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  1. #1
    Chopped Liver bronze trophy imaginekitty's Avatar
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    Effects of changing link structures on SEO

    Right now I'm using a custom built content management system for my main site. It is written using MVC so, under normal circumstances, the URL structure is based on having a "domain/(controller)/(action)" layout.

    I have it set so that "domain/Page/(pageTitle)" displays the pages and "domain/Article/(articleTitle)" (Page and Article are literals that target the controllers as part of the URL while the items in parentheses are variables). Since Page is the standard page display controller I was considering removing the "Page" literal from the URL making it display pages using "domain/(pageTitle)" but I've got my local search results so that I've been on top for the past year and I don't want to mess with that.

    Should I change the URL structure and work on getting things back in order with search results or leave it alone?

  2. #2
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    What is your motivation for making the change, shorter URLs or do you have to make this change due to coding reasons?
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    Chopped Liver bronze trophy imaginekitty's Avatar
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    The motivation is simplification of the URL. I do not have to make this change, I was just considering it. Does moving the page name, that includes decent key words, up in the perceived folder hierarchy have any effect on SEO? If not, I'll just leave it alone.

    Does having the word "Page" in the URL have any bearing at all?

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    Personally I would not go through the trouble of changing the URL structure to just make it 5 characters ('page/') shorter. You already have some keywords in the URL (the article title) and one main reason people change the URL structure is to include keywords in it.

    Once you make the URL structure change you would then need to setup a 301 redirect or use the meta canonical tag from the old URL to the new one and you would most likely experience a temporary drop in rankings.

    So based on just shortening the URL a little I would personally not make the change, particularly if you already have rankings and are getting traffic from the current URL structure.
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    Yeah! The link really impact seo. Its better for you that you create seo friendly sitelink on your web site and with your page name. like www.abc.com/service...
    Last edited by Stevie D; Jan 7, 2012 at 15:37.

  6. #6
    Chopped Liver bronze trophy imaginekitty's Avatar
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    I can easily add a controller to 301 redirect the pages but if it's not worth bothering about then I'll let it go. Thanks.

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    There is a belief that the shorter the URL and closer to the root the better it is for SEO, but the change you are considering is not that much of a difference, basically one level. If you make this change will the page be one less click from the homepage, or will it still be linked the same amount of clicks from the homepage?

    Changing the URL structure so an article is closer to the root (number of clicks) can be beneficial since the link juice from the homepage will not be as dispersed by the time it reaches the page.

    Hope that helps to clarify it more for you.
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  8. #8
    Chopped Liver bronze trophy imaginekitty's Avatar
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    Same number of clicks from the home page as they are all in the menu.

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    Sometimes it is a good idea to change your URL structure, like switching from a dynamic URL structure to a static URL structure. The problem with a dynamic URL structure is that you can end up with lots of different variations of the URL getting indexed. This can potentially create a huge duplicate content problem and split your link value. Changing your URLs to a static structure will give you one URL for each product or page on your site. This makes things a lot cleaner and helps to avoid splitting your link value between multiple URLs.

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    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEO techniques View Post
    Sometimes it is a good idea to change your URL structure, like switching from a dynamic URL structure to a static URL structure. The problem with a dynamic URL structure is that you can end up with lots of different variations of the URL getting indexed. This can potentially create a huge duplicate content problem and split your link value. Changing your URLs to a static structure will give you one URL for each product or page on your site. This makes things a lot cleaner and helps to avoid splitting your link value between multiple URLs.
    It depends how your site is set up.

    If you have URLs that are genuinely dynamic then it's best to present them like that. Google can understand that
    domain.com/page?product=1234&type=abc and domain.com/page?type=abc&product=1234
    are probably the same, and so you shouldn't get duplicate content issues even if you have links pointing to both forms of the URL. Compare that with the situation if you misuse static URLs and rewrite them behind the scenes. If Google sees
    domain.com/1234/abc and domain.com/abc/1234
    or, even worse, an abomination like
    domain.com/product/1234/type/abc and domain.com/type/abc/product/1234
    then it is much harder for it to know that those are alternative routes to the same page.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Immerse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessy2544 View Post
    When google crawl on your site it read your site properly but you may know google read only status url and not read php etc. so we use options of the parameters would have should do it so we could get the full benefits.
    Sorry, what is 'status url'?

