How to Change the URL of Old Posts without affecting Rankings

There are a lot of reasons for you to change your URL and doing so is not such a difficult task as you will see below.

When we start out our blogging career or are new in the whole SEO world most of us do not understand optimization and how we should properly write our posts and configure our page,we tend to face issues later on like in the case of URL’s which are an integral part of every website and directly affect its rankings.Changing them in the wrong way will cause you sudden drop in traffic so it must be done in a proper way which we describe in this post.

Why you may need to change the URL of a Post

  •  You have used a lot of stop words and want to remove them.
  •   The website is being migrated to a new domain.
  •   You have recently changed the permalink structure.
  •   You may want to reoptimize the URL.
  •   Updating the post to a new category.
  •   Want the post to point to a whole new location or page.
  •   Remove unwanted 404 errors because post is unavailable.
  •   The old slug was just too long and want to shorten it.

You may be familiar with what a slug is if not then let me tell you slug are the words which come after your domain and are usually automatically copied from the title which leaves us in a big URL which is obviously not good in terms of SEO.

Even sharing those links on social media or just dealing with them would be cumbersome and certainly do not look good on the eyes.

slug of a page

 

Whatever may be the reason it is very important that you properly redirect them because if you don’t then you will encounter a 404 error which is a negative SEO sign and you don’t want your visitors to see an 404 page not available error which decreases your brand value as well.

What are 301 Redirects

301 redirect

There are quite a few number of redirects which are available but the most useful when changing the URL is the 301 redirect which instructs the search engine that a particular page has moved to a new location,there are different ways by which you can redirect your site or post like using the .htaccess which can be done at the root server level.

But if you are working on WordPress then you should use plugins which handle the hard part and easily are able to redirect with just a click of a button.

The 301 code tells a search engine that the page has moved to a new location and thus it will transfer the authority as well as the rankings wont be disturbed and you will continue to get the usual traffic like before.

Using 301 Redirects to change URL of published Posts

If you are on the WordPress platform which is the most popular CMS software out there then you can download a simple plugin called as redirection.

redirection plugin

This will easily enable you to create a 301 redirect from the old URL to the New URL thus it saves you time and effort.

The first thing you need to do is download this plugin and then activate it.

After which from the left hand side menu go to tools and click on the redirection option after which you will be taken to the main page.

redirection menu in wordpress tools

Navigate to the first page of the plugin after which you can easily add a redirect using the form,put the source URL as the old one and the target as the new link where you want it to point to.

add a 301 redirect

There a 4 different types of redirects which you can do

  • 301 – Moved permanently
  • 302 – Found
  • 307 – Temporary
  • 308 – Permanent Redirect

So one has a lot of choices and options provided,this plugin also offers grouping and you can group your redirects,navigating to different tabs there is a option to find 404 errors as well also you can import an .htacess, json or a CSV file if you have them pre written and want it done manually.

Now after you have pointed the old posts to the new one all the people who click the old link will be redirected to the new location and will be able to see your new page.

How to check If Redirection is working

There are times when we want to make sure that the links which have been pointed or redirected to a new location on the internet are working smoothly because if they don’t it might result in the website getting an 404 error code and significant search engine ranking loss so take these steps to check and confirm

  • Click around on your website and test links which have been updated whether or not they are working and pointing to the new direction.
  • Use the likes of webmaster tools and fetch as google which will tell you if any error occurs
  • Go to google and click on the indexed links and check whether they are working or not.

In most of the cases the redirection is quick and instantaneous and you may not encounter any error while doing so but special care must be taken while doing it withing your server manually.

As you read above that updating and changing old URL’s is not an extremely difficult thing to do and anyone will find it easy to do whether you have any sort of technical knowledge or not but from now on take special care in optimizing your slugs or changing them in a proper way to avoid your website from damage.

Have any sort of questions? Leave it in the comment section below and well answer it right away

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