SEN Forum Pick: How does renaming URLs effect SEO results
 by Ian Cook

SEN Forum Top Pick: How does renaming URLs effect SEO results

When I first created our site I did not realize the importance of key words in our URL's so I would like to rename them and use 301 redirects in an .hta access file for the old names. I want to do this because we have been slipping down the page on Google search although we still are on the first page (lower down) on most key words. How will the renaming affect my page rank? I want to make sure the renaming does not make things worse. Thanks in advance.


Al thanks for the question. I'd advise against renaming urls just to add keywords. Having or not having keywords in the urls isn't likely the cause of your slipping in keyword rankings. The search engines algorithms don't put as much importance on them as they do to other factors.

Also, what would likely result is even more of a drop if you did revise the URLs - as you'd have to then put in 301 redirects to the new urls - essentially telling the engines that page has been replaced with the new page. Utilizing 301 redirects help with passing through the page's rank and reputation the old one has acquired, but not all is passed through, so you would experience further drops in rankings.

caseymarkee SEN's Lead SEO Consultant

Hi Al, I'd echo the answer from Cindy here: never rename a page JUST to add keywords for increased SEO. That is not the best practice and really won't provide you a ton of value anyway. And, as Cindy corrected noted again, the search engines have lowered the value of this practice from an SEO standpoint anyway.

Further, even though 301 redirecting an old page to a new page is supposed to move "almost" 100% of the authority of the page, doing that for ALL of your pages is never a best practice.

URL structure is just one of many, many on-page SEO factors that Google uses to rank a site. Changing your URLs en mass just to get some perceived "slight" ranking benefit is definitely not something we would recommend except in extremely limited situations.

If you're struggling, I would urge you to look at your site a new from your "user's perspective." Is there plenty of detailed content that asks and answer all the questions your clients may have of your products and services? Is your site visually a...