View Full Version : Effects of moving pages to diff. directory
05-05-2004, 10:07 AM
I am about to move to a new host and as such would like to reorganize (clean out clutter) my web servers folder structure. Basically, I would like to move all of my website php pages to the root directory but I'm concerned that this movement might adversely affect my page rank / search engine placement since the currently indexed pages of the site point to this subdirectory where I'm currently locating all my php files.
If I move the files, will this probably affect my rankings....my thinking would be that the search engines would basically be seeing what it thought was "new" pages, since the pages were located in a diff. folder than the currently indexed versions?
Any thoughts on the best way to do this without killing myself in the search results..?
Thank you for your help.
05-05-2004, 10:29 AM
I recently completely redid one of my sites. The only file that was in the same place with the same name was my home page, index.php. I lost all PR on every other page, but I imagine it will come back before long.
It has been about a month and most of my new pages are in Google's index now and most of the old ones are starting to disappear.
The key is to make a good custom 404 page. This will allow spiders that go to your site expecting to find a page to find something to work with. On your 404 have links to the most important parts of your site and a sitemap which represents your new structure.
This 404 page will also help visitors who find you in the SERPS to land on a page of your site instead of the default 404 page. Tell them you redesigned your site. Give them a search function to help them find the content they were looking for.
I also set up a sub-domain and moved my old site there. On my 404 page I tell visitors that what they are looking for might be on the old site and I give them a link.
You can see what I mean at http://www.divergentlines.com/error_404.php
There are tutorials all over the internet about how to do this with both Apache and IIS. Just look at a few and decide which method you want to use.
05-07-2004, 09:43 AM
Very good information. Thank you.
As a follow up question, I had read about setting up 301 redirects in my .htaccess file, which would as I read, would 1.) allow spiders to find my new pages / re-index them to the new locations, and 2.) not adversely affect my pagerank (in so much as it would not be seeing, what it thought were, "new" pages).
Does anyone have any thoughts about the potential downfalls of doing it this way? Thanks in advance.
I don't have any info on redirects but I will tell you my experience with Google. I first changed some names by addidng hyphens to separate words in the title of the page: example usefullinks became useful-links. I totally lost all PR on that page. Secondly, I created a subdirectory and moved lots of pages to it. example: a bunch of product pages with shopping cart info. I lost all PR on those pages.
The good news is that within 60 days all the PR returned. I think it took Googlebot that long to re-index the site.
I have no info on other search engines as Google is the only one I use for optimization.
Good luck with your problem.
05-07-2004, 11:51 AM
A general rule is to never ever expire URLs. At the minimum redirect all pages to the new location. It is not so much the search engines, that hurt, but all the other sites linking to you and all the bookmarks that people have (hopefully) stored about your site.
A custom 404 pages is not a solution! First it does lead you to one landing place and second it does cloud your ability to find real broken links in your site. Because you have all these broken external links.
If you are good, you filter all pages for redirected from your logs and send an e-mail to the web master of the link source asking for changing to the new page.
05-07-2004, 12:17 PM
If most of your inbound links go directly to your front page, then moving the pages should only temporarily effect your position or Page Rank. Google will begin to recrawl the site and usually within 30-45 days of indexing the new page, the old Page Rank should be restored.
flood6 offers a very effective solution, as it allows the SE's to crawl the previously indexed pages and find their new location via the custom links on the 404 page.
05-07-2004, 01:10 PM
This is a great topic - thanks for all of the excellent advise you have given!
I am having my website re-designed and moved over to a new server too....
At the moment I am enjoying number 1 rankings in Google for "0845 numbers" and "0870 numbers" - the products I concentrate in selling. My web-hoster just changed servers, and I suffered by being dropped for 2 months from Googles search results.....
Can you give me any pointers to ensure this doesn't happen again
Thanks in advance,
05-07-2004, 02:46 PM
Another thing you can do is use a custom error page and have information included that mentions your site being updated. As the post mentions above, you can put some new links on that page or just redirect your visitors to your home page after so many seconds.
I've used custom error pages many times before and because of pages being moved and so on, I normally just write the 404 error page to automaticly unless they were looking for a page that used to be on the site.
There are various php scripts available to help in situations like this. No matter what scripting language you are using or can use, site like hostscripts.com list everything from asp, php, perl, cfm and many other types of languages. Just do a search for custom error pages and choose your selected or preferred scripting language.
05-07-2004, 04:58 PM
No matter what scripting language you are using or can use, site like hostscripts.com list everything from asp, php, perl, cfm and many other types of languages.
I think Chris meant hotscripts.com.
I agree, it is a great site for nearly anything you need.
05-08-2004, 11:29 AM
My web-hoster just changed servers, and I suffered by being dropped for 2 months from Googles search results.....
Can you give me any pointers to ensure this doesn't happen again
A change should not have anything to do with search engine spidering or page ranks. Can you explain what happened? may be open a separate thread for this discussion.
With out such analysis it is hard to give recomendations.
05-09-2004, 03:25 PM
We recently re-vamped a site for a client.. and as mentioned.. all the PR's dropped off.
If I can make a suggestion.. keep the key pages that have any sort of rank.. (about.html, contact.html, etc) if they exist.. and any main section pages/top level intros.. (hardware.html, products.html, etc) even if they do not exist in the new design.
The search engines will look for them on the next crawl, as will visitors who find them in the search engines.. And instead of returning 404, which tell the page does not exist.. and gets the page removed from the SE index, salvage a redirect.
without getting too techie.. IN THE PAGE.. you can use the following if the pages are php parsed;
header("http/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
This will tell the search engine the new page location.. and invisibly redirect the site visitor to the new page.
Hope this helps.. Drop me a note if you want all the gory details..