You’ve heard that old rule, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right? On the other hand, all these big shot bloggers are always telling you to tweak this and tighten that up and make your site look better for the search engines. So which is it? Do you fix it, do you tweak it, do you leave it alone? And how’s it going to affect your SEO if you do, or if you don’t or … whatever?
If it’s a mechanical issue, fix it
Your site’s loading time will affect your rankings. If your site loads too slow then people aren’t going to stick around and wait. When the search engines see all those people leaving your site as soon as they arrive they figure you’re doing something wrong. You might not be penalized but you won’t be rewarded either. So, if your site is loading too slowly then go ahead and fix the problem.
If it’s ranking well, leave it alone
If your site as a whole is ranking well and most of your posts and pages are on the first page of results, then there’s really nothing you need to do other than continue your backlinking efforts. Don’t mess around with your internal linking structure any more than necessary. Instead, focus on getting those inbound links from other blogs to help keep your content ranking well, and maybe even improve your rankings.
If it’s ranking poorly, tweak it – carefully
For individual posts or pages that aren’t ranking well at all, consider freshening up the content and doing a bit of promotion to try to attract some incoming links. If you have a lot of low-ranking content, be careful about adding internal links to try to pull them up. If other sites aren’t linking to that article maybe you shouldn’t either. It’s always best to improve the quality of your content first and attract those natural backlinks. They have the most link juice anyway.
But, what if…
Now, there are always going to be stories of bloggers who’s blogs were on the first page, they re-worked their internal linking structure to improve navigation, and Google sent them to page 20. These guys always blame it on all those tweaks and changes, but I’m not so sure.
They’ll tell you that when they made the changes it “threw up a red flag” and Google penalized them because they made changes. In my opinion, those changes may very well have “thrown up a red flag” but their sites were probably dropped in ranking because they were poor quality sites that Google just hadn’t noticed yet. So, if your content is questionable, then yes, you may be dropped way down the index, too.
When it comes to WordPress SEO, the saying should be, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – make it better so you can attract those natural inbound links.”