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Website re-structure - redirecting 1000s of URLs
Karma




msg:4353964
 12:16 pm on Aug 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm considering a complete re-structure of my site as I'm not satisfied with how it flows.

At the same time, I also want to add a keyword to the URL for SEO purposes (it doesn't exist in the domain) - I wasn't convinced the keywords in the URL are required for SEO, but based on what I see in Google/Bing/Yahoo - it does seem to be a major factor.

I'll also be moving from a directory url structure to .html

mysite.tld/widgets/blue/

to

mysite.tld/keyword/widgets/blue.html

Any tips on doing this? What should I expect to see in terms of traffic in the short/long term?

 

Robert Charlton




msg:4354005
 6:39 pm on Aug 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

...based on what I see in Google/Bing/Yahoo - it does seem to be a major factor.

What are you seeing? The highlighting in the serps is done after ranking. This highlighting is for display purposes only, but it does attract eyeballs. It may or may not reflect elements of structure in a site which do help with SEO.

I myself would not restructure a site simply to add a keyword in the url, though. On Google, at least, I think the ranking benefits of a keyword in the url are miniscule.

(Note that a keyword in a url is not the same as a keyword in the domain or company name. Domain/company name keywords are very often included in inbound anchor text, which is where I think the benefit is. Keywords in urls seldom appear in anchor text.)

There are also potential downsides to implementing sitewide redirects... roughly a 15% loss in PR to redirected pages, and lots of places to mess up.

That said, if the addition of the keyword in the pathname corresponded to an actual reorganization of the site structure that made your navigation more strategic and clearer to users and to Google, that is a direction worth pursuing. The example you post and the way you phrase your question isn't suggesting that this is the case.

Karma




msg:4354007
 7:00 pm on Aug 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

The keyword in the URL isn't the main objective, but I think it would make more sense for the visitor.

There are also potential downsides to implementing sitewide redirects... roughly a 15% loss in PR to redirected pages, and lots of places to mess up.


Are there any common things that people mess up? Would doing the redirects section by section be safer?

g1smd




msg:4354025
 8:02 pm on Aug 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are there any common things that people mess up?

The WebmasterWorld Apache forum gives a thorough airing to every problem webmasters have faced over the last decade. There's a vast number.

tedster




msg:4354087
 3:02 am on Aug 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'll also be moving from a directory url structure to .html

I'd re-think that one. You're already using a scheme that does not expose underlying technology. Why back up into a tangle, especially one that adds 5 characters to every URL?

lucy24




msg:4354110
 4:46 am on Aug 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

especially one that adds 5 characters to every URL?

Unless he concurrently changes to extensionless files with behind-the-scenes rewrite. Speaking of common ways to mess up ;)

g1smd




msg:4354113
 5:37 am on Aug 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Adding an extra level of folders is asking for trouble.

Likewise the URL does not need .html on the end and a truly extensionless URL shouldn't end in a trailing slash.

Make it as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Robert Charlton




msg:4354123
 7:12 am on Aug 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

The keyword in the URL isn't the main objective

What is the main objective?

Quite often, particularly post-Panda, when I see people doing something "for SEO", it's because they've lost rankings and, as often as not, that's because their content is weak. That can also be reflected in their backlinks. In this case, it sounds like you're not ranking for "widgets".

Not to take the thread off topic, what else does the re-structuring involve? What prompted it, and what else are you trying?

Karma




msg:4354232
 3:49 pm on Aug 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all your replies.

Adding an extra level of folders is asking for trouble.


My bad - I wouldn't actually be adding another layer of folders - it was the only example I could think of at the time.

Quite often, particularly post-Panda, when I see people doing something "for SEO", it's because they've lost rankings and, as often as not, that's because their content is weak. That can also be reflected in their backlinks. In this case, it sounds like you're not ranking for "widgets".


As you say, I was considering these changes due to Panda. I also do have weak content on a large percentage of site, but have some great content too.

I was just thinking of a re-structure etc before I embark on a major content writing mission. On reflection, I think I had my priorities wrong and will concentrate on the content first.

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