Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Chris Greene on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, 04/21/2022).

Migrating to a new site with new URL structures

Hey guys, if migrating to a new site (Wordpress to Wordpress), with new URL structures, is it best practice to add a self canonical tag to the preferred version of every URL? Or is this not really essential?
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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions Facebook & G+ community.

  • Stockbridge Truslow: It depends what you mean by "migrating" - to me, that means you`re changing hosts or something like that... so the old site moves to a new host. In that event, there wouldn`t be two versions of any page once you point the domain to the new host. You`d redirect.

    I can`t be certain what you are "actually" saying here, though - but if it IS what you`re describing above - I`d migrate the site as it is and make sure that is up and working and then (on a staging site) change the URLs and update the structure with redirects in place. There are tools that help you do that. If you are starting from scratch - then life is going to suck for you.

    Again... I`m not sure what you`re actually doing though... so could you clarify it a bit?

  • Chris Greene: Stockbridge Truslow Changing host + brand new theme and url structures

  • Stockbridge Truslow: Then there are no canonicals to be had. The easiest way to do this is to have something like Yoast or Rank Math (I think you may need to Pro Versions for the automatic Redirects part to work, though - but it`ll be worth it).

    Step 1: Get the new hosting plan and make an exact copy of your existing site there - same everything. Exactly. This will be your starting point and serve as the "staging" site as you redesign and move things around.

    Step 2: Work on the new site with the redesign and moving stuff around. As you move a page, make sure the redirects are being created. So in other words if you move /blog/category/article-1 to /blog/another-category/article-1/ or whatever - make sure that redirect gets created. Again - some SEO plugins will catch these automatically - other situations you might need to manually add them to a plugin. However you do it - just make sure you`re consistent.

    Step 3: During this phase where the old site is still up and running and the new site is being developed - if you add something to the old site - add it to the new site. Start in the same place as it is in the old site and then move it so the redirect gets created.

    Step 4: Get the new site ready to go and launch. Test it all and make sure it works. Make sure you`ve turned off the "Discourage Search Engines" button in the Wordpress Settings.

    Step 5: Update your DNS to point to the new site. Also create a redirect from your staging URL to your main URL to make sure all links get sent to the domain name and not staging.

    Step 6: Grab the Better Search Replace plugin and search every stable for your stagingsiteurl.com and replace it with realdomain.com url to make sure all links and references get updated.

    Step 7: Test everything again to make sure it works, that everything loads, and it is all good.

    Step 8: Have a beer.

  • Chris Greene: Stockbridge Truslow Wow thanks mate. We noticed the site has uppercase and lowercase URL duplications across all URLs e.g.

    domain/Afterpay and domain/afterpay

    Just wondering how a developer would fix this for WordPress?

  • Stockbridge Truslow: Something like this should do the trick:


    Check the top answer to the question. The first one should work... if not (i.e. you don`t have access to the "conf" file...) the second one looks right, too.

    You might also check with your host. On some servers (especially if you have a managed wordpress hosting plan) there is a way back in your controls or via tech support that they can automatically rewrite the URLs with a checkbox or by asking.

    SERVERFAULT.COMApache rewrite all URLs to lowercase if contains at least one uppercaseApache rewrite all URLs to lowercase if contains at least one uppercase

  • Chris Greene: Stockbridge Truslow legend appreciate the detailed responses.

  • Stockbridge Truslow: The details are where the devil is.


View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, 04/21/2022).