Despite the format change being a relatively simple thing, if you want to make sure that you maintain your site’s ranking and authority, this is where things can get a little tricky. But, if you adhere to the following guidelines, then you shouldn’t have any problems.
One of the more common reasons for switching URL formats is to create a more user-friendly site. Perhaps you have thousands of pages and you want to reduce it to a few hundred by combining some of the related pages. But, when you do this, Google will treat the new URLs as brand new pages, causing you to lose any keyword rankings you may have had for those previous pages and suffer a drop in organic traffic. Therefore, when doing this, you need to ensure that you apply proper SEO redirects from the old URLs to the new URLs.
When dealing with larger websites with hundreds of thousands of pages, applying redirects for all the pages can become extremely complicated. But, if you decide to go ahead with it, make sure to have a digital marketing expert or experienced webmaster do it for you.
External and internal links are another aspect that is often overlooked when there is a shuffle in a website’s URL structure. Having links that point to old, inactive URLs (dead links) is disastrous for your site’s search engine optimization. All of these old links must be changed so they point to the new URLs. That also goes for any external links you may have on other websites, blogs or forums.
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