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What Happens To Indexed Pages You Change The Url ?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 reseo

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 02:05 PM

Hello Hello,

 

I was always wondering how I can handle this problem.

 

Let me give you an example:

Let's say I created a page and that page was indexed by google.

But I figured, that the slug [URL] wasn't really optimized.

 

so what's the best thing to do ?

 

- should I just change the slug-url from the exisitng page ?

- or should I keep the page like it is and re-direct to a new and optimized one ?

 

I figured that if I just change the URL - google treats it as missing pages.. it's like.. google had this page before, but lost it...

 

So I have no clue how google also "reads" it... but it could possible be treated as a bad sign.. right ?

 

I mean.. if you lose pages.. google might indicate it as bad, right ?

 

 

What are your thoughts about this issue ?

And if I would like to change the Page name - how would you attack this task ?



#2 qwerty

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 02:16 PM

If you get rid of a page and set up 301 redirects from the old URL to some new URL where the content (or something very similar to the original content) now resides, the old page is dropped from the index and any link equity it had will pass to the new one.

 

If you get rid of the page and your server responds to requests for its URL with a 404, it will be dropped from the index, but the search engine will continue to request it now and then just to make sure it stays gone. Any strength that page had is gone.

 

If you get rid of the page and Googlebot still gets a 200 response when it requests it, even though the content is gone, then you've got what they refer to as a "soft 404," and if you've got a decent number of them, it can be taken as a signal that you're doing a bad job of taking care of your site, giving Google extra unnecessary work, and are generally a bad person :)



#3 reseo

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 02:34 PM

Hmm.. so that actually means.. in any case.. if you want to change the URL you should always redirect ? right ?

 

I just noticed .. when using WordPress.. it's a bit annoying. Because you always have the "old pages" on your server, you create a copy of that page and then you redirect. It's kind a really messy... that there isn't any other way around.. hmm... 

 

But another question:

But should I do a re-direct even if I don't have any link-power or "juice" on the old pages ?

Let's say a site was indexed at google - ranking is ok - but let's say, I want to change the URL - shorten it, and make it more user - friendly.

 

And that page.. has no backlinks, no link juice.

 

Wouldn't it make sense just to change the URL ?

And that's it ?

 

I mean yes.. google will notice I dropped the page... and ?

Why is it so bad ?

 

It would make my life much easier in managing the pages within WordPress - because then I would not copy a page, put the same content on it - and re-direct from the old one... 

Does that make sense ?



#4 chrishirst

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 03:40 PM

 

I mean.. if you lose pages.. google might indicate it as bad, right ?

Wrong, 'pages' at URLs go 'missing' all the time, it a fact of life in a "unstable" network. The 404 status code is just that, a Status, it is NOT as popularly termed, an 'error'. It means the document is no longer at this location, a 404 response actually means "Not Found". As in currently not here, but it might reappear at some point in the future.

A 410 status means it has "Gone" and will not be coming back.

There is no 'stigma' attached to a page that no longer exists, it just means that it has served it's purpose and is no superfluous.

 

 

 

Let's say a site was indexed at google - ranking is ok - but let's say, I want to change the URL - shorten it, and make it more user - friendly.

Forget ranking, if there is converting traffic coming to that URL, redirect or alias it. Search engines are NOT the important factor.



#5 qwerty

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 03:45 PM

Doesn't WP automatically set up a 301 whenever you change the slug of a page? You really shouldn't have to copy, paste, publish and delete. But you also ought to think about why you want to change the URL in the first place. Is it really worth the effort? Do you really believe that changing a URL is going to give you or or readers any benefit? Yes, it's a signal. It's not much of a signal. And every time you add a redirect, you're adding a line to .htaccess, and you're adding a little more overhead to your server. You need to have a real reason to make a change before you make a change, and if you are going to make a change, make it a permanent change. Don't change it again some time in the future, especially if that means requests for the original URL hit a 301, and then another 301, and then another.

 

We published a new game recently here where I work, and I had made a few recommendations that apparently fell through the cracks and weren't implemented. The product folks tell me they're going to take care of that very soon, and I've told them that now that the page is published, they can forget about my recommended URL. I wanted a hyphen between the two words in the game's title, and they forgot to put it in. It's not, in my opinion, worth it to change it now.



#6 reseo

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 12:00 PM

a) losing pages

ok.. I just wasn't sure if that's a bonus point you would get from google. but if it actually doesn't matter, following what chris said, I think if a site has no traffic, no backlinks, let it simple die seems to be ok.

 

 

@WP-301:

not that I am aware of. I installed a plugin for redirecting, didn't see any automatic feature that comes with the latest WP version.



#7 Michael Martinez

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 03:55 PM

Wordpress does usually implement redirects when you change the published URL of a page or post. I have seen this fail in a few situations but I never tried to figure out why.

You can easily add a plugin that handles redirects for you when you delete pages and that would also work to fix any URLs that Wordpress decides NOT to redirect (for whatever reason).

#8 reseo

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 04:48 PM

ok.. but once you delete a page and you want to re-direct... you still would need to have the page or post published.. just add the redirect code.. right ? which usually does the plugin...



#9 Jill

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 09:00 AM

but once you delete a page and you want to re-direct... you still would need to have the page or post published

 

 

No you don't. Not the one that is being redirected. It doesn't need to exist as a published page. At least not if you're on a unix server and can use .htaccess


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#10 Michael Martinez

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 09:28 AM

The redirect prevents anyone from ever seeing the originally published content again. So even if the page or content exists, your Web server or application will receive a request for that URL, check to see if there is a redirect in place, and respond with the redirect instead of the content.

Wordpress handles a lot of redirects right out of the box. When you publish a page or post in Wordpress the URL is actually something like "p=nnn" but when you change the permalinks structure Wordpress redirects those URLs to the new format. You can still try to visit those URLs and if you are logged in you'll even see them on unpublished drafts but most people will only see the permalinks you specify in the settings.

Database-managed content is handled very differently from content published directly in files. None of the URLs served by Wordpress actually exist (or only a very small number of them do) as real files on the server. The vast majority are created dynamically when requested by the software.

To Wordpress there is really no difference between the home page of a site and the "File Not Found" 404 page it serves when someone requests an unpublished URL. It's all coming out of the database.




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