SEO Tip: New website? Remember redirects!
The most common mistake we see some “big” agencies/companies make is to launch a new website without redirecting their old pages (and search engine listings) to the new versions.
What does that mean?
Your old website may have had a different file structure than your new website meaning old links no longer work, returning errors when users try to access them. Search engines will have the same problem and each listing which returns a 301 error (not found) will eventually be removed from the search engine listings.
For example your website’s old contact page might have been at “www.yourwebsite.co.uk/contact.php” and your new website may be at “www.yourwebsite.co.uk/contactus/”.
What needs to be done?
To ensure search engines and users alike are not frustrated and more importantly your traffic levels do not fall off a cliff, you need to ensure you have setup permanent redirects which are active along with the new website.
For Linux websites we recommend the use of HTACCESS redirects which are essentially a small text file which sits at the route of your server detailing a list of pages which have moved and their new location.
Each line looks like this:
Redirect /old-index.html http://www.mynewwebsite.com/foldername/new-index.html
For Microsoft (IIS 7) servers things are quite a bit more complicated but here goes:
- Open IIS Manager and locate the website under sites
- Right click the website and choose “switch to content view”
- In the right hand pane locate the file you want to redirect
- Right click the file and choose “switch to features view”
- Important! Verify that it shows the correct file name at the top of the screen
- Under the IIS section open “HTTP Redirect”
- Put a check in “Redirect requests to this destination” and type in the new URL
- Change the status code to “Permanent 301″
- Click Apply (this results in an HTTP status code of: HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently)