One of the most frequently asked questions is related to the domain redirection and the ways in which proper redirection can be achieved in order to make painful transition to new links and/or domain. While the process itself looks maybe trivial (a few code lines into the page or .htaccess file), the practical side can sometimes go in the wrong direction — from deindexed pages, duplicated content, or even waiting for several months for reactivation and ranking to some keywords.

Here are some advices, guidelines and warnings that should be taken into consideration when planning URL structure and its redirection:

  • By setting the 301 redirection from an old link to a new one, doesn’t neccesarily mean that the value of the old link (link juice) will be assigned to the new one.
  • Also, when talking about larger amount of (sub)pages, it doesn’t neccesarily mean that the setting of 301 redirection is sufficient to transfer all subpages to the new domain. Multiple redirections are required to be done in order to make robots their job easier, and to deprive yourself the question about what went wrong.
  • It is useful to use friendly URLs/directories, because in that way when doing some file modifications in the future, it won’t be neccesary to make new redirections — e.g. if we want to modify page ppc_advertising.html to ppc_advertising.php, we need to make redirection from .html to .php version. If there is a link, each change we make to the file extension doesn’t affect the link itself. Thereby, we saved some time and kept the value of the link.
  • If you are planning to make a new website, keep in mind to avoid frames or flash as main source of the creating process. Avoid frames at any time, while the useful application of flash (maping in flash) is quite acceptable.

Link structure

  • Pay attention to the value distribution of internal links: there is no point of assigning value to links you don’t want to be positioned on search engines (print forms, contact forms containing no information, terms of use pages).
  • Keywords in URL: while many emphasize the importance of friendly URLs, its value mainly lies in the easy reading — that is recommended more from the point of legibility and user experience, and not because of the search engines itself.
  • Pay attention to the URL’s lenght: longer URLs can be a problem for search engines — they are harder to index.
  • Throw out the IDs from the usage. The use of cookies is a quite good alternative.

Keywords in domain name

  • The advantage of keywords in domain name is the anchor text that will often be used as the linking text. Considering that the domain name is one of the main targeted keywords, this helps extremily in positioning on search engines.
  • On the other hand, keywords in domain name can have negative influence on the brand itself, and at the same time leave very little maneuveing space, as opposed to some other general name.

What are the advantages of optimized URLs?

  • Because of its shorter and user friendly appearance, the robots can find and read them easier.
  • By using keywords in URLs , we can influence the click through rate and visibility.
  • Users should not be neglected, they can read these URLs and know to some part what they are about before clicking the link.

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