One SEO professional was doing a website migration, and using Magento for their website’s backend. They are moving from Magento one to Magento two.
In the past, they sold internationally so they had sub folders for the different countries. Now, they are going to focus only on the UK and they don’t need those sub folders.
Is it best for ranking to remove the UK sub folder or to keep it?
If they do remove it, how best can they tell Google to change the URL?
They have many external links to their products, which have given them a good natural position on Google.
And they don’t want to lose that position when they switch to their new Magento two site on the server.
John explained that, while he isn’t sure what’s involved with moving from Magento one to Magento two, he did have some advice that will help protect against major issues.
Also, he believes it might just be a backend change that Google won’t notice at all.
From that perspective, John said that he would double-check things like the URL structure of their website, how that changes, the internal linking (if anything changes there), the content that you’re displaying, how you’re displaying the content to users, all of those things.
It may be that this is really just like a backend move, and perhaps some of the functionality within the site is improved.
And in cases like this kind of migration, he doesn’t believe it will have any effect at all on the site in the search results.
So this might make it a bit easier to examine what they need to do regarding restructuring the site. From different countries within a subdirectory to just one country subdirectory, or putting everything in the root directory of the site.
All of these changes would be classified as restructuring your website. So, it’s something where you would expect to see some fluctuations in search as all of that bubbles down.
John doesn’t believe it matters if you use a UK subdirectory, or if you put everything in the root.
What you really want to do is make sure that everything is cleanly moved to the new location.
That is more important than subdirectories vs. root.
This happens at approximately the 44:45 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
John (Submitted Question) 44:45
We’re moving our website from Magento one to Magento two. In the past we sold internationally, so we had sub folders for different countries. Now we’re going to focus only on the UK and we don’t need those sub folders. Is it best for ranking to remove the UK sub folder or to keep it? If we do remove it, how can we tell Google to change the URL? We have so many external links to our products, which have given us a good natural position on Google. And we don’t want to lose it, when we switch our new Magento two site on the server.
John (Answer) 45:18
So first of all, I don’t know what is involved with switching from Magento one to Magento two. It might be just a back end change that Google doesn’t notice at all. So from that point of view, I would double check things like the URL structure of your website, how that changes, the internal linking, if anything changes there, the the content that you’re displaying it, how you’re displaying it to users, all of those things. It might be that this is really just like a backend move, and maybe kind of like some of the functionality within the site is improved. And in cases like that kind of migration, I don’t think it would have any effect at all in search.
So that might make it a little bit easier to kind of like look at what you need to do. With regards to restructuring the site from different countries’ subdirectories to just one country subdirectory, or putting everything on the root.
Essentially, all of these changes would be kind of like restructuring your website, kind of thing. So it’s, it’s something where you would expect to see some fluctuations in search as all of that bubbles down. And the important part is really that you make sure that everything is cleanly moved to the new location. I don’t think it matters if you use a UK subdirectory or if you put everything on the root.
Having a UK subdirectory might make it easier if you decide to go to different countries again, but that’s more of a strategic decision. But any kind of a move where you’re significantly changing the URL structure of your website, you will see fluctuations, because we have to recrawl the whole website and understand the new structure.
And that will happen in either of these cases. And I think the aspect to keep in mind is these kinds of fluctuations can last for a while. It can be that it takes a month or two to kind of settle down again. So it would be good from a practical point of view to try to find a time where you’re not reliant on search traffic as much.
Or maybe where you can do some extra marketing campaigns or something else to kind of even things out, or at least so that people who are involved with a website have the right expectations that this is going to take a little bit of time and there will be some fluctuations in search.