I've searched this site and plenty other sites, but nobody seems to be able to answer my question entirely (not even Google), so here goes...

What would be the proper procedure to change the url of one of my pages (not my website, just a single page) from an "somesite.com/unnecessarily-long-and-SEO-unfriendly-url-that-drags-on-longer-than-mondays" to a "somesite.com/short-and-sweet-url"?

Ok, so I switch the url for my page to a short URL and create a 301 redirect from the long url - but what do I do next?

If I change the old url in the sitemap and upload it to GWT - that could just send a signal to Google that one of my old articles is gone and that a new one emerged.

I could also submit the old url for deletion from index and submit my new article for indexing, but that could still cause my "old" article to disappear from search results (at least until the "new" article emerges).

So my question is, what is the correct procedure for an url change that will let google know that I'm changing an URL for an EXISTING article - that doesn't lead to a rankings drop or even a temporary disappearance from the SERPs?

  • It sounds like you have much of what you need already. If you can rename page from old to new, 301 old to new, and change the sitemap, that is all you have to do. Do not delete the page in GWT. Just let it work out and it will. – closetnoc Apr 6 '15 at 13:51
  • did you try this on a high-ranking page yourself? – Rok Sprogar Apr 6 '15 at 14:00
  • and to the person who marked the question as duplicate - I suggest they actually read both questions – Rok Sprogar Apr 6 '15 at 14:01
  • Yes. Absolutely. Early last year I changed 184,000+ pages without issue. I created the new page names, 301 redirected from old to new for 6 months to ensure that Google had all of the redirects (you will not have to wait that long), updated the sitemap immediately, and then when I was sure all pages where updated I 404 the old page names. No problems. Since you have just one page. you can do a Fetch as Google and that might speed things up for you. – closetnoc Apr 6 '15 at 14:12
  • @DavidBrown there absolutely dozens to hundreds of questions and answers already on Pro Webmasters regarding the effects of SEO when changing URL, after reading your question myself I have not found anything asked that has not been asked before on the site. The linked duplicate is appropriate because while there might be small differences such as the situation, i.e in their case non sef to sef, and you SEF long to SEF short fundamentally these are the same as the question you have asked is how not to lose SEO which the question covers. If you believe the answers are thin on that page... – Simon Hayter Apr 6 '15 at 18:40

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