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I have a site where Google has already indexed about 1 million pages, and I want to change all the URL paths for SEO purposes, ensuring that we always have our keywords in the path.

Technically I know how to complete it (301 redirects, new canonical URL, update sitemap, etc.) but I'm wondering if Google will penalize the site because of it, or if links will disappear from search results until they are re-crawled?

  • You will be fine. I did a reorganization of a site where 287,000 URLs changed overnight. I kept the 301s around about 6 months before removing them. Of course, each URL change has to be discovered one at a time. Make sure that if you have a sitemap, that it is up to date immediately or as quickly as you can and that it reflects the new URLs and not the old URLs. Cheers!! – closetnoc Jul 15 '16 at 23:43
  • Google will not drop the URLS until they know the new URLS and have those indexed. There is already a vast amount of questions and answers on Pro Webmasters regarding 301 redirects. – Simon Hayter Jul 16 '16 at 8:31
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301 redirect is the best option, if your old path url match intent with new path url.

Example:

Your old url path is example.com/on_page and your new url path is example.com/on-page

Then, 301 redirect is the best option, so your old url path reputation stay in new url path.

And for your confusion of spam, not worry about it google will not get you spam, google when re-crawl and see your 301 redirection then they take time to showing your old url path to new url path in google result.

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