  12. #12
    Chopped Liver bronze trophy imaginekitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    ... If you have URLs that are genuinely dynamic ...
    As opposed to what? Falsely dynamic?

    My Page URL structure is: "domain.com/Page/(pageTitle)" (pageTitle) is the generated piece garnered from the actual page titles with spaces replaced with hyphens.

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    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imaginekitty View Post
    As opposed to what? Falsely dynamic?

    My Page URL structure is: "domain.com/Page/(pageTitle)" (pageTitle) is the generated piece garnered from the actual page titles with spaces replaced with hyphens.
    Some people say that pages built from a PHP template/CMS are dynamic because they aren't hard-coded. I don't count those as "genuinely dynamic", because they aren't – the page displayed isn't going to change, other than that certain sections like "featured links" or "recent pages" might be updated. Compare that with a forum page or a results page based on various parameters put in, where the page is generated from a backend database on the fly.

    If your URL uses a single query parameter then I see no problem with it being used as though it were a static URL in the folder given, because there is functionally no difference. It makes no odds whether you have domain.com/forum/topic?id=16546 or domain.com/forum/16546, and the latter is certainly easier from a usability point of view. But as soon as your query format becomes any more complex than that, it stops being appropriate to form it as a static URL, and that would include domain.com/forum/topic/16546 (in the same example), because in that instance there would be no page at domain.com/forum/topic. I'm not 100% clear but I think your structure falls into this last category, where you treat the parameter name as a subfolder – that's a bad thing to do, and if you've only got one parameter then it's a pointless thing to do as well.

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    Chopped Liver bronze trophy imaginekitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    ... you treat the parameter name as a subfolder – that's a bad thing to do, and if you've only got one parameter then it's a pointless thing to do as well.
    OK, so why is it a bad thing to do? Why is one parameter pointless?

    You're not familiar with Rails or MVC routing, are you?

  15. #15
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imaginekitty View Post
    OK, so why is it a bad thing to do? Why is one parameter pointless?
    You're not reading what I wrote carefully enough.

    If you have a filepath of domain.com/one/two/three then both of the following should return a 200 A-OK: domain.com/one/two/ and domain.com/one/. If they don't then you are not using a sensible directory structure. If you are remapping a single query parameter value into a pseudo-static URL then that isn't going to cause any problems for anyone. If you are remapping a single query parameter name and value pair into a pseudo-static URL then that can set you up for usability problems and crawl errors, as people and bots try to navigate the site by manipulating the URL, which of course won't work.

    The reason I said it's "pointless" is because when you've only got a single parameter, you know what that parameter is so there's no need to name it. I can understand why people would include the parameter names when remapping a multi-parameter query into a pseudo-static URL, because otherwise if people change the order of the query terms then it will almost certainly fail to find the right page. But when there's only one parameter that's unnecessary.

    Presenting multivariate query URLs as pseudo-static URLs is every bit as much an abuse of systems as using layout tables, it just hasn't received as much bad press.

  16. #16
    Chopped Liver bronze trophy imaginekitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    You're not reading what I wrote carefully enough. ...
    It's your accent.

    I'm not sure we're discussing the same topic.

  17. #17
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    OK, I'm coming back to this one because I now have a reason to make the switch. I'm abandoning the CMS that I wrote and switching to Wordpress. So, I will need to remove the Page|Article controller pointer from the URLs and just let Wordpress do it's thing. I don't care much about the blog section of my site anymore as I haven't updated it for quite a few months but I do want the main pages to remain intact on Google's ranking.

    Since I'm switching it from ASP.NET to PHP then I can just use a .haccess to remove the Page|Article from a URL if google looks for it and just resubmit the new page structure, right?


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