According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, “few topics confuse and scare webmasters more than site moves,” so they wrote a post on Making Site Moves Easier. It’s pretty helpful, with links to specific ways to move several categories of content migration.
Here’s the thing to keep in mind: Your site is designed to be read by two kinds of brains.
Two Ways Your Site Is Read
- On the surface, your website is read by people. That’s why you have to have your customer in mind when you design it, and your content should be what will interest the people you hope to engage as customers. Your keywords should include words your customer might use to find what you offer, and your site design should be geared to what works for the person who visits it. Ads need to appeal to folks who will click on them and all that good stuff. This is the human side of marketing.
- Under the surface, your website is read by robots. Search engines crawl through mind-boggling amounts of bits and bytes while using arcane algorithms to prioritize what they find. Those hidden formulas are used to determine which things come up when a human does a search, so the robot needs to be able to connect all the dots correctly.
Connect The Dots For The Robot
When you move stuff around on your site without paying attention to the underlying URLs, sometimes the dots disconnect because you changed the human stuff without thinking of the logic the robot uses to crawl through all the underlying data on your site. The Google guide is designed to help us keep the dots connected so the robot can read our sites correctly.
When the robots read it right, the humans are more apt to find it when they look for it. Good website design and development keeps the robot in mind without losing sight of the people who are our real focus.