About a year ago I wrote about how important it is to make sure your web pages have 301 redirects created if you change them at all and already this year I’ve talked to two clients who’ve had “work done” to improve their search rankings and all its done is bombed their hits to almost nothing.
Both clients had a call from very large, corporate, “we’ll make your website better” type companies and paid a lot of money to have their web addresses changed to more attractive and search engine friendly ones. This technique does help a little and having friendly URL’s also helps your users see what your page is all about.
Here’s an example:
Old URL was : domain-name.com/product.php?id=567
New URL : domain-name.com/blue-box-files
This is all good but what they didn’t do was tell Google or any other person who has linked to that page that the URL had changed so when the page appeared in Google’s search results and was clicked on it just went to a 404 not found page!
This is not good for Google, they don’t want to show people bad links and pages and Google thinks that all the pages on the website have gone, so it takes them out of its search results – web traffic bombs.
The new URL’s are in fact brand new pages that just been added so they rank low and the whole process of promoting them begins again!
What Should Of Happened
Every page should of had a 301 redirect set up to tell the search engines and everyone else that old page has permanently moved to the new page. This way all your rankings would stay intact and just the page addresses get changed.
If you already have nice friendly URL’s and you’re having a redesign make sure you keep the same URL’s for each page, this way you won’t have the problems listed above.