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The Art of SEO, 2nd Edition by Rand Fishkin, Jessie Stricchiola, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge

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The Basics of Moving Content

Moving content refers to the situation where content that used to live at one URL (e.g., http://www.yourdomain.com/pageA.html) is moved to another URL (e.g., http://www.yourdomain.com/products/pageA.html). One of your goals when you move content is to make sure users (and search engines) that attempt to visit the old URL (/pageA.html) are presented with the content from the new location (/products/pageA.html). In addition, when you move content from one URL to another, the links to the old URL will stop providing value to your rankings in the search engines for that content, unless you properly implement a 301 (permanently moved) redirect. So, there are two very important reasons to move content properly—both of which can be easily overlooked by inexperienced or hurried webmasters and development teams.

In Duplicate Content Issues, we covered the technical specifics of how to do this in detail, including the golden rule of moving content: the search engine needs to see a 301 HTTP status code whenever you redirect it, and users, to a new location.

The 301 HTTP status code causes the search engine to pass most of the value of any links the original page has over to the new page, and should result in the rapid deindexation of the old URL. Since link juice is a precious asset, you want to make sure you use a 301 redirect every time.

Large-Scale Content Moves

Setting up the redirects can become difficult when changes result in movement of large quantities of ...

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