If you are looking to make changes to your web presence, switching to a more user-friendly site or joining your subdomains to the primary domain can help. However, if done incorrectly, you can find yourself with a litany of issues including a drop in your search rankings. Before you make any of the following changes, make sure you are prepared to make necessary changes in order to keep your website functional and maintain your search ranking.
Are you planning on maintaining the current structure of your site, or will you be updating it to be more user and SEO-friendly? The structure of your website should follow a logical path as it moves from the URL through the various pages and categories of your content. If your website ranks highly on search results, keeping the same structure will help maintain your position as it is crawled by bots for new content. If you change URLs in order to merge similar pages, you will need to make sure 301 redirects are written to make sure the traffic is going to the correct page, rather than losing valuable traffic to a 404 error. If you choose to rewrite your website structure, you will need to make sure that the new URLs are written in the proper format and have redirects from their previous URLs.
If you are choosing to rewrite your architecture from an SEO standpoint, make sure your new URLs follow best practices: URL, followed by category, with the post or page itself bringing up the rear. A well-written URL reads similarly to a sentence, providing each page with the information pertinent to the content of the page within the website. Your structure should make sense to the reader, as well as the search engine. Using a phrase will help boost your rankings for that particular phrase and its related keywords, as well as placing each page and post within a relevant category.
Make Sure Each Page Responds
When crawling your sitemap in Google Search Console, certain response codes will be able to be populated immediately. If your site is coming up with multiple 404 codes from your server, something could have gone wrong with your migration, requiring you to go through the backup of your site as well as the current and most recent versions of your sitemap. Before announcing to your customers, shareholders or co-owners that the new site is live, you should run your site through Webmaster Tools to check for responses.
Checking Internal Links
Internal links are a valuable tool to keep users on your site and learning more about your business. Before linking to your site, make sure you go through each page to make sure each internal link is still working If not, you will need to make the necessary edits to include the new URL.