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We just overhauled our entire site. The new site structure doesn't resemble the old one in the slightest. What do I need to do with Google, Bing and Yahoo to keep our ranking from sliding?

We have created a number of redirect rules to send people following old links to the proper page on the new site. We have a site map and robots.txt.

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2 Answers 2

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Assuming you've done nothing to reduce the quality of your site, you should not see long-term ranking loss. You will however see movement, both up and down, for a few weeks.

You say you've "created a number of redirect rules". Unless it's a very large, complex site, this should be the case for all pages, and they should return 301 HTTP code.

If you've migrated or retired content before, check for chained redirects: these should be avoided as they will increase page load time, cause unnecessary additional dissipation of PageRank (or equivalents), and may even not be followed at all in some cases.

robots.txt (check specs here) should be present with a reference to a valid XML Sitemap.

Install Google and Bing Webmaster Tools (Yahoo uses Bing's index, so BWT will cover for both) and monitor carefully. Submit your XML Sitemap, and use the various tools at your disposal (manage parameters, geotargeting, what have you) as appropriate to your site.

Don't be immediately alarmed by drops in ranking. Typically things drop (or rise) for a while before settling down.

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Thanks for pointing out the sites.txt typo. That was supposed to say "site map and robots.txt." Edited –  Brien Malone Mar 11 '13 at 13:56
    
@BrienMalone No problem. Answer edited accordingly. –  GDav Mar 11 '13 at 16:03

It is always a risk when you change a website that the search engines will stop ranking you.

It sounds like you are doing the correct thing. The most important step is to use 301 permanent redirect to redirect each page to the new URL of the page that has that content. Check your redirects and make sure they are the 301 permanent kind, not the 302 temporary variety. Also check that the redirects are going directly to the new URLs and not to the homepage or other incorrect page.

Once the change has happened monitor Google Webmaster Tools, your analytics, and your servers log files for problems.

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