Changing URLs: Is It Dangerous?
One way or another, URLs can become outdated or even harmful. Things change, and SEO guidelines change. There are a lot of reasons for changing URLs. But is it okay? Won’t it do more harm than good?
Am I allowed to change URLs?
First of all, no one is stopping you. If you have an overly long or outdated URL, you have every right to change it. I know I have.
But it’s not that simple.
SEO is everything, and when it comes to SEO, Google is everything. And just recently, John Mueller from Google mentioned that changing URLs is extremely dangerous. According to him, the risk is way too high, and it’s almost never worth it to change URLs if you can help it.
Case closed? Not quite.
You probably know that a good URL should be precise. Not too long, and not hard to read. It should explain the nature of the page, and add to the structure.
When you have a ton of categories and subcategories in the URL name or whole sentences, it looks bad and hurts shareability. But a few years ago, nobody really cared.
Sometimes you have no choice. But rarely. Most of the time, it’s never a good idea to change a URL. Do URL names even matter for ranking? Hardly. Some experts are sure that they matter very little. Sure, a keyword-rich URL with no harmful “stop words” is the best, but changing it after the fact might be even more harmful. What’s done is done.