A long time client of ours is re-doing their web site after 5 years and we’ve been in discussion with them about the need for a SEO migration plan. The developer wants to use a new platform for the site, meaning urls are going to be different. This is an ecommerce site with thousands of product and category URLs so the move to the new platform needs to be executed correctly or it could go very badly as far as search engine visibility.
Shortly after explaining this to our client I was reading a prominent PR web site that listed various resources to “digital PR” articles. I clicked on one and came upon this from Entrepreneur.com:
The text is small, so I’ll put it here:
“We’ve recently made significant changes to our web site. This means some of the pages you might have bookmarked now have a different URL. To find the page you’re looking for, try these methods:”
Then it shows Google search as a way to find the “lost” page. Ouch!
I don’t know about you, but if I was FedEx, I wouldn’t be too happy about my ads running on pages with that kind of message.
This is the kind of thing that happens when web site owners rely on web development teams to transition sites to new content management systems, development platforms and designs without taking into consideration that search engines are an audience for the site as well.
Whoever worked on the Entrepreneur site would have done well to read Thomas’ “10 things to keep in mind when changing a site design“, especially tip #1: “Consider keeping the same file naming structure so that it will be easier for spiders to re-crawl the new site and peoples bookmarks donâ€™t return 404 error pages” and the last tip, “Tell your SEO before you make the new site live so they can help prevent any issues.”