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navigation organization vs backlinks

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 1
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

Hi everyone, I have a question that i'd really appreciate some input on.

 

I want to reorganize my client's navigation in accordance to google's preferred structure but I am worried this will break the clients backlinks.

 

Let's say I want to take a navigation that has links to "resources" "about us" and "media". Let's say I need to put "media" and "about us" as dropdown menus underneath "resources." 

 

If I do this, google would prefer I change the permalinks from:

domain/about-us

domain/media

 

to:

domain/resources/about-us

domain/resources/media

 

This is the way google prefers websites be organized. My concern is that this proper implementation will break current backlinks, harm SEO, and enrage my client. I'd also like to do things the right way. My question is, what do I do in this situation? If there isn't a perfect solution, what is the best solution?

2 Expert replyverified_user
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Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author Aaron B
May 2016

Re: navigation organization vs backlinks

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
Whatever minimal, if any, SEO gain there would be to structuring the links more to Google's preference is far outweighed by all the negatives you listed. Sites change navigation all the time, and the entire purpose of silos and mega navigation is to create an easy way to navigate the site without having to be beholden to the site's URL architecture. I think you're fine with leaving the permalinks alone.

Also, if you're really concerned about making the permalinks follow Google's preferred structure, why not just setup some 301 redirects?

View solution in original post

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Aaron B
May 2016

Re: navigation organization vs backlinks

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
Whatever minimal, if any, SEO gain there would be to structuring the links more to Google's preference is far outweighed by all the negatives you listed. Sites change navigation all the time, and the entire purpose of silos and mega navigation is to create an easy way to navigate the site without having to be beholden to the site's URL architecture. I think you're fine with leaving the permalinks alone.

Also, if you're really concerned about making the permalinks follow Google's preferred structure, why not just setup some 301 redirects?

Re: navigation organization vs backlinks

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 3
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
I was under the assumption 301 redirects for backlinks have a negative impact on SEO.

Re: navigation organization vs backlinks

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
I don't believe so. And it's obviously much worse to have all those links pointing to 404s. Site content does change over time, which is why 301 redirects are a best practice for preserving the SEO value of older pages when you have to change URLs (they are also a best practice for user experience, since users won't appreciate landing on broken pages).

Re: navigation organization vs backlinks

Re: navigation organization vs backlinks

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor
301 redirects do not have a negative impact on SEO. In fact, 301 redirects... "redirects the traffic and SEO to the new page." Use them and reap the rewards and many benefits as Spike and others have stated.

What is a 301 redirect? It directs all visitors to the new location. And it tells the search engines to update their data and transfer all relevant rank, reputation and relevancy to the new location, too. 301 redirects rock!

You will also want to:
Rename the pages in your Site Map and resubmit it to Google via Search Console.
Keep watch in Search Console for further page errors to develop.
Rename canonical address and other meta info.

Note: create your new layout on paper or in a program like Google Docs, Word, etc., and make sure you have it all perfected before implementing. Changing an entire site is labor intensive and this will save you time and headaches during the changes. Think as a visitor to your website would and arrange data in a "as you need it" arrangement so that they find A before B and C before D. Make the changes for these reasons... not for any other purpose. If you get it right, if it makes sense... it will work for your visitors and Google, too.

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