experience and you don;t think it can provide value to the user. SEO would be a waste as people will keep going back after coming.

  • #7258

    Samantha Cook
    Member

    Sell him on an API hub. he can still hit his old DB and you can get him a modern site that ranks. Do you have a developer for this?

  • #7259

    James Chalmers
    Member

    No, don’t work with someone who isn’t willing to move on from an old website. How are they going to be willing to implement new SEO practices?

    • #7260

      Keith Simpson
      Member

      You don’t need new websites to be able to implement SEO tactics.

    • #7261

      Roelof Kramer
      Member

      That’s not what I said – I said how would they be willing to if they aren’t willing to make a better website.

  • #7262

    Carol Bradley
    Member

    No, don’t work with someone who isn’t willing to move on from an old website. How are they going to be willing to implement new SEO practices?

  • #7263

    James Chalmers
    Member

    We code so it is not an issue. Everything has to be done manually though, so more cost because a dev is going to have to be evolved often. I’d probably just charge an extra setup few and spread the rest of the cost or ask for extra dev costs if needed.

  • #7264

    Samantha Cook
    Member

    Work on .php URLs, if he is not ready to rewrite

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