Planning a website revamp? If so, you are in good company. Most businesses find justification for a major website update every few years. The precise frequency and scope of such updates will vary based on factors including the dynamic nature of the business. But however long it’s been since the last site makeover, by the time a new site has been created, everyone is anxious to post it.
But hold on. You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Even after your new site is live, the old site still has value… in the form of previously earned search engine ranking and inbound links. In fact, a company will often invest time and/or money in improving their existing site’s performance on Google and other search engines before deciding that a more major site update is necessary.
Yet when the new site is built, page names and functions often change. In fact, the entire method of organization is likely to change. Generally, this means that previously-existing pages will disappear from the site. If you’ve achieved some traction in the form of good rankings on even a few keywords, you don’t want that traction to disappear, too.
Fortunately, HTML provides a technique to address this problem: URL redirection (also called URL forwarding) code will take care of this. Properly implanted, URL redirection will automatically forward requests for old pages to the corresponding page on the new site. This keeps the search engines from losing faith in your site – and losing track of your pages. It also means that valuable links from other websites will still send traffic to the appropriate page.
Before you’re ready to launch that new site, make sure that you have a URL redirect plan in place. It will save you lost traffic and keep the search engines happy while they gain an understanding of your new site structure!