Best strategy for URL structure change?

by @dmduco (172), 3 years ago

Hi, first time poster.

The case

  • 4000 page website
  • 35.000 sessions per month
  • Multiple regions with separate pages per region

We are doing a complete URL structure change to better separate the regions:

URL structure change

Note that I changed the regions to more known ones. Every page will be moved to a new URL.

The Question

What would be the best strategy to handle the change?

OPTION A: 301 Redirects Simply setup 301 redirects for every old URL. This is the easy option as we already have a script which handles this perfectly. It takes existing redirects in account while avoiding redirect chains.

OPTION B: Keep both URL’s Keep both the old and new URLs. Setup the new URL as canonical and serve only the new URL to Google via the sitemap.

Option B might be less shocking to Google as it can gradually update it’s index to the canonical URLs. However, I prefer option A as this will we the quicker / cheaper solution (option B involves custom development). But I'm not sure whether there's a difference for Google between both options and if / how big / how long a traffic drop would be caused.

It’s a commercial website but not a webshop. Sales aren’t directly related to traffic, so we’re ok with a small and temporary traffic drop.

Note that even before this change, Google is already aware which version to serve to which region. This is handled in our sitemap.

Any advice is appreciated!

3 Replies
3 Users
Sort replies:
by @ms (3614), 3 years ago

Hi @dmduco and welcome to SEO Forum!

Finally a well described and detailed question, even illustrated by image. Good work.

Generally speaking, google is perfectly fine with the option A. Yeah, it may cause traffic drop, but it should be temporary and also, they are detecting changes like yours much faster than before, so it shouldn't hurt too much.

Also, the great advantage about the option A is that it will keep your app backend clean - you will be serving just current pages, nothing extra, meta-like data for search engines, which makes perfect sense to me.

That being said - Option B will work. The price is obvious though; harder to set up correctly and affecting the actual app in the future.

Good luck!

by @ariamathew (155), 3 years ago

It is better to go with option A. Option B takes lot of time to setup. But it is worth to spend time on second. Gradually, Google will consider the canonical URL to index

by @dmduco (172), 3 years ago

Thanks for the replies (and compliment :)) The downsides for Option B are very true. I'll go for Option A!

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