Dana Franks

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We have a longtime client who has a keyword-optimized domain name - this isn't the real domain or vertical but think in terms of dog-walkers-wichita.com. They had an old HTML site and we got it ranking well organically - top 5 for all their main keywords in their main city. Then they got a new Wordpress website at the end of the year and even though the content stayed much the same the rankings have crashed and not come back, despite doing all the things both offsite and onsite that will help a site get through a site transition well.

The thing I am wondering about is if part of the trouble is the domain name optimization along with WP code. With it being an HTML site before, the links within pages didn't have to include the full URL and thus every page didn't have that keyword optimization in the code, at least not much, But with this new site and the way that the URL is added in the Wordpress code it would put that keyword-optimized domain (and thus the keyword) in the code of every page up to 80 times. We added a plugin that made some of the links, like most images, relative, which cut the number of times that domain was in the pages by half in a lot of cases. But it's still in there and the main city's keywords, which have been optimized on the home page since we started, are not recovering. They have a few dozen other cities that have pages on the site and about half have mostly recovered, but overall rankings are not where they were before the new site.

Is this something anyone else has run into? Any ideas on how to fix this?
 

Yan Gilbert

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It's difficult to diagnose without comparing the two sites, but sounds like you think the main issue is keyword stuffing.

There could be many issues, but the first that comes to my mind is to ask if the each of old urls were redirected to their newer counterpart.
 

Dana Franks

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There could be many issues, but the first that comes to my mind is to ask if the each of old urls were redirected to their newer counterpart.
The URL didn't change. All they did was get a new site on the old domain. The only thing that changed was that they did get an SSL certificate, and all of the redirects are correct on that.
 

Yan Gilbert

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OK, I got it. So just the addition of a CMS overlay basically.

Things that may have changed that I would look for first:
Site speed
Page titles/ meta descriptions
Wordpress may have added lots of garbage pages that should be de-indexed (any errors in Search Console)
 
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