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Changed URLs and lost all top positions

What to do. Just wait?



12:39 pm on Jun 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi everyone,

I recently updated my entire site with new URLs. All my article pages went from wwWebmasterWorldebsite.nl/artciles/articlepage.php to wwWebmasterWorldebsite.nl/articles/article-topic/1

I use permanent redirects in .htaccess to redirect everything to the new URLs.

Today I noticed Google has indexed part of the new URLs, but they are totally burried in the SERPS. I use to be on top for some pretty popular keywords, but now I find myself somewhere on page 20.

I can see pagerank has not been transferred. How long does it take for pagerank to transfer? You think I should wait or just start crying? (I spent more than 3 years typing up all these articles :( )


3:32 pm on Jun 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi rubenski,

I think you are over-worried about this issue. It's pretty normal this ranking decrease in Google after changing so many URLs. IF there are no OTHER causes for this downside, I suggest you to wait until the next Google update and see what happens.

The PR transfer does not take long, but changing all your deep URLs has caused a Googlebot frustration for sure :)

Please be patient and give Google some more time. In the meanwhile, try to enhance your content and your backlinks even more :)

PS. Changing all your deep URLs at once was not a good idea. I have done this before, but changed them very slowly in order to avoid messing up with Google rankings and it worked for me.


3:45 pm on Jun 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I was also thinking of changing my path from [mysite.com...] to [mysite.com...]

Notice the one without www and excluding the dir path. I surf a lot of posts and am afraid of losing my rankings. I am doing well and if i change them, it will be a long time before i might get the hits back.

The reason i am changing this is because when i do a link search using softwares, it says that there are like 57 external links on my main page while i only have 3 real external links. That is because it treats [www...] and http:// differently. Very frustrating fact.


6:36 pm on Jun 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Thanks for your comments. I have perhaps been a little over worried. But I am not sure about it. Let me add some more info:

I can't think of anything else being wrong. The pages have new URLs but the exact same content and I have never used any (wrong) SEO techniques. (In fact, I used no SEO tactics at all apart from good titles and headers. Just wrote good content and a lot of it)

I have rewritten all old URLs to the new ones with one 301 redirect for every page. The new URLs that are indexed show PR0, while they used to have PR3 or PR4.

How long do you think it will take my pages to regain their old PR? I was under the impression PR transfers immediately when Google picks up the new URL. Was I wrong? Should I wait for the next grand PR upate?


3:53 pm on Jun 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yea. i guess there is nothing else to do except to wait for the next PR update. And at the same time, are you losing rankings or maybe losing referrals from search engine?

I am very interested to know this and if it works well, i will do it.


4:12 pm on Jun 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Why did you change the URLs if they were performing well? Anyway, yes, just wait it out. Google is normally pretty fast... Yahoo might take 6 months to a year though.


9:33 pm on Jun 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@Sirkei: It's just rankings. I've had just four 404 responses for pages this week.

@Rollo: My old directory and page structure had become illogical. It was not prepared for the amount of content and subjects that my site now covers. That is why I changed. (There's a lesson to be learned here. Prepare for growth!)

Since there is indeed nothing much to do but wait, that's just what I'll do. I've bookmarked this topic to update it later when anything changes.

Thanks for your interest. I still hope that in the mean time someone passes by that can answer the central question here: should you wait for the next PR update after a 301 redirect or should PR transfer immediately?


8:16 pm on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The TBPR will only update after the next TBPR update. As far as actual PR... who knows... It's most likely updated constantly.

In my expereience it takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks for a 301 to sort itself out when it comes to Google. Your mileage may vary. No clue about the other SEs.


12:28 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am seeing al lot of my pages going up now. I don't exactly know how many and it's pretty hard to tell the effect at this time, because there's a heat wave in my country and hardly anyone is using his computer, so my stats are a bit blurred.

I sometimes see both the old and new URL listed. I suppose Google will soon drop the old ones. Hopefully rankings will increase still a bit more. It used to be better, but it's ok for now.


12:33 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Do have patience, in my experience it will return back to normal before long.


6:31 am on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

rubenski we had this over the last week. It really scared us but all seems to be coming back now. Just wait.


7:50 pm on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In a site re-do, should urls remain the same or is it okay to rename them?

And is it dangerous in a site re-do to literally switch out old text for new? Should it be done page by page rather than all at once?

Are we asking for trouble from the Google gods?

We are keeping title, description and kw metatags the same, as well as kw density, alt tags, etc. But the content has been completely re-written



8:09 pm on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Did a similar change in URLs. Took me 2 months to recover in Google. Just wait it out.

In my case, MSN was the fastest to capture all the 301 redirects and display the new URLs correctly. My listings in MSN are very neat now with only a couple of old straggler URLs. Its a pity traffic from MSN is still very low.

My Yahoo results are still in a funk. Y! seems to have the most trouble indexing my site correctly after all the 301s.

G traffic has expectedly improved tremendously from before the change but many old URLs are still not completely purged from G's index.



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