How to Change a Page URL and Protect SEO and Traffic
* Yoast SEO no longer does 301 redirects*
Please see star below for help –
Why you may need – How to Change a Page URL
Most new blogs go through changes as they work out where their strengths are and who their target audience is.
When I started blogging, I had very little idea of what I was doing. I was writing posts on Pages and sometimes on Post Pages. I knew about keywords, but I was in a rush to get content on the pages and guessed the keywords.
A few months back I decided to take blogging seriously and so I have had to sort out the above mess without losing the progress that I have made. I realized that I would not get far without making a lot of changes, so I set about learning how to do this with the minimum of damage.
The Changes I needed to make
1. Most Pages had to be changed to Post Pages – the problem is that Google does not like duplicate pages.
2. On some pages, the title keywords needed to be changed thus changing the URL- Problem – any SEO gained along with traffic could be lost.
Why not just delete the old page?
- Deleting the old page will lose all of the ranking that it may have had.
- You will lose all traffic that tries to use the old page.
- You will frustrate your readers.
Method to safely change URL’s with little loss of SEO or traffic.
I use Yoast SEO plugin on a WordPress site.
Make the new Post Page and transfer the content from the old page to this new page. Do any changes that you want to the new page. If the title is to stay the same, a difference needs to be made to distinguish the new page from the old one.
1. How to differentiate the two pages URL’s
For example, change the permalink Permalink:to Permalink: That will fix it. The original page will need a 301 redirect to prevent having duplicate content (Instructions Below)
On other pages, change the title keywords to more searchable terms, the URL is changed – So now we are left with two pages with much the same content but different URL’s.
2. How to Change a Page URL and let search engines know which page to follow
With Yoast SEO scroll down the page of the retiring page, not the new page, to WordPress SEO by Yoast
Click on Advanced
Meta Robots Index: Choose noindex
Meta Robots Follow: Choose nofollow
* This is where the urgent changes start
The SEO plugin by Yoast no longer supports 301 redirects. To continue your redirects through this plugin you pay for their Premium service. For now, previous redirects will still operate.
Here is a quote from the plugin author, ” we’re not yet removing the entire functionality. All your redirects will still work. Your website will not be impacted in any way, we only stopped you from adding more redirects this way. “
The 301 redirect was removed on July 21st, 2015. It has angered some users as this removal was not well announced and there was no warning.
301 Redirect tells the search engines to skip this page and go to the one indicated. You can no longer do this in Yoast SEO!
Do not put the new URL into Canonical URL: that has a different purpose.
It is a critical step in making changes, that you do the 301 Redirect correctly.
Brad Miller from Search Engine Watch explains 301 like this
This is what 301 communicates to search engines.
“301 – Hey, Search Engines: My page is no longer here, and has permanently moved to a new page. Please remove it from your index and pass credit to the new page.”
The biggest mistake is to use Canonical URL instead of 301 Redirect.
Brad expands a little more on 301, how very little ranking is lost and what the old page had will be mostly passed on to the new page.It is a critical step in making URL changes, that you do the 301 Redirect correctly Click To Tweet
How I solved the problem without paying for Yoast’s Premium option
Eggplant 301 Redirects – I installed this free plugin. It was so easy to use.
Fill in the Redirect From (old page) Then choose from the drop-down to choose if your new one is a page or a post. Fill in the new URL. Save, and that is all you have to do.
You can test your redirect by trying to go to your old page, you will notice that without any hesitation you land on your new page.
How to change a page URL is not that hard when you look at it logically from a search engine point of view.
I trust this has been a help and thanks to Brad Miller for stating it so clearly.
It is well known that Pinterest does not tolerate redirected pages. In this case of redirecting a page on ones own site, it does not seem to violate the Pinterest policy. So that is very good news for Pinterest users.
I did find two other free plugins that will do 301 redirect – Simple 301 Redirects, and Redirection. I did not trial these two as I was happy with Eggplant.
[FWSSubscriptionForm extramergefield=”via blog post” title=”Subscribe today” description=”We would love you to join us. Receive the Monthly Inside News”]
You may enjoy these Blog Help Posts