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301 From Root Directory To Subfolder


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7 replies to this topic

#1 Wishing8

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:43 AM

My web site is currently ranked well in Google based on my blog, which gets updated regularly. I also currently have an html home page, but the rest of my site is in flash. The html home page has text to make it SEO-friendly. I'm getting rid of flash and changing to an all html-based web site, but it needs to be in the same folder as my blog. I can't move my blog to the root directory, because I'm afraid of losing my Google rankings. I'm considering two options:

1. Use a 301 redirect to point my root directory homepage (www.mysite.com) to my blog subfolder (www.mysite.com/subfolder). From the user experience, the blog folder will look like a regular web site.
2. Keep a "splash" page where the user needs to click to enter the site. When they click, they're then taken to the subfolder.

Which option is better? I don't want to lose my Google rankings. I'm a very small business, and I rely heavily on the clients I get from Google. From a user standpoint, the first option is cleaner. They go right to the web site. My concern with the 301, though, is that then there won't be ANYTHING at all content-wise in the root directory. All the content will be in the subfolder. Although option 2 isn't as clean for usability, I don't think it would be that big of a deal; it's just one extra click to get there, and it's what all my clients do now anyway (except they click from my splash page to get to the flash-based site). But if option 1 won't hurt me, then I should probably do that one.

What do you recommend I do? Should I use a 301 redirect to point the root directory to my active subfolder, or should I keep a splash page where the user clicks to get to the subfolder? Which is better for Google? Thanks for any thoughts on this!

Edited by Wishing8, 25 January 2012 - 10:00 AM.


#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:41 PM

I would move the blog. I have, in fact, done this historically (more than once). I never really saw much of a dip in search referral traffic and any dip there may have been vanished quickly. The search engines keep the old listings for a while and if you're redirecting the pages correctly (or allowing the blog to do it -- which is something Wordpress can do) they'll follow those links to the new URLs, which will eventually displace the old listings.

#3 Jill

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:48 PM

Why do they have to be in the same folder? That in and of itself seems odd, and you should make sure this is truly a necessity.

That said, you should of course 301 redirect whatever URLs that have to be changed, to their new counterpart. That's a nobrainer.

#4 Wishing8

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 05:51 PM

Thanks so much for the replies! The web site and blog have to be in the same folder because the blog and web site will both use the same program (ProPhoto). The newly organized web site will be tied then to the blog, so it has to be where the blog is. Basically the blog is getting expanded to function like a regular web site and replace my current flash-based one.

So you really think it's best to move the blog to the root domain? Since my web site was flash-based, most of my current Google ranking probably comes from my splash page (a single page at the root domain with SEO friendly text) that then links to the flash site and my blog that's updated regularly. If I move my blog content from www.mysite.com/blog to www.mysite.com, my ranking won't be affected even though all the old blog post URLs will end up changing?

I guess my two big questions are:
- Is the web site content being in the root directory very important for google rankings?
- Can you move an established subfolder (more than three years worth of content), and therefore change all the URLs, to the root directory without losing search rankings?

If I can safely move the blog, I would like to do that. I'm on page 1 for most of my business' main key word searches, and I just want to make sure I don't lose that (it's okay if there's a little dip in rankings, as long as the dip doesn't last a long time).

Edited by Wishing8, 25 January 2012 - 05:57 PM.


#5 Michael Martinez

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:14 PM

QUOTE(Wishing8 @ Jan 25 2012, 02:51 PM) View Post
I guess my two big questions are:
- Is the web site content being in the root directory very important for google rankings?


Google could not care less about WHERE it finds your content as long as it can find the content and assess its quality and value properly (according to their proprietary standards).

QUOTE
- Can you move an established subfolder (more than three years worth of content), and therefore change all the URLs, to the root directory without losing search rankings?


Yes...and no. It's possible you might do something wrong. I've made these kinds of changes many times through the years. Sometimes something burps, in which case you fix the problem and move on.

I have never encountered an SEO problem that cannot be fixed. We all make mistakes. We just need to recover from them (and learn from them).

I don't think you should feel too anxious but perhaps you can find a good SEO who will take you on for a one-off project (I do not take on clients any more so I am not fishing).

#6 Wishing8

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:43 PM

Thanks, Michael. It's not something I would be doing myself. I have a web designer who has worked many times with the same type of blogsite for many other people in my same industry (I've looked at many of the web sites she's worked on, and she's known favorably on an industry-specific forum I'm a member of). I think she would be okay handling 301s if I move the blog, but as you said, anyone can make mistakes. I know she will do a good job setting everything up, but she doesn't want to give any SEO advice about restructuring my site for liability reasons. She told me that she thinks moving the blog wouldn't permanently affect ratings (maybe a brief dip), but there's always the possibility the ranking would go. She's happy to move the blog, or keep it where it is.

Unfortunately, although she's worked on a lot of web sites, she hasn't worked on one that's exactly like my situation (moving the blog to the main directory for someone who's already on page 1 for many keywords in their locale), so she can't say for sure that everything will be fine. I've been consistently on page 1 for my search keywords now for about a year and a half. The new blogsite should hopefully be a good thing because it will have more searchable text (it's html-based instead of flash) and maybe bump me up for the few important keywords I'm not searchable for yet.

She said my choices are to use a 301 for the old splash page to the newly designed blogsite (in the subfolder). This would be a very simple 301, because it's just the one splash page at the root directory pointing to the blog subfolder. Or, we can move the blogsite to the root directory (and do the appropriate 301 redirects for the old blog posts).

I can't afford to hire an SEO expert, unfortunately. This is my slow season, and I'm already investing in the web site redesign. So, I'm trying to research and figure out what is best to do.

You said that Google doesn't really care where the content is. Is there any advantage then to moving the blogsite to the root directory?



#7 Jill

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:45 AM

QUOTE
You said that Google doesn't really care where the content is. Is there any advantage then to moving the blogsite to the root directory?


Either way is fine.

#8 Wishing8

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:01 PM

Thanks, Jill!




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