Advice for changing page URLs?

  • MikeGibbs
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi All,

From advice in other parts of this forum, I'm changing the pages on my site to have meaningful names. I'm a bit concerned about how best to manage the old pages and would appreciate your advice.

Site is : http://www.viva-almeria.com

My site is dynamically created using php. I can't use mod_rewrite as I don't have control over the Apache server with the hosting company (and they won't install).

So what I've done in the past is create files on the fly when a new page is added to the directory (avoiding any parameters on the URL to make the page search engine friendly). Thus, I have many pages that look like '/ShowPage_P188.php' - which is actually about a town in Spain called 'Mojacar Playa' - though you wouldn't know from the URL :oops: .

Now I'm in the process of generating more useful URLs on the fly (the above example would thus become '/mojacar-playa_P188.php')

Both examples are static files I've created on the server (that contain the PHP parameters in them and call the REAL page under the covers). When the transition is done, only the later examples will referenced on my site.

However, I'm not sure what the best approach is with the old files ...
1) Do I leave them there so that they still work for incoming links?
2) Do I change them to become re-directs (but isn't this looked on badly by search engines).
3) Something else???

If anyone has been through something similar before, or knows the best approach, your thoughts would be very welcome.

Cheers,

Mike
  • madmonk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Changing all old files to have more meaningful url names means more work. Why not jsut leave the old ones as it is and generate future ones with meaningful urls?
  • MikeGibbs
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi madmonk,

Thanks for the quick reply.

I've got a couple of thousand pages of content (including things like town, beaches, golf courses, restaurants etc..) and I want to ensure that they all do better on the search engines. We've covered most of the major towns in the region and I can't just add the new ones for good results as they're not as important (or as searched on).

The work involved isn't an issue as I'm writing the code to generate the file name (using the name from the listing - it's all in the DB).

So given that I am going to change them, what's the best way of dealing with the old pages (and managing links to them)?

Cheers,

Mike
  • madmonk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I see I see. you are after the code.

/*faint memory here......
hmm. I think somebody came up with this in ozzu. about 2 months ago, i think. with the code and everything to append names.
*/

try a search on "append" in ozzu. you may have some find.
  • MikeGibbs
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi madmonk,

Nope, I'm not after the code but perhaps I need to be clearer ...

I will soon change all the content pages on my site from being generic & uninformative (http://www.viva-almeria.com/ShowPage_P188.php is a working example) to something meaningful (http://www.viva-almeria.com/mojacar-playa_P188.php is what it will become) to try and boost my SE positions.

Now I'm writing the code to generate these new pages and I've no issue in creating them.

In both cases, under the hood, the actual page is dynamically created with content in the DB but I'm hiding the full parameterised stuff to make it easy for the search engine to pick up (which seems to work). Thus, I can have both files on my system which point to the same dynamically created page.

So I can create the new more descriptive URLs for my content pages and I'm hoping the SE's will like it. The old files (ShowPage_P188.php for example) will still sit on my directory on the server though my site won't point to them.

BUT, I am concerned about what I should do with these old files ...

- If I leave them there, then anyone linking to me (or who has bookmarked them) will still be fine. But does this mean I get penalised for having duplicate content?

- If I change them so they re-direct to the new pages, again everything would still work. But, does this mean I'm penalised by the SEs for having pages that redirect?

If the SE only takes notice of pages on my site that are linked internally then it's ok - but I didn't think that's the case.

So given that I need to charge the URLs to get a better SE position, what's the best way of dealing with the old files on my server so that it still works for people linking to my site AND without offending the SE so I'm not worse off than I started?

In other words, how does anyone change the URLs for a page elegantly?

I hope that makes sense - If you'd like more examples let me know.

Cheers,

Mike
  • madmonk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I see I see. lol. sorry it took so long to get what you are saying. heh
try this.
http://www.ozzu.com/ftopic27269.html

this is what you are asking right ? :wink:
  • MikeGibbs
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi madmonk,

Luvley Jubly, just what I was after :D

So all I need to do is ...

1. Create the new files with good URL names
2. Modify all existing files to include the re-direct code (as per the other forum).
3. Release the new version.

Then I'll just wait for a while and cross fingers that the SE promotes me, another small step to world domination :wink:

From the comments in the other topic, presumably I could loose a little where other sites are linking to specific pages and the page rank that provides gets lost (assuming it's not passed to the redirected page as suggested in the other topic).

Should be worth it in the long run though.

Thanks mad monk - especially for being patient with my long explanations (trying to be clear - but failing :lol: )

Mike
  • madmonk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

lol. dont blame yrself mate. I am real bad at reading. seriously bad. lol. I bet it is worth it in the long run. just curious- what is the theme of yr site?

it sounds like a travel site....
  • MikeGibbs
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Post 3+ Months Ago

No worries and thanks for your help.

It's a local directory for a province in Southern Spain (Almeria) - focused on people from the UK who either travel there or live there.

So it's got a pretty comprehensive directory with over 120 categories. Plus we've put some nice things in like an interactive map of the area (so people can find towns, beaches, golf courses, theme parks etc..) and an audio phrase book for Spanish/Engligh translation.

We've just in the process of putting up a what's on calendar live too.

The idea is that everyone interested in the area uses us as their first resource to find anything.

So far, I think it's going quite well as we're now attracting 12,000 people every month (1/4 million page views). We've been live for 7 months and grow at about 20% to 20% per month.

This has been through a mixture of PPC, SEO, word of mouth and local advertising (we've done web sites for the local paper and radio station in exchange for advertising).

But, looking at the SE stats (through my Google AdWords and other tools), we could get 10-20 times the traffic if we ranked better.

If we g8et there I'll probably owe you a beer or two :P

If you want to take a look at the site, I'd be interested to get your opinion as someone who's got more web experience ...
http://www.viva-almeria.com

Feel free to tell it like it is on any thoughts you have.

Cheers,

Mike
  • madmonk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

very interesting site you have there! you have obviously made good progress over 7 months.

I will have to log out for now. resting time :-)

you are in the right place. there are many helpful people in ozzu. Stick ard. Bet you will find some ways/comments on improving the site.
  • madmonk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

oh yeah, i was just abt to log off and I saw some inconsistency in headings (capital letters in yr site).
News, information and Community

can you spot it? start of the other headings are small caps and big caps all mixed up as well.

see you around!
  • MikeGibbs
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Post 3+ Months Ago

HI madmonk,

I've must have looked at this page 1000 times and never spotted it!!

Thanks for all your help.

Cheers mate,

Mike
  • madmonk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

no worries mate. cya!

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