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Changing URLs to Short Length

     
9:24 am on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Hi... I have 2 million web pages site. Most of the web page URLs are too long. So I have planned to reduce the length of the 2 million web page URLs. Clearly I am going to do 301 redirection from old one to corresponding new page. Please let me know whether it affects to drop my existing SERP position or not.

For example, the page "A" at first position in the SERP, if i use the 301 redirect from page "A" to "A1", the page "A1" retain at first position or not.

Thanks,
Vijay.

2:33 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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



The 301 redirect is naturally the right thing - but its effect is not immediate and in some cases there is a short period of lost traffic.

If you use a test environment and take care that everything is technically correct before you make the change live, you have the least possibility of major problems. Make sure that you have no "chains" of redirects - the best practice is just one "jump" and you've arrived.

So if you already have canonical fixes in place, for example, makes sure that they work like this:

[no-www long url] >> [with-www short url]

...and not

[no-www-long url] >> [with-www long url] >> [with-www short url]

We have a disucssion on this topic in the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page. It's a bit old, but it still applies.

4:49 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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



If you're using Apache these three recent threads might have other details that could help you...

[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]

1:01 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I understand that having a longer URL is not as good. We currently have many pages with www.X.com/A/B/C/D/E.html type, and we are considering changing the URL to www.X.com/A-B/E.html.

Has anyone actually seen that their SERP actually changes when they perform such a change?

The reason I am hesitating is that we have 1M+ pages indexed and trying to change all those, and don't make a mistake is not trivial.

7:26 am on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



See my posts in this thread:
[webmasterworld.com...]
5:57 pm on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Thanks, mcglynn. I read the posts there, and it seems like different people have very different experience.

However, I have NOT heard if anyone has an improvement in SERP after they moved they redirected the "bad URL" to the "good URL" structures. The best people are saying they got what they had before, pretty much. So if nobody is seeing huge improvements, then why risk the change?

6:17 pm on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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



One reason people rewrite urls is to get the keyword into the filepath. I'd say that, on today's Google, that offers only a very small edge in ranking - and one that is usally overwhelmed by other relevance and ranking signals. The edge it gives might be helpful on very high competitioin keywords.

The shorter url does seem to draw clicks more easily, even with the same rankings. But all my comments are assuming technical precision in all areas. Technical errors in a rewrite or redirect scheme can mess with your rankings quite severly.

6:36 pm on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Thanks, tedster. That makes sense.
 

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