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How to do a smooth complete site update/redesign

10:01 am on May 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to roll out a complete site redesign and worry a bit about possible traffic and revenue drop.

The site is a <widgets> catalog. What worries me the most is most urls for individual <widgets> are changed in the new site. The old urls are redirected to new ones by 301. Still I fear that page ranks and traffic would drop.

I was looking for a kind of official recommendations from Google on how to handle this situation, but found

I'd appreciate any advice on how to better do the new site rollout, what to check before I start?

[edited by: aakk9999 at 6:51 pm (utc) on May 23, 2016]
[edit reason] Replaced named product with <widget> as per ToS [/edit]

12:24 am on May 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld, f137!

It seems to me that you have done what you should be doing - page to page redirect from the old URL to the new one. In that case what you would expect is a temporary drop which often happens when google discovers new URLs but has not yet attempted to crawl old URLs and hence it has not seen the redirect. What happens in that case is that Google gets influx of new URLs that it sees have the same content as the current URLs in its index.

Submitting a new sitemap with new URLs only in there may help Google understand what has happened.

Another thing that can affect your rankings is if your redesigned site Information Architecture has changed, i.e the redesigned site changed how pages are linking to each other, navigation is different, siloing is different. This can have an impact (positive or negative) on its own without the URL changes, so if you see any ranking fluctuation, do not assume that it is only because of URL changes.

What can help is if you ensure that there are no techincal issues when you put redesigned site live. Check that internally you always link to the new URL, check that rel canonicals are set up correctly (with new URL), make sure you do not leak endless URLs to Google as a result of programming error, adjust your robots.txt to reflect new URLs and so on.
11:38 am on May 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the reply! Submitting the sitemap is a great suggestion, I did not thought about it.
11:07 am on May 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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301's... are the right thing to do... are you using wordpress ?
1:45 pm on June 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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1) Backup Website
2) Download using an html program like webdumper.
3) Create a complete site map with urls, titles & desc
4) In GA save your top (100?) pages.

All of these help later in diagnosing problems.

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