WordPress Permalink Change – how long until it’s indexed?

June 22nd, 2007

The Shri Yantra - the 'Mother' Yantra - used for Tantric meditation

Shambhavi Sarasvati has recently asked me for some advice. She’s changed the permalink structure on her wordpress site, and then 301 redirected the old permalinks to her new permalinks format.

Shambhavi is a bit concerned that it seems to be taking a while for Google to update to the new permalink structure.

OK – firstly – don’t get concerned – If your 301 redirects are good (and I’ve checked and they are) Google will eventually get around to updating to the new URL – in the meantime, anyone that find you via a google search should still be redirected to the correct page when they click on you anyway – since the redirect is server side, the old url’s will still work in the interim.

Secondly – how to get google to crawl and update a bit quicker – not too hard – just try to get some links to pages you want updated – (or, alternatively, post a HTML sitemap somewhere on your site containing the OLD url’s – and get people to link to it – this will have the effect of getting google to visit the old url’s, which will then (hopefully) lead it to update its index to the new URL’s when it sees the old ones have been 301 redirected). Sometimes getting links to deep pages (ie posts) rather than just the index page seems to be more effective.

It also helps if these links are from relatively high pagerank sites that are crawled regularly – If you have any suggestion’s about how Shambhavi might improve her site further, please leave a comment. By the way, if there are any css gurus reading this, I noticed a problem with Shambhavi’s sidebar in IE – it’s fine in Firefox, but is right at the bottom in IE – I don’t know how to fix it – any suggestions?


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17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John  |  June 22nd, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    I’m in the process of moving domains with something like 30’000 pages indexed (depending on how you query :-)). One “sneaky” thing I did was to redirect the detail pages first and then later on add the redirects for the category pages. By doing it that way you can help to make sure that the value going to the old detail pages does not get redirected (the old detail pages need to keep their value so that they are crawled and the redirect is discovered).

    I’m sure some smart person could convert that into a WordPress plugin 😀

  • 2. JLH  |  June 23rd, 2007 at 2:08 am

    I 2nd the fact that it takes some time for them to figure out, but as you said if the 301 is there you aren’t missing any visitors. Another thing I’d add is regarding PageRank. Don’t freak out because the new pages will all have a zero pagerank for a while. That will get updated visually the next PageRank push (late summer, for us in the Northern Hemishpere, is my guess)

    I’m not sure about the sitemap with the old URLs on the same site, It may be confusing for you to have your own links get redirected

  • 3. theDuck  |  June 23rd, 2007 at 8:41 am

    MU – now that’s an idea – I hadn’t thought of it that way at all – GREAT idea for a plugin.

    JLH – re: sitemap – could be confuddling, but as MU said above, at least GBOT then gets half a chance to update its redirects 🙂 But it doesn’t take much to confuse me, so I’m probably wrong 😉

    Thankyou both!


  • 4. SusieJ  |  June 25th, 2007 at 3:29 am

    I had that problem when I switched — and it magically cleared itself up within two weeks.

  • 5. Shambhavi  |  June 25th, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Matt completely saved me from making a lot of mistakes–YEAH! Thanks! And he has generously helped out in so many ways. As you can see.

    About redirecting old links from within the new site–it’s the only choice if you’re moving out of Typepad. Typepad doesn’t allow any redirects. If I had changed my domain name, I would have lost all of my incoming links.

    Thanks again, Matt.

  • 6. Kimkins  |  June 26th, 2007 at 6:16 am

    Thanks for all the info. I’m using blogger custom url for one of my site and they seem to use 301 redirect to redirect the blogspot to my domain. So far no problem…

  • 7. Susan M.  |  June 28th, 2007 at 11:40 am

    As for the CSS in IE, it looks like the widths of her main content and her sidebar are competing for horizontal real estate (that’s why the top of the sidebar gets pushed down to just below the content). Try changing

    .narrowcolumn {
    width: 510px;


    .narrowcolumn {
    width: 509px;

    …which fixes it, at least for me (IE6 on WinXP). My knee-jerk reaction is to say that a 1-pixel difference like this is some cross-browser-box-model-interpretation funkiness, but I’d have to dig into the code a bit more to back that up. 🙂

  • 8. theDuck  |  June 28th, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Thanks Susan 🙂 That’s great advice – CSS stands for “Constant Source of Struggle” as far as I’m concerned 🙂

    I’ll let Shambhavi know about your advice – I’m sure she’ll be stoked – thankyou!


  • 9. Featured in “The Wo&hellip  |  July 12th, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    […] sidebar is broken in IE6 – Susan Moskwa (from Google) posted a tip about this problem recently in this post). Thankyou! – Matt Some Other Relevant PostsSafety Report – Blix Krieg is 2.2.1 Compatible – June […]

  • 10. Visitor009  |  July 22nd, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    I have visited your site 882-times

    ED: eh? Well, you’re either a bit cooky or REALLY love my site. URL Removed.

  • 11. Visitor932  |  July 22nd, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Your site found in Google: http://google.com/search?q=gqm

    ED: Well, my goal question metric is how many spam comments I can delete or remove embedded url’s from per day.

    ED: Hmmmm.. I wonder what the rub is with adding the google search url for GQM along with link drop? That’s an interesting tactic.

  • 12. Visitor536  |  August 17th, 2007 at 10:34 am

    Your site found in Google: http://google.com/search?q=rlq

  • 13. Visitor056  |  August 17th, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I could not find this site in the Search Engines index

  • 14. jessie  |  March 5th, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    This has been my problem for some time. I have observed that some of my web pages have not been updated by google after one month of changing my permalinks. Alghough traffic is still the same, i’m concerned since lately, my Page Rank was ripped off which is probably due to change in permalinks.

  • 15. theDuck  |  March 5th, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Jessie – Did you redirect your old permalinks? If you did not, then it’s no wonder your PR has fallen – PR follows links, and if links no longer exist, it cannot be assigned – you essentially throw your PR to the wind.

    There is a great tool called ‘Dean’s Permalink Redirect’ – please read my comment on Vanessa Fox’s post about ‘how to redirect

  • 16. Brisbane Investment Properties for Sale  |  April 12th, 2008 at 12:34 am

    I am not certain when you first set up this page but I found you with a combined search for wordpress and real estate. I hope this helps.

  • 17. theDuck  |  April 12th, 2008 at 1:24 am

    That’s really interesting – what’s even more interesting is that you’re from Brisbane – as I am.

    What this has proven to me is that it’s easy to dominate high competition keywords for long tail searches 🙂

    It’s a lesson for us all..



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