SEO implications of moving to WordPress

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  • January 7, 2008
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Last week Blogstorm moved over to WordPress and I spent a considerable amount of time making sure everything went smoothly and all the old urls were 301 redirected to the new urls. During the move I decided to move from using blogstorm.co.uk/blog/post-title/ to a new permalink structure of blogstorm.co.uk/post-title/.

The reason for this was because Google seemed to be giving more weight to pages in my /blog/ folder and I wanted to make sure all the pages on my site (such as the SEO consulting page) were given equal weight. Also when Blogstorm first launched last June the tracker was the main feature on the homepage but things have changed and the main focus of the site is now the blog so it makes sense to have this as the homepage.

Having taken the time to redirect all the posts I was amazed to find 70 404 errors in my Google Webmaster Central account today. The errors were caused when Googlebot loaded up trackback urls to my old posts (blogstorm.co.uk/blog/post-title/trackback) which should have been totally impossible since I didn’t have any kind of trackback system on my old CMS. The new permalink system does have /trackback/ at the end of the trackback urls and they 301 back to the original post in the correct manner. Somehow Google added the /trackback/parameter to the old posts, basically making up a load of urls that never previously existed. The fact this had never happened before I installed WordPress is baffling. Perhaps WordPress somehow pinged Google with the urls rather than Googe finding any links to them but even this seems strange.

After modifying my htaccess to remove the trackback parameter from the old posts I installed this excellent redirection plugin to take care of some other issues and track future 404 errors. WordPress seems to be fairly SEO friendly these days in terms of url structure and page titles but it can still cause a lot of headaches, the moral of this story is to track everything even when you think you have carried out a site move perfectly.

If I see any changes in traffic from Google after the move to WordPress I will post the results.

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