January 7, 2010

Why Redirect old content when Changing domain or Server?

If you are looking to change domains to your website, change the order of your file structure or simply change the url to one of your pages. Make sure to remember to create a redirect for that page.

Loyalty reasons to redirect content that is no longer there

Redirects are important primarily when you have a mature website that is indexed in Google or any of the other search engines. Given that you have some readers and your content is valuable to them, it is likely that they have stored links to your website in one place or another. It might be through a social bookmark, a bookmark in the browser or through a link on their blog or website.

When you change the urls, the old urls simply stop working if you don’t create a redirect that directs the old links to the new content.

SEO Reasons to Redirect old content

For Google, Yahoo and Bing that put relevance to how many people/websites have linked to your page, it also becomes highly relevant to store this value. By creating a proper redirect you make sure that you store most of the value these links gave to your old website.

With regards to Google, it is important even if you are on a new server, hosting provider or similar to create a redirect from the old server to the new one. Remember, that the neat domain names aren’t what the computers see when they fetch your website from a server. That is only what the browser returns to you in the url field on top of the browser.

Spammers use this method in some creative way and I will cover that in a future article.

Remember to also do this when moving to new hosting or servers

The computers see something like http://201.214.5.63/root/cat/?pid=546 and convert it into http://www.yourdomain.com/acatalog/somepage.html. When on a new server, but with identical domain name and structure, the computer fetching the content at the old place http://201.214.5.63/root/cat/?pid=546 won’t be able to find it as it is no longer there. You should thus  create a redirect even if you don’t change the name but change the location of your website.

This article is one in a series focusing on redirects. To view the full list of redirect blog posts visit the Search Engine Optimization tab.

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