August 3, 2006, 12:00 AM

National Allergy Supply maintains high search rankings on new site platform

With web sales surging in recent years, largely due to search marketing, National Allergy Supply took several steps to assure that its new e-commerce platform would maintain the same high natural search rankings, vice president John Fry says.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

With web sales surging in recent years, largely due to search marketing, National Allergy Supply took several steps to assure that its new e-commerce platform would maintain the same high natural search rankings, John Fry, vice president of marketing and sales, tells InternetRetailer.com.

National Allergy, which sells on the web at NatlAllergy.com, had consistently maintained natural search rankings on Google and Yahoo/Overture within the top five listings with its former Linux-based e-commerce platform. But when it recently migrated to a Microsoft-based Mercury 6.0 platform from DMinSite, it was concerned search engine spiders would no longer recognize its pages, causing its rankings to drop.

“We had worked over the years to gain those rankings, but when going from a Linux open-source platform to a Microsoft platform everything changes,” Fry says. “All the URLs change, and we were really concerned that the new URLs wouldn’t be seen by spiders and that we would lose our rankings. That was scary to us.”

But with a page development strategy that includes use of a URL re-writer tool, DMinSite assured that the new page URLs appear the same to search engine spiders, Fry says. “We’ve maintained our high natural search rankings,” he says.

A key part of the process to protect rankings was to assure that each page’s title tag, or URL, contains all the same text that appeared on the old site, says Larry Kavanagh, CEO of DMinSite. The challenge is to use the old text while also assuring that the new page tags function properly to avoid error messages, he adds. “The URL re-writer makes the page appear to both humans and robotic spiders as if it’s in the old structure, so that it looks like the old tag but still offers the functionality of the new one,” Kavanagh says. “We want the search engine spiders to see the same meta information for the categories, products and article pages. This means the new web site receives the same high rankings it received on the previous platform.”

Another method to protect natural rankings is to develop a site map for all new pages and include the map on all of a site’s pages, because spiders use the maps to index all the pages on a site, Kavanagh says.

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