How to deal with all the changed URL links when moving large eCommerce website to a new platform with new categories and URLs

Posted on 2012-09-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-10-16

We have a client who hosts approximately 10,000 products on his current ecommerce website. We are upgrading him to a new platform and will be importing his existing database of products. The old categories will be re-mapped to new categories. Likewise the current URLs will not necessarily be relevant in the new system. We don't want him to lose any rankings? What is the best approach to deal with this transition?

How do we deal with all the old URLs?

I think we can get these from the database we are going to import - should we just automatically write these out to .htaccess (301 redirect) to the new url (there will be 10,000 of them)?


Should we try to somehow keep using the old URLs, which are less than ideal and don't really logically match up with the new category hierarchy?


Please help, I am a little baffled by what is the best approach?

Thanks in Advance...
Question by:chris08
  • 2
  • 2
LVL 17

Accepted Solution

selvol earned 1050 total points
ID: 38402739
You can Keep the old links and add  a canonical link on them. As apposed to just Deleting the old pages pages, I'd wait a few weeks and slowly replace the old pages with redirects to the new pages.

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish" />\\\\


Author Comment

ID: 38402780
That sounds like a complex solution - would the value of this be markedly better then the 301 redirect method?

eg: here's a typical example for one of the potential 10,000 products that will have a new URL:

Old Domain: www.ecommercesite.com/home-accessories/vases/bright-shiny-vase
Old Breadcrumb: Home>Home Accessories >Vases?Bright Shiny Vase

None of the above categories/sub-categories (Home Accessories, Vases) exist in the new website. Trying to manage and have two complete sets of categories (presumably one visible through the main site structure/menus and one that doesn't link from anywhere in the website?) sounds like a management headache and I don't understand how Google would prefer that to just getting 301 redirects to the new page.

Can you please clarify how that would work in a completely new website and why Google would prefer this method and how you would transition away from this to the final solution?

Many thanks
LVL 29

Assisted Solution

fibo earned 450 total points
ID: 38477810
1 - You can also redirect with a program, eg in PHP

2 - So I would probably consider placing the 10K + links into a database with old link / new link info and make 301 redirects
see http://www.php.net/manual/en/function.header.php

3 - So I would change the index.php of the new application to first check if this is an "old-link pattern", and if no proceeed with the normal application.
Only if it is an "old-link pattern", then check if it is an old link (and redirect) otherwise if redirect to the new link or generate an error 404

Author Closing Comment

ID: 38500815
After doing a lot more research it still seams like the jury is out on this one. I think we'll be keeping them alive for a month or two with canonical ref then retire them to 301s....

LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 38502129
Glad we could provide some help. Thx for the points and grade.

Featured Post

Reclaim your office - Try the MB 660 headset now!

High level of background noise often makes it difficult for employees to concentrate fully on their jobs – or to communicate clearly on calls. The MB 660 headset helps you create a disruption free workspace.  

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

There are many other benefits to creating an inbound marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at five of the biggest and how they'll affect your business.
The Internet has made sending and receiving information online a breeze. But there is also the threat of unauthorized viewing, data tampering, and phoney messages. Surprisingly, a lot of business owners do not fully understand how to use security t…
An overview of how to create reports in Adobe Analytics (formerly Omniture Site Catalyst) using pageNames, events, eVars and props. This video will show you how to install the Omniture Debugger tool so can see (and test) what is being passed int…
You have products, that come in variants and want to set different prices for them? Watch this micro tutorial that describes how to configure prices for Magento super attributes. Assigning simple products to configurable: We assigned simple products…
Suggested Courses
Course of the Month13 days, 18 hours left to enroll

809 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question