If you started your website as a newbie to all things internet, chances are that your site’s URLs aren’t pretty. Perhaps the URLs contain the post-ID, or the date when it was first published. Those aren’t SEO-friendly URLs: they don’t say much about the content of a page and look cluttered.
If you want to change your URL structure for this reason, or whatever other reason, it could affect your rankings. In this Ask Yoast, I discuss to what extent changing your URL structure will have an impact on your rankings, and if it’s still worth the effort.
Chris asked us a question on this subject:
We are changing our URL structure to make it look cleaner (by leaving out numbers etc.). When we launch our new site, will this new URL structure negatively affect our existing Google rankings?
Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!
The impact of changing your URL structure on rankings
Well, if you launch a new site and you have new URLs, you’ll need to redirect all the old URLs to the new URLs and it’ll take some time for Google to pick up that those URLs have changed. If you’re staying on the same domain name, your traffic will probably stay the same, but you will need to redirect all those URLs and it might take some time.
- Optimize your site for the right keywords
- Never a dead link in your site again
- Previews for Twitter and Facebook
- Get suggestions for links as you write
You might lose some traffic for a while, up to even six months and then after that everything should be fine. It’s probably worth it if your URLs look really bad though, so it’s a trade-off but I’d probably still go for it. Good luck!
In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Let us help you out! Send an email to email@example.com.
Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.)