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301 redirect 100,000 pages for redesign

     
5:08 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys,

My redesign should launch in a few months, and it's changing URLs from .asp to .htm (or possibly no extension at all.

I need to 301 the old .asp pages to the new URLs, and my site has about 100,000 urls.

What's the best way to do this? I can't do it in chunks, it needs to be done all at once.

I don't want to get any kind of penalty, but I'm sure sites with redesigns do this all the time... am i too worried, or is there a better way to handle this?

thanks
6:09 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've had good luck changing lots of urls at once in the past year and a half. I've changed 100,000 at a time with no ill effects but the most percentage-wise that I've done is about 10% of the site.

I'd expect your changes should be fine provided the redirects are implemented correctly. I'd still hold my breath for a couple weeks afterwards though.
6:37 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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One thing I did once when had tens of thousands of URLs to redirect was - the old ones had /catalog/ in the URL, but the new ones didn't, so we set up a separate apache just for the redirects in /catalog/ on the new site. Seemed to work okay.

But yea, you'll probably see a dip for a while.
6:39 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Is there a way to avoid a dip that anyone has discovered?

I was thinking of launching the new site on a subdomain, and slowly moving things over, but it's going to be a strange user experience since the new site has a completely revamped shopping cart too.
4:08 pm on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I changed the URLs of my main site -- hosted on WordPress -- in the month of June. Over 1000 URLs were redirected to new non-HTML URLs using 301. Everything went smooth. And the traffic was consistent from day one.

However, after a couple of weeks, when Google begun indexing new URLs, I saw a slight dip in traffic. I don't know whether to blame the URL change or the Google Panda but this has left me unsatisfied. I wish I knew what went wrong.

I don't want to scare you. Probably the best advice I could give you is to change it now. Or, don't change it. I'd advice against changing only 100 URLs to track the difference in traffic.
3:23 am on Aug 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If you're moving 100K pages to new URLs and a new cart, you're gonna get a dip; I don't know any way to avoid it. If you were a client of mine, I would tell you to prepare for three to six months. Might not be that long, but I'm a "hope for the best, expect the worst" kinda gal.
12:49 pm on Aug 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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As long as you do page-to-page level redirects, make no other larger changes to titles, metas, texts or keywords - you should be fine. Did around 12 Million indexed URLs last year and had no problems. Took around 3-6 weeks for Google to accept all the changes. Ranking was up-n-down for around 4 weeks for short- and middle-tail searches. Longtail improved overall.
5:07 pm on Aug 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The problem comes when you start changing big ticket seo items like page title, meta tags, header tags, and keywords within the URL. If you are simply changing extensions from .asp to .htm and the url structure is remaining the same, I'd say you are fine.

But I have a feeling the url structure is changing for you since asp pages are dynamic and accept query string values, and htm pages are more static in nature.

Are you changing it to something like this:

www.xyz.com/page.asp?a=keyword1&b=keyword2

to

www.xyz.com/keyword1/keyword2/page.htm

Even in this case you can see the order and placement of the keywords in the URL is different, hence you can expect some slight changes to your rankings.

You have to remember there are hundreds if not thousands of ranking factors. Any change to a URL structure even in a minor way is going to potentially have some effect.