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301 Redirects or URL re-write for more than 1 MM Pages

 10:15 am on Apr 15, 2014 (gmt 0)


We have a website with lots of live pages and all of them are indexed in Google. (More than 2 MM | Unfortunately i can't share its URL here)

We are planing to do following things

Server shifting
DS Change
URL Structure change

My Simple question is should we change URL structure and apply 301 re-directs? Especially when pages are 1 MM (Million)



 10:32 am on Apr 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

The first two should not be a problem if you keep your site on the old server whilst DNS is propagating (usually 1-2 days).

I presume you are not changing domain name.

What is the reason behind URL structure change? Would it solve some problem you have now and if so, which?


 10:48 am on Apr 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

yeah, Domain name will be same.

Current server is not supporting this site anymore. And if we shift it to new server it required these changes. (as per our team working on that server)

we have two confusions.

If we do 301 redirects at that massive level, then

what will be search bots (Google, bing etc.) response?
And Will Link Juice shift accurately?


 11:14 am on Apr 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think the problem is that you are not understanding how the server move works. When you move server, you get a different IP address. A record that is combination of your domain name and IP address is sent to DNS servers on the web, to update their details.

Think of DNS servers as a phone book - you ask for the domain name, it gives back the IP address.

So at the moment the combination of domain name & IP address points to your current server.

When you move server, the information on your domain name and IP address is sent to DNS servers to update their data. This can take 1-2 days. This is called DNS Propagation

Any DNS server that did not yet update its data will have your old IP address and will send the visitor/Google/bots there.

Any DNS server that did update its data will have the new IP address and will send the visitors and boots to the new server.

After 1-2 days DNS servers will finish updating their records and all traffic will be sent to the new server.

This is why it is important to keep the OLD server running with your website for a couple of days after the move (so you will have two copies of the site running and being accessed for the very short time, but both copies would use exactly THE SAME URLs).

Therefore you do not need 301 redirect for what you want to do. All URLs will stay the same and the traffic forwarding will happen by DNS server who will look up underlying IP address and forward the traffic to the new server (if they updaed their data already) or to the old server (if they have not updated their data).

As far as everybody is concerned - nothing changes, your URL shows the same content (only technically the content is read from a different place).

After couple of days the propagation should have finished and you can then remove the website copy from your old server. To be sure, check the old server logs to ensure no requests are arriving there any more.

I hope this explains. Do not change URLs and you do not need redirection :)


 11:22 am on Apr 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks aakk9999 for detailed Explanation.

It explains a lot. even things which I did not ask and did not know. :-)

I am also recommending my management not to change DS or URL structure. But they are insisting to change it as well.

That's why i wanted to make sure if there is any drawback regarding "Page Rank" (Link Juice).

I hope any "Technical SEO Expert" can answer this more deeply.


 12:12 pm on Apr 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

There's always a drop when you do a migration like that with a lot of 301s, but you'll recover. Don't use googlebot and SEO as an excuse for a bad site architecture.


 6:09 pm on Apr 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am also recommending my management not to change DS or URL structure. But they are insisting to change it as well.

You haven't explained why they want to change the URL structure. Moving to a new server isn't a good reason to change it. Unless there is another reason, you shouldn't change it.


 6:12 pm on Apr 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

Without naming names, give some examples of your old and new URL structure. Renaming pages may turn out to be a good idea-- but it shouldn't have anything to do with a (physical) move.

The one exception is if your site is built around some CMS that isn't supported at the new location. Then if you can't find a suitable plugin (have you looked thoroughly?) you have a choice between changing all URLs, or adding a layer of rewriting. Again this is something you would prefer not to do concurrently with a major physical move. But if it turns out to be necessary, make sure you've got all the details sorted out before you move.

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