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New CMS, new SEO.

Help needed :-)

8:09 pm on Dec 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have a good website, curently with over 1000 unique visitors daily. Around 350-450 daily comes from Google search engine.

I have good Search Engine Friendly URL's because until now I didn't used any CMS (Content Managment System). Now I plan to switch to a CMS. It is great, one of most known paid ones, with good supports, functions and also with Search Engine Friendly URL's. I bought it few days and I am playing with it on my localhost and testing.

But I am afraid how will Google react on it? I mean Google search bot?
Because all good indexed URL's will now BE CHANGED, because I will switch to new system. All content will remain the same.

I will get a lot of 404 Document Not Found error but I will make redirects.

Please post comments, ideas.

Thank you very much!

[edited by: caveman at 8:24 pm (utc) on Dec. 12, 2005]
[edit reason] Removed specifics, per TOS [/edit]

7:44 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Any one?
8:54 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi sezampicika, basically you're right in worrying, but don't overdo it :-)

It does not sound bad in your case, having 1,000 daily visitors, and far less than 50% from search engines - almost 65% non-Google, that's really good!

Yes, I do mean that. Too many SEO's never realize this, but that proportion of your traffic is your most valuable part, as these visitors won't go away even if there's no Google tomorrow. So, even if a search engine messes up royally whatever you're doing next, as long as your valuable content stays the same the majority of your visitors will still like you and they will come back for more :)

You should try searching for a tool called "Yahoo! Site Explorer" - it's an extension to Yahoo! search. By entering your URL and clicking a bit around you will be able to see how big a proportion of the inbound links that go to your front page versus your inner pages.

The inner pages are the ones you will be moving, so the larger proportion of your inbound links that go to your front page the better. In your case, I'm sure you have quite a few links to inner pages. Try to locate some of the pages on other sites that link to your inner pages, and write them an email after the change, so that they can update their links.

The keyword above is "moving" as that's what you will be doing with those pages.

Now, mark these words: Moving pages is okay - updating pages is okay - redefining an existing site is not. (At least you'll have to be 1,000 times more careful when doing that - it should literally take years)

You will want to fall on the right side of a very thin and barely visible line separating a succesful relaunch from a presumed site take-over (ie. "bait-and-switch" <-- you don't want the SE to think this).

So, you should try to make sure that the content (including on-page links to other related pages on the site) stays as close to the original as possible, so that you only move existing pages to new URLs. Of course, for each page you move, you should set up a 301 redirect from the old to the new location. It is very important to make it a 301, and not something else. You should check in a "server header checker" (search for one) to make sure.

Also, you would not want those 404's. Rather, you should keep the old pages up while you relaunch, and then set up a 301 for each page you transfer to the CMS, on a page-by-page basis. Yes you will have duplicate pages for a few seconds (perhaps even minutes), and that's no problem as you will be putting up 301's immediately. A whole lot of 404's is far worse.

Yes it will take time. That's okay with the SEs. Actually it's better with small changes over a long period of time than big changes in a short period of time.

Oh, and try to keep the structure of your site close to the structure it has now.

That's all, basically. Read it a few times, as I just wrote it like that - I didn't make a draft first and I didn't organize it properly, but it's all very important.

In your case I believe it just might be possible to do it with no significant problems at all. But, of course it is a whole site you're changing, so you should expect some turbulence. In other words, expect some wind, but don't expect a hurricane.

I just have to say this: There is no bullet-proof solution. The above is probably the best advice you'll be able to get, but still it's 100% about your own implementation, and the SEs interpretation.

And of course, if the SEs decide that you're refurbishing a site in stead of relaunching it, then you'll be starting all over in the index. That's the risk. In your case the risk would be smaller than in most other cases (due to your loyal audience, not the SE's), but take care and follow the steps above anyway.

9:02 pm on Dec 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Nice text!

I will read it few times...

Edit: I forgot to say... Thank you!

7:35 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I am still working on adding all old articles to CMS and I am also adding all 301 redirecting as you said...thanks once again.

I have question regarding my current (old) google sitemap... When my new site (with new article url's) is live all old will be 404 Error, but I think I should just upload new sitemap, and old should be left in google sitemaps?

Or old should be removed?

Please advise, thanks!

if anyone have some tips about changing url's and pagerank, etc...help me!


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