The 1-2-3s Of SEO Site Restructure

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The challenges of restructuring a site that has been optimized for SEO are major. If you are going to make fundamental changes to the look, flow, and — most importantly — content of your site, here are three important steps you should follow if you want to maintain your positive rankings in the SERP s.

  1. Create a one-to-one 301 redirect map of pages from the old site to the new site. Make sure the pages are as close to an exact match as possible.
  2. Make sure that any old site pages that do not have an exact corresponding new site page are redirected at a category level.
  3. Any old site pages left that still do not have a home should be redirected to the new site home page.

The reasons for doing this are plenty. Your website is full of assets that you need to protect. Here are the top three things you want to maintain during and after a restructure of your site.

  1. External links to your website. People who follow these links need to land on relevant pages. If you lose the relevancy of an inbound link by redirecting it to a generic page, you lose most of its value. More importantly, you want the search engines to map the links correctly.
  2. Deep link pages of your site in the SERPs. When users click on them, you will want the correct pages to show up. This mirrors point #1, but from the user’s perspective via the search engine.
  3. Bookmarks of your site. When a user attempts to go to a bookmark, you want to make sure they get the information they are looking for. Again, relevancy is king.

If you have a large site (over 100 pages or so) here are three techniques to help you prioritize your pages to ensure you are taking care of the most important content first.

  1. Identify which pages are receiving the most traffic. Your analytics software will help you here.
  2. Use Google Webmaster Tools to identify your external links and what pages they are landing on.
  3. Use Yahoo Site Explorer to locate the top pages listed by your external links. Yahoo lists this in order of importance most of the time.

By taking a serious look at your site structure and not skimping on the upfront work of site mapping and 301 redirects, you can eliminate most of the headaches that can come as a result of a poorly planned SEO restructuring.

About the Author

Chris Stiner is both a SEM specialist and DRTV media buyer at Koeppel Direct. With over 10 years of offline and online direct response marketing experience, he has a unique skill set and outlook on the synergies of multi-channel SEM direct response marketing.

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3 Comments

  1. Yea great post, content and links are absolutely crucial for SEO ranking and just getting traffic in general. What i really liked about your post is the point that you mentioned that you should check where your links are coming from. Find out your high traffic links, go to those websites contact the webmaster and try to be a guest blogger or give them some free content to put on their site to track back to yours. .-= Asim Ahmed´s last blog ..Get Traffic To Your Website =-.

  2. I am fairly new in the seo industry and I most certainly would need to learn a lot more from it. Thanks for your suggestions and I'm pretty it'll be applicable to my situation. I'm hoping that it'll work to my advantage.

  3. This makes a lot of sense. Doing a redirect is so important because most likely there have been many links set up for that page and you wouldn't want to lose those links. Setting up the redirect will ensure that you won't have wasted your previous seo work.