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Duplicate Content Or Not
Posted 12 August 2009 - 07:32 AM
When I launched it 4 years ago, I didn't know anything about SEO, and I had a SEO firm do some work for me. Quite successfully.
But as a part of redesigning the website I have also decided to do the SEO myself. And in that process I would like to change some URLs on pages on the website.
However - the old pages have been indexed on the search engines already, and of course I would like to take advantage of that until the new ones are indexed. And I would of course also like to keep the juice from incoming links to some of these pages.
So I am considering this:
Naming the URLs as I believe is best, taking SEO into consideration. And of course including these URLs in the internal link structure of my website - and
Keeping an exact copy of these pages with the old URLs - and not including them in the internal link structure of the website
My reason would be that I would for some time maintain the benefit from the old URLs until the new ones sort of take over. And hopefully I would not be punished for duplicate content as the old URLs would no longer be part of my sitemap and therefore not be indexed by the search engines anymore.
Obviously the pages will contaiun all the links to the rest of my websites, so nobody will feel that they are on a "strange page" - thet can simply move on from there.
Is this a good way of doing it?
Posted 12 August 2009 - 07:48 AM
First off, you're asking for trouble if you believe changing the file names and or path structure to work in your keywords is going to carry any great SEO benefit. Dunno where you've been reading, but what you're proposing is the single biggest mistake I see people make time and time again. Not only do keyword stuffed urls not carry a lot of weight with the search engines, you're actively disconnecting all of your previous efforts from your current site.
So to start off with, you may want to reconsider what you intend to do and more importantly why you're wanting to do it. If it's for the search engines only with no usability improvement for real users or is not something that's required because you're installing a new cms or cart you'll probably want to hold off on this thought.
That said, anytime you have to change your url structure you'll want to set up 301 redirects that point from each of the old urls to the best possible new url. The 301's will take care of any users who end up at those old pages, no matter how they arrive there, and get them to the new pages. They also help send a signal to the search engines that the old pages have been replaced with other pages, thereby causing them to pass along the authority, trust and link pop the old pages had to the new pages.
We have a whole section of the forums dedicated to 301's redirects. It's down in the Technology section.
Posted 12 August 2009 - 08:40 AM
As Randy said, the permanent 301 redirect is the right way to go and is very effective. I've recently moved two websites and the 301 redirects work just fine. The search engine rankings are maintained.
One frustration is that Google seems to hang on to the old URLs for a long time. So you can find them in the Google index even though anyone going to the old URL will end up on the new URL. I think this persistance means that the redirect process is less than 100% efficient in transferring all the old PR juice.
Posted 12 August 2009 - 08:42 AM
I'll just use the exact same path structure as before - and avoid any problems.
Hopefully I'll be able to make higher quality content in the new version and thus enhance my results
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