Alan Spurgeon

Search Engine Promotion: How To Protect Your Inbound Links When Changing Your Website

search-engine-promotionIf you are having a website revamp, or completely changing your website design and structure, you may be concerned about the effect this will have on your website rankings.

We were recently asked by one of our readers what they can do to protect their rankings, when changing their website.

Here is some of the advice we provided…

When updating your website one of the main things to consider, is what is going to happen to all of the links that currently point to your website pages. It’s important to make sure that existing links to your site don’t get lost. Think of each link to a page on your site, as being regarded as a vote for that page by the search engines. The more links (votes) a page receives, the more important the search engines think your page is.

So what do we do?

If the new page URL (web address) is exactly the same as the old URL, there is no problem (Note: urls are case sensitive). However, if a page URL changes you have to make sure that any links you had to this URL aren’t lost.

To give an example:

Your page is currently

/blog

and lets say that on the new site its…

/web-design-bedford/

You will need to redirect any references to /blog to its new home at /web-design-bedford/

This must be done as a permanent redirect (your server administrator should be able to help you do this, if this is too technical).

This should be carried out for all pages on the old site unless the URL is absolutely identical. If a page on the old site has no direct equivalent on the new site, then it is could be directed to the home page.

You should delete the old pages after all the redirects are setup and working, as you don’t want search engines looking at them, or searchers accidentally visiting the old site.

If you just delete the old pages, peoples bookmarks may fail and you will lose some of your position in the search engines, as they drop non-existent URLS, hence the reason why they should be redirected.

Whilst you are on the topic of making these adjustments, you may also want to make sure that the webserver is setup correctly to handle the non www version of any URL, so that any link without the www prefix, gets redirected to the www version.

Example:

http://totallyinsuredgroup.co.uk

should be redirected to…

http://www.totallyinsuredgroup.co.uk

If you have any questions related to online marketing, post them as a comment and we will do our best to answer them. To enquire about our online marketing services, enquire here.

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