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We have a site that was previously run on Wordpress on a different host, but has now been switched to RiVista (a proprietary CMS). The site was cut over a week or two ago.

See our sudden drop in impression

I realize that a drop in impressions isn't quite as big a deal as a drop in overall clicks, but simply showing up in more SERPs could still be a source of new site users, so it concerned me.

The domain of the site remains the same, but some of the long time urls have been moved or removed in the site, causing alot of in-bound links to fail. I'm working diligently to go through the list of external links and get 301 Redirects setup to relinquish these external links; but I was just wondering if maybe this was somehow related to the sudden drop in overall impressions?

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Is the new site identical in size to the old site? Wordpress builds big sites quickly... – toomanyairmiles May 14 '12 at 16:17
No, some of the really old archived stories have been dropped. – leeand00 May 14 '12 at 17:43
That may be contributing to the problem, I suspect google are looking at link longevity and credibility as part of the effort to drown out the content farms. @Joshaks advice below is correct. – toomanyairmiles May 14 '12 at 18:14
Yeah I read about how bad the problem with "Content Farms" is in "The Information Diet" and how Google has to keep fighting against that. – leeand00 May 14 '12 at 18:48
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, moving the URLs of long time highly ranked pages will cause a drop, even if you don't factor in the loss of the links the URLs that were ranking no longer exist (and therefore get dropped from the index) and it takes time for Google to find the new pages and rank them. When you add in a big loss of links to those pages the drop becomes more dramatic.

I'd work to get the 301s in place as quickly as possible. I'd also work on building links to the new URLs to help them get indexed and ranked faster.

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Is there any sorta time constraint on this? (Just trying to balance my task load, as the other sites are coming up from scratch.) – leeand00 May 14 '12 at 17:55
The sooner you get things in place the better, particularly with the 301s. Many sites check regularly for dead links and remove them so if the old URLs currently return a 404 then the longer you wait the more likely it is you'll be missing out on links. – Joshak May 14 '12 at 17:59
Okay I wasn't really in control of "when" they'd be switching things over, so I supposes I could have been more prepared...oh well off we go! – leeand00 May 14 '12 at 20:44
I feel your pain, unfortunately more often then not we're only brought in to fix the problem when it would have been much easier to prevent it ;-) – Joshak May 16 '12 at 15:09

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