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My concern is, my client is already number 2 on the search engine ranking for the main keyword of his particular field and I don't want to see him lose any more ground.

He wants to not only future proof his website with html5, but also add new content.

With that being said, he was number one on the search results for a long time and is now number two. Furthermore, I fell like he's quickly losing ground to other websites. Providing that all the keywords and links are taking care of, will a complete update hurt or help his rankings.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 10 '11 at 22:32

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This is completely off-topic - SO is for programming advice. –  Tom Zych Sep 10 '11 at 19:17
    
Oh thanks, I didn't know –  Scott Sep 10 '11 at 19:18

2 Answers 2

Providing that the HTML 4.01 implementation is properly marked up (i.e. tags are being used correctly and there are no horribly-broken links) and the HTML 5 implementation is similarly syntactically valid, you won't see any ranking changes based upon the change in markup - both versions could be considered "optimized" as-is.

If the HTML 4.01 implementation is a mess (not using heading tags, malformed links, design relies upon heavy use of <table>) you can expect to see modest improvements in ranking for long-tail phrases and quicker page rendering by fixing the markup (either in HTML 4.01 or HTML 5) but, for highly-competitive phrases, on-page optimization has far less impact on ranking than a page's inbound links.

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Whether you use HTML5 or HTML does not affect the ranking. Only the textual content matters.

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