Map Those URL Redirects To Profit
There are right ways to do URL redirection that will make a big difference in one’s site performance, as shown in a recent case study about a plumbing website that made their URLs more readable.
Site publishers with dreams of e-commerce profits should be interested in the work PlumberSurplus.com put into remapping their URLs into ones that make search engines sit up and take notice. A fifty-percent increase in daily visits should be a pretty good wake-up call.
Eric Enge cited the effects of changing from dynamic URLs to ones that are more human-readable, and thus more search spider-friendly. The plumbing supply site finished switching over those URLs in December 2006:
In addition to remapping the URLs, Plumber Surplus was careful to 301 redirect the existing URLs to the new ones. This was done on a URL by URL basis, using asp.net to parse the request and rewrite the URL.
The majority of the new URLs were indexed by Yahoo and Google within 2 weeks. MSN took somewhat longer. Within two months, rankings began to improve, and the number of indexed pages began to increase.
Google, Yahoo, and MSN all indexed more pages, though Google’s number fell back from 85,600 to 62,200 from January to March. Site traffic improved from 9,000 daily visitors at the beginning of November 2006 to 13,500 on March 1st.
Enge noted other SEO work took place during this time, but said there were no major new links gained during the restructuring.
Carsten Cumbrowski commented about the case study, and said he wasn’t surprised by what PlumberSurplus.com found:
My eyes looked in disbelief at the numbers when I did it for the first time for a site of mine in 2002. Search engine spiders had back then much bigger problems with dynamic URLs than they have today. Google even changed their Guidelines not (too) long ago regarding dynamic URLs. However, this study shows that it still makes a difference for the search engines today and that you look into this for your own website, if you have cryptic looking dynamic URLs.
Though Cumbrowski expressed concern about making these changes so quickly (he observed that the site changed nearly all of their URLs in one night), the possible drawbacks did not materialize. Since the potential for the dreaded ‘duplicate content’ penalties from search engines exist, site publishers may want to tread more slowly than the case study site did when proceeding.