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I am hosting an unhealthy WP site from which I was only supposed to receive the theme. Instead it includes content that I foolishly corrected rather than restructuring the site for SEO and friendly UI. Anyway, it is using a temporary domain name and has 600+ issues 78 problems and there's still restructuring to do.

A SEM Rush audit show the following problems:

Errors

  • 2 pages returned 4XX status code
  • 76 internal links are broken

Warnings

  • 497 issues with unminified JavaScript and CSS files
  • 38 pages don't have meta descriptions
  • 36 pages have low text-HTML ratio
  • 23 pages have a low word count
  • 7 pages have too much text within the title tags

My objective is attaining best possible SEO and my bigger question of whether I should trash the site or not is my biggest concern, but this warrants a separate question IMO:

I wonder, since this URL has never been crawled or indexed by google, do any of the existing problems matter at all? Or is there basically a paper trail in the database or WP files that reflect all all past site actions. I feel silly but would these old issues be reflected with the fixed site content and links under a new unused domain indexing and crawl? Would hosting it elsewhere and getting away from the shared IP fix any concerns? I feel ridiculous asking these questions but I refuse to waste any more time on this dragging project I should be excited about. I know the wording is discombobulated ya'll but Im tired and confused.

What do I need to know about switching to a fresh domain, the potential impact of previously crawled SEO-effecting errors, and using the same IP?

Certainly though, a fresh install would make all those questions null and void, right?? Im curious because im so undecided as to scratch it or fix it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

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All of your errors look fixable to me. It is a lot of work to switch to a different website framework or content management system. Fixing broken links is relatively easy.

None of those errors or warnings are going to prevent Google from indexing or ranking your content. Fixing the issues may improve SEO slightly, but none of the issues are going to cause catastrophic indexing failures.

Almost all sites will have some issues when audited by tools such as SEM Rush. There is nothing unusual or particularly bad about having hundreds of errors and warnings found.

If you do decide to switch to a new website, there is nothing that will haunt you later in terms of Google as long as Google hasn't crawled the site. If Googlebot has crawled the site, you will need to redirect any old URLs to new URLs.

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Essentially, your biggest problem is that you have 78 broken links. You need to find and fix those--mostly because people will get stranded looking for your content. Switching to a different platform or reinstalling your site to the existing platform is likely to make this kind of issue worse before it gets better. Find a good analytical spider (I use this one: ScreamingFrog, There are others) to find and enumerate them then fix them up.

Secondarily, you have some minor SEO issues, but nothing to lose sleep over. These can be fixed once you take care of the broken links.

  • Unminified CSS/JS is not a big deal.
  • Meta tags are a waste of time and effort. No search engines pay attention to them in any way that's worth your time in fixing them.
  • The title/text ratios are for the copywriters to worry about. Again, not mission-critical.

Make the website work first (get a real domain name, fix the broken links, etc.) and then work on fine-tuning how it works.

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