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New Site - Avoid SEO interruption

Been designing websites for a while now. I never really paid attention to launching a new site and how the search engines (google) view handle it.

I have a website now that is getting good rankings for my page. I have a new website to replace the current one. Any suggestions on how to make the transission with the search engines in mind? I would like to avoid breaking my ranking.
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rbudj
Asked:
rbudj
4 Solutions
 
Nenad RajsicCommented:
if possible try not to change your file names and folder structure.

If that is not possible then use permanent redirects in htaccess (Apache) to point your old pages to their corresponding new pages

for example: Redirect 301 contact.php newcontactus.php

if you are changing only visual side of things (design) then you shouldn’t have any problems.
just don't change your page titles and H1 + page text.

Let me know what you are planning to do and i'll try to help some more
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rbudjAuthor Commented:
Everything is going to change so I guess I'm doomed from the start. File structure, page names, everything. I will follow your suggestion using Apache.
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Aaron TomoskyTechnology ConsultantCommented:
The main thing to avoid is having a URL that works on the old site not work on the new site. Htaccess is one way to do this.
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Nenad RajsicCommented:
to keep your ranking and related keywords try to keep your important new pages with same titles,h1's and content for a while. When your new url's are indexed then start making content changes on those pages. permanent redirects are a must for your scenario and are more important than all the other stuff I mentioned. Not just because Google might send people to non-existent pages but directory links, people’s bookmarks etc will just hit your 404 page if you don’t redirect them.

Also update your sitemap.xml file and remove your old pages from there.
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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
If you are changing everything, expect to take a slight and temporary hit in the rankings as google adjusts.   Make sure the new site is fully optimized for search engines:  good titles, validating HTML, good internal link structure and navigation, etc.  
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rbudjAuthor Commented:
Ok. Thanks everyone. I will follow your suggestions.
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