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Redesigned website - Google is now only ranking the home page



4:18 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We recently redesigned our entire site (9/22) and now the only page that has a Google rank is the home page. How long should it take for Google to rank the rest of the site? Should I be concerned? Any insight you can give me is greatly appreciated.


4:26 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

Hello mhaole, and welcome to the forums.

Did your redesign change the URLs for your pages? If so the wait could be several months. If you kept the URLs that were previously ranking then you might see the inner pages reappear faster than that.


4:35 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks tedster,

Yes, all of the url's have changed and are now asp instead of html pages. The only page that has kept its rank is index.asp which use to be index.html.


4:49 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Just to reiterate what tedster said, changing the extension of filenames (e.g. from .html to .asp) constitutes a full URL change in google's eyes. As far as googlebot is concerned, you erased your old website (except for the homepage) and built a new one.

You've also lost all the value of inbound links to content pages (meaning, everything except the homepage) on the old site. I would recommend you pull a list of inbound links from your old server logs or from Google's webmaster console (see the "links" tool and download the .csv file) and have your IT department create 301 redirects from all the important .html pages to their new .asp pages. This will help retain the link juice accumulated by the old site.

Or, if it is true that every old foo.html page has an equivalent with the new extension (foo.asp), then create a blanket 301 redirect within your 404 handler, such that a request for anything.html results in a 301 to anything.asp. That's easier than creating many individual redirects.

The takeaway lesson here (IMO) is, never change all your URLs. I know Apache can be configured to use any file extension. I suspect the same is true for Microsoft server products. There's just no reason to erase years of accumulated authority/link juice/etc due to a server-software configuration issue!


5:50 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks mcglynn...we hired a company to create a new site for us using a content management system. I didn't realize how this would affect our rank and our previous link juice and I am surprised they didn't mention this to us. The new site is hosted on a different server than the old site. In order to create the 301 redirects could I create blank html pages with the same naming convention and directory structure as the old site?


10:07 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

No, you don't want blank pages, which generally would return a '200 OK' header. You need the server software itself to intercept the requests for all the old pages and return a 301, which tells both humans and spiders (e.g. googlebot) "the page you're looking for has permanently moved to the following location:", then gives the new address.

Whether or not this makes sense to you, it should be pretty clear to the folks who either created the site or who maintain the server. If your CMS consultants can't help with this, they really shouldn't be in business -- it's hardly good service to rob their clients of all their search-engine rankings (IMO).


10:18 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

You're apparently on a Microsoft IIS server running .NET. There are several approaches available to creating a 301 redirect for those legacy urls. Check out our Windows IIS and .NET [webmasterworld.com] forum for more information, or get in touch with your technical support.


11:36 pm on Oct 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

What the designers should have done is set things up so that you retained exactly the same URLs and the same extensions. This can be done even when the technology running the site changes to somethig else.

The .asp extension signifies that an ASP script sent the HTML out to the browser. What that extension is, does not matter to a browser. It could be .xyz or .abc for all it cares... but a change of extension is a change of URL.

I have a site where all the URLs end in .asp but the content is actually pushed out by a PHP script. Bots and browsers don't care what made that page, it is all internal to the server. All they care about is that the content arrives flagged as "text/html" with a "200 OK" status in the HTTP header.

How long has the new site been live? If it were only a few days, I would get all the URLs changed back to the old ones, immediately. If it has been too long, or is just too difficult, then you absolutely need a 301 redirect from each old URL to each new URL. This allows visitors following old links to still arrive at the correct page of your site, and tells search engines to update their listings.

Here is how we tackled it recently for someone using Apache and who mistakenly changed all his URLs from .html to .php - [webmasterworld.com...]


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