1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Redesigning a Client's Site With Cleaner URLs... do I need to 301?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by percentsharp, May 1, 2015.

  1. percentsharp

    percentsharp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2014
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    ATL
    Hey BHW!

    Easy riddle for you guys -- a new client is on an ancient Joomla site and they're using an archaic theme. They now know that mobilegeddon is a thing and so they've asked me to whip up a snazzy new responsive WP site.

    Well, the damndest thing...the current site happens to be using ".html" url extensions after every page that's not the home page. I intend to do away with that once I move them over to their new WP home, but I don't want them to lose a ton of historic link juice.

    Does G differentiate between 'site.com/products.html' and 'site.com/products'? And if so, will I need to 301 all of these ugly links to their new prettier counterparts to retain la SEO?

    Thanks for any advice! Y'all the homie.
     
  2. Xplore

    Xplore Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    8
    Yes. Keep linkjuice or avoid duplicate content issue with proper permanent redirection. I suggest breadcrumb implementation too.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. Repulsor

    Repulsor Power Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Messages:
    766
    Likes Received:
    275
    Location:
    PHP Scripting ;)
    Yes. You should be keep the urls same to avoid losing any juice. And hey, in wordpress, you dont have to worry much about how to 301. You can use their permalink setting which is really flexible.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. digitalmarketer

    digitalmarketer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    25
    Occupation:
    Digital Marketer
    Hi, You should Keep the original URL when possible. When You are not able to use the same URL or if they are not SEO optimized, You should create new URL's and use 301 to direct the old ones to the new URL's.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. mrankin

    mrankin Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    1,263
    Likes Received:
    579
    Location:
    Australia
    Home Page:
    Yep, agree with others about using 301 redirects for sure. You may also consider doing a 404 redirect for any pages you've missed. I'm doing this on my own site so that any page that isn't found redirects to my index.php page. Mine redirects immediately, but you may want a delayed redirect. Just something to consider, won't be needed if you're 100% certain you can 301 on all of their pages.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. towelfox

    towelfox Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    55
    Yeah don't miss any. Remember, if the site losses traffic you'll be getting the blame. Be thorough. Find out what is indexed and make sure everything gets redirected to the relevant pages. If that site is ranking well already don't change the structure (h1 etc)
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. towelfox

    towelfox Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    55
    I've always avoided redirecting to home on 404 and gone with a dedicated 404 page. Have you had previous positive experience doing it this way?
     
  8. srb888

    srb888 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    5,081
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    WebzSurfer
    Location:
    Sun, Mon, Tue, WTF, Sat!!! :)
    If he wants a responsive site, then give him just that. Why touch the content or the URLs' .html part? Sell him SEO as a different thing, and still, don't change the .html part. If you want to change it at all, then just change a few ones first and see what effect it has over the traffic/SERP results, and especially on the changed URLs first. And watch it for a longer time relatively, before you need to go all out.

    With what you've mentioned in your OP, I think the client only needs conversion to a responsive site atm.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  9. percentsharp

    percentsharp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2014
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    ATL
    Thanks so much for the help everyone! I'll definitely keep your advice in mind, and will ask what SEO they've done in the past. If they haven't built links to the sub-pages, then I'll just 301 them to no detriment. Cheers!
     
  10. percentsharp

    percentsharp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2014
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    ATL
    UPDATE: I'm trying to figure out the correct .htaccess modifier that could perform this rewrite action in bulk. Would this:

    work for what I'm trying to achieve?
    Thanks!
     
  11. percentsharp

    percentsharp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2014
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    ATL
    Alas, I'm moving the client's site from Joomla to WordPress, so I can't just update permalinks ^_^'. Are there any other best practices you would recommend?
     
  12. srb888

    srb888 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    5,081
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    WebzSurfer
    Location:
    Sun, Mon, Tue, WTF, Sat!!! :)
    You can simply export the database SQL (as backup), import it in the Wordpress, and carry on. All content and URL settings there were in the Joomla will appear without changes in Wordpress. If you then wish to change the permalink settings, you can do so in Wordpress.

    Try this on another mock Joomla site, in a localhost environment if you wish, if you are still worried, and see if the new WP site imports the data and URL settings flawlessly or not.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  13. Worker8274

    Worker8274 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    USA
    I have an easy question along this thread.

    If you are moving an ecom site to a new system that uses different URLs, soon after the move the old/original system is to be turned off. How long does Google keep the old high ranking pages (with the old URL) in their system? Or another way to ask the same question is how long can you benefit from the 301 after the original site has been turned off?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  14. percentsharp

    percentsharp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2014
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    ATL
    Thanks for the tip! But doesn't simply updating [read: saving] the Permalinks ruin any former SEO done to the '.html' pages? Or will Wordpress automatically 301?

    Thanks!
     
  15. srb888

    srb888 Elite Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Messages:
    3,267
    Likes Received:
    5,081
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    WebzSurfer
    Location:
    Sun, Mon, Tue, WTF, Sat!!! :)
    When you change the structure of the URL, for example, change the .html to "/" or to ".htm", or whatever, then the SE's must reindex that page/post and it may not give the "new page" the same earlier ranking, power, etc. It will also become a "new" URL which the SE must analyze again according to whatever parameters it uses, and that will make the difference to your earlier ranking, even though the content is exactly the same. The SE will treat this as an entirely new page, and will work accordingly over it. I think that even a redirect will be thought of as the above, and the SE will rank it differently than before (I am not very sure of this phenomenon though, as I have never experimented on those lines).

     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015