ATTIRE 69 RETAIL TECHNOLOGY and present page titles in the website make sense. Unfortunately you can never rely on this, so most of the time if we have to go right down to the product level manual matching is required, a very time consuming task. What you end up with is a large number of permanent redirect directives, which can be placed either directly into server setup files or (on some types of servers) website level files that tell search engines and browsers that the pages they are trying to find have been moved somewhere else.These directives are called redirects and are of the form redirect 301 / oldcategory/oldfile.html /newcategory/newfile (this is an example for an Apache .htaccess file, others are different). A redirect? As its name suggests, a redirect shows any user interested (be it a search engine or a browser) that a resource has been moved somewhere else. For search engines, by far the best type of redirect to use are permanent or 301 redirects. This type of redirect tells the search engine the resource that is being looked for has been permanently moved somewhere else, so in theory all of the relevance that the old page has should be moved as well to the new page. In reality, migrated pages do lose some relevance in the short term, so rankings may take a bit of a tumble, but if the actual content on the page stays the same and all other factors (like external linking) are unaffected, then rankings will eventually bounce back. Belts and braces Finally, when a full set of page level permanent redirects are in place, contact webmasters of the most important links coming into the website and inform them of the change. If links are coming into the homepage of the external website then this obviously doesn’t need any action (as the homepage URI doesn’t change), however, if you have strong links coming into category and product pages this last task is well worth doing. We normally carefully vet linking pages and have even offered updated, more relevant text for pages linking to our client sites, this increases the relevance of the pages linking to our client’s website and means those links are even stronger. Migration is something that many with retail websites think of at the last moment. It’s easy to see that, for those with previous websites, this is something to be carefully planned and budgeted for. Believe me, search engines will thank you for your efforts, as will your bank manager! A Further information: David Fairhurst is Head of Creative Online Marketing at Intelligent Retail. David has been involved with search engine optimisation (SEO) and web development since 1999 and has spoken at many different retail and SEO conferences including Spring Fair and SES London. Call David on +44 (0)845 680 0126.