Sunday, November 10, 2013

Changing URLs – Redirects as Your Best Friends

Change is inevitable, and changing something in your website isn’t really an uncommon thing to do—in fact, most companies are using it to enhance their search engine marketing campaign, that’s why perfectly optimized URL’s can’t be achieved upon the website’s inception. Another reason why URL’s are changed can be reactive, like adapting to how search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to make a natural language search as possible as it could get. That’s why it’s really important to implement redirects so that the old link you have will be able to point to the newer one and retain its value to the search engine itself.

Implementing 301 Redirects

Often, even if the website has been relaunched with a new URL, Google and other search engines might still reference your old URL, which causes you to have traffic for the old website rather than the new one. Actually, even links to your page can direct to the old URL, which means that users may be stumbling into something that doesn’t exist anymore—this will lead to a bad user experience and may nullify your online search engine optimization strategies, ultimately leading to a drastic decrease in page rank and loss of website traffic, all needlessly.

That’s why it’s important to make a 301 redirect. But what is it exactly and how does one do it? Basically, a 301 redirect is used to move a site to a new location in a permanent basis, and search engines do not penalize it, unlike other types of redirects. This is the most important step to consider when relaunching a website, since doing a botched job of a 301 redirect plan can ruin website traffic. Once it succeeds, though, what should be considered next is the URL structure, which should more or less be the same as your old one, since this really makes everything more convenient.

This is especially true for larger websites with hundreds of pages. Also, for
a successful search engine marketing and optimization, have the internal links checked, because they might still be pointing at your old URL (and that will be really bad).