Ben Holland of Vertical Measures answers “How Do You Recover Your Rankings After a WordPress Install?”
Hi. I’m Ben Holland with Vertical Measures, and today I’m going to talk about recovering after you switch your URL structure on your domain. I own a website, scorpsweep.com, and I recently changed it from a static website to WordPress. So it changed my URL structure, no longer ending in the .html with my static page.
After I did this, it was fantastic. My site looked very well. But my interior pages, because of the different URL ending, without the .html were de-indexed from Google. Even though I had used my .htaccess file to 301 redirect them properly, they were still not indexing properly, and I dropped my markings. The majority of my traffic goes to my interior pages, so I lost about 90% of my traffic.
This was really disconcerting, so I tried to figure out a way to correct this as quickly as possible. What I did is I pulled a backlink analysis of my site through the Google Webmaster tools, and I found all of the pages that were directing to the old URL, the /facts.html pages. I found that some very high ranking sites that were linked to, like Wikipedia.
So I went in and I changed my Wikipedia entry to the new domain, just the /facts without the .html, and within 24 hours, my site was ranking number one for all the terms it was beforehand. So, the trick of it is, whenever you change your URL structure, you want to find to find the backlinks that are really authoritative going to it. Then change them to the new structure, the new URL, and then your rankings will go back to where they were.