If you are moving, upgrading your website or have recently moved your website this article is for you. In all cases you should consider the search engines and what is going to happen to your page rank.
Page rank is the Holy Grail of search engine ranking, well … along with a few other things but all those other factors go to contribute to your page rank.
Before the move
Determine weather you are going to change any of your URL’s. By that I mean any change at all, like changing from a .html to a .php or adding a mod reWrite to change your .php or .html to make it a more search friendly URL? I could go on for lines and lines about the different type of changes you could make … but I won’t.
Google, Bing and Yahoo have referenced every page on your website already and will be sending people to those URL’s for some time after you have made any changes.
Document every URL in your website or just the ones that will be effected by the changes you will be making, so you have a reference.
If you are doing this after the move do a search on your domain and have a look at the results, this will let you know what URL’s the search engines have referenced in relation to your website.
The next step
Now that you know the URL’s it’s time to do the real work.
What you need to do is create a 301 redirect for each URL. Google does no penalise you for using a 301 redirect.
Now you will not loose your traffic to the dreaded 404 error and you will not effect your page rank.
Organic SEO, good design and relevant authoritative content go hand in hand in attracting visitors to your site.