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I have developed a stock discussion forum whereby I separate each forum by the ticker symbol. The issue is, recently, the makers of the Blackberry phone, Research in Motion (formerly ticker symbol RIMM), decided to change their company name to Blackberry (new ticker symbol is BBRY). Because the ticker symbol changed from RIMM to BBRY, I subsequently had to change the structure of my forum from:

http://www.alphabanter.com/forum/rimm

to:

http://www.alphabanter.com/forum/bbry

However, the page http://www.alphabanter.com/forum/rimm used to rank really well in Google. Specifically, if you searched for the term "rimm forum," that page would come up as high as #4 on the first page in the search results (the average ranking for this page was also very high based on the data in Google webmaster). In fact, this page was my best ranking page for my entire website and drew the most visitors.

To preserve my page rank (am I confusing this with keyword rank?) as best as possible, I did a 301 redirect from http://www.alphabanter.com/forum/rimm to http://www.alphabanter.com/forum/bbry. Unfortunately, http://www.alphabanter.com/forum/bbry has very poor ranking in Google. If I search for the term "bbry forum", it does not show up in the search results in Google at all.

Is there a reason why http://www.alphabanter.com/forum/bbry has such a low ranking in Google? I thought the 301 redirect was supposed to preserve my ranking? What should I do next time if a similar situation happens for one of my other forums?

Update: My bbry forum now ranks high in Google now. I changed the title to "Blackberry (BBRY) Stock Discussion Forum" from "Blackberry Forum" (I also changed the Meta description to accompany the title change). I can now find my forum if I search for "bbry forum". Searching for "Blackberry forum" though does not find my forum but that is expected since "Blackberry forum" is a very competitive search term.

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BTW, I know that there is a loss of page rank for 301 redirects. My problem is, my new page, alphabanter.com/forum/bbry, doesn't show up in the search results at all in Google (at least not in the first 20 pages). I went from a #4 ranked page (for the search term "rimm forum") to nothing at all (for the search term "bbry forum"). –  Programmer Joe Feb 20 '13 at 2:53
    
How long ago was the change made? –  JCL1178 Feb 20 '13 at 3:32
    
Hi JCL1178. I made the change and 301 redirect approxmiately a week and a half ago. –  Programmer Joe Feb 20 '13 at 6:18
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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Based on the comments above, it's a little too soon to expect the new url to show in the index. Setting a 301 doesn't automatically equate to Google changing the links in the index. Make sure you have the new location in your sitemap and do a "Fetch As Googlebot" from GWT to make sure there isn't any issue with Google seeing the new page. It will show up in the index eventually as Google does its thing.

As for the ranking/placement of the result when it is indexed, that's dependent on a lot of factors such as search frequency, clicks, bounce, etc. The 301 from the old link will preserve most of the link juice from inbounds but the new page is largely going to stand on its own merits for the new search terms.

tl;dr: Don't panic yet and be prepared for an adjustment period of several months when searching on the new keywords.

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Thanks JCL1178. My bbry forum now ranks in Google. It may be related to some additional changes I made. Please read my "Update" above. –  Programmer Joe Feb 26 '13 at 3:59
    
May be related, may be coincidental, may be you're just that good. In any event, expect the rankings to fluctuate for a while as Google adjusts to the new URL –  JCL1178 Feb 26 '13 at 18:20
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