Changing URLs? How It Will Change Your SEO

SEO Traffic Changes When URLs Change

You may have noticed that we recently updated Practical Ecommerce with a fresh, new design. Behind the scenes, a lot of things changed as we moved to a new platform, but the primary URLs stayed exactly the same. And that has made all the difference for organic search-referred traffic.

URL changes are a common byproduct of redesigns, especially when a platform change is included. Unfortunately, the importance of these changes to SEO is often overlooked in the process.

URLs and navigation form the road map that search engines use to crawl and index a site. When URLs change, organic search performance changes — often for the worse.

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Creating an SEO Redesign Launch Plan

Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “SEO: Launching a Redesigned Site.”

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series on identifying, assessing, and mitigating the risk of site redesigns on organic search traffic. Part one, “SEO: Identifying the Impact of a Site Redesign,” we published last week.

Launching a redesigned site is filled with potentially high risks and rewards for organic search traffic. Regardless of whether the risks outweigh the rewards in the end, the weeks following a redesign typically produce unstable organic search traffic patterns and may include some nail-biting days. In “SEO: Identifying the Impact of a Site Redesign,” part one of this two-part series, I discussed how to predict which areas of the site were most likely to be impacted in the redesign.

In this second installment, I will focus on how to identify the scale of the risk to organic search traffic as well as how to create a plan to mitigate that risk. The full article includes the following sections:

  • Organic Search Risk and Reward
  • Calculating the Risk
  • Mitigating Organic Search Risk
  • 301 Redirect Plans
  • Closely Measure Afterwards

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce, “SEO: Launching a Redesigned Site.”

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Migrating Your Site? SEO Checklist

Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “SEO Site Migration Checklist.”

Migrating a site to a new platform or domain, or implementing a major redesign, are some of the most stressful situations in search engine optimization. The potential for massively impacting organic search traffic and sales is higher during these launches than at any other time. With planning and priority on the SEO impact of the launch it’s possible to actually improve SEO performance after a major launch event.

However, most sites neglect to include an SEO professional in the planning, design, development and launch phases of the project, typically resulting in a loss of SEO performance post-launch. While an experienced SEO professional can certainly come in afterwards to guide the team through a strategy to revive the site’s SEO performance, this process typically takes three to six months of planning, rework from the design and development teams, and a loss of traffic and revenue in the interim.

Speaking from experience helping clients through many platform changes, redesigns, domain moves and other assorted SEO pitfalls, these are my best tips for arriving at the other end of the launch with your SEO safely intact.

Read the article in full for 2,000 words worth of SEO site migration tips at Practical eCommerce »

Migrating a site is always a complex process and should always include an SEO professional. Just as a marketing team wouldn’t dream of replatforming or redesigning without information architecture expertise, the same logic needs to apply to search engine optimization. The stakes are too high in terms of organic search traffic and revenue to risk cutting corners on SEO.

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Mobile SEO and Responsive Web Design

My latest article at Practical Ecommerce, SEO Benefits of Responsive Web Design. Read it in full.

Site owners have many competing needs when developing mobile sites. Different devices, different capabilities, different screen sizes and resolutions, all have an impact on designing and developing mobile sites today.

Image courtesy of Google’s Go Mo initiative.

According to Mongoose Metrics, a tracking and analysis firm, only 9 percent of sites are ready for mobile in 2012. The primary consideration with mobile tends to be enabling better usability and — for ecommece sites —conversion. Another study by Compuware, a software and services provider, shows that 57 percent of users will not recommend a company with a bad mobile site and 40 percent of users will visit a competitor’s site rather than using a poorly optimized mobile site. The case for usability and conversion as primary concerns in the drive to take ecommerce sites mobile is easy to make. Fortunately, responsive web design — the leading solution to the mobile usability challenge — is also beneficial to search engine optimization.

Read more »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

8 SEO Reasons to Crawl Your Sites

My latest article at Ecommerce Developer, read it in full here.


The first thing I do when working with a new site is set my favorite crawler on it. This gets me acquainted with all the URLs, site sections, interlinkings, forgotten pockets, scars and warts. A good crawler offers a wealth of data useful not just to search engine optimization, but also to site maintenance in general.

Luckily, some great crawlers are free. You’ll find pages of options just by Googling “web crawler” or a similar term. Xenu Link Sleuth is my favorite for the price — it’s free — and for the broad assortment of data collected on every URL it crawls. GSite Crawler is another good, free alternative. It’s focused mainly on creating XML sitemaps and feeds, but it’s good for other uses as well.

Read more »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.