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301 Redirect, How Do I Love You? Let Me Count The Ways at SMX West 2009
The 411 on 301s 24/7. Or in other words, the 301 redirect is probably one of the most powerful tools available to an SEO. Discover how to move your link equity from an old to new domain, deal with non-canonical domains that get indexed, how to best handle dead URLs and more.
Moderator: Alex Bennert, In House SEO, Wall Street Journal introduces each of the speakers for this session. Some of this gets a bit geeky, so be prepared.
Carolyn Shelby, Mercenary, CShel
301 rewrites redirect users and bots from the old location of a given Web page to new location (URL). Redirect users from alternate TopLevelDomains to the main TLD (usually the .com). Redirect from an old domain to a new domain. Corrects canonical issues www vs. non-www.
Basic relaunch -
Possibly moving to a new domain, changing file extensions, new pages but few new pages. Few old pages are "disappearing". No significant architecture changes. Small number of redirects required. Just use normal .hta access and you'll be golden.
Complicated Relaunch -
Significant architecture changes. Create a translation table or spreadsheet with all of current sites' indexed pages and their URLs. All backlinks and relationships from the old to the new.
How to prep for the move. Know the answers to these questions. How will your redirects be added to your system? How will you be watching and tracking your 404s? Track errors and manually update if needed. Use "Mint" to track 404s or Google Analytics or GoogleWebmaster Tools for external link tables. Your lists will help you write the redirects.
What to expect?
Major site overhauls will see anywhere from a 20% drop in traffic to be completely dropped from the index. Recovery time is generally 6 to 18 weeks. Teh long tail will suffer more than anything. Payoff is the new site will be better in long run for more keywords and traffic. Analytics should show 10-20% increases in traffic upon recovery and will grow weekly.
Stephan Spencer, Founder and President, Netconcepts
Stephan gets his geek on with the downloaded presentation on how to create Rewrite rules in mod_rewrite or ISAPI and pattern matching of regular expressions. If you want to learn how to do rewrites without "gotchas" and go down the Rabbit Hole of large rewrites, check it out.
Jordan Kasteler, Co-Founder, SearchandSocial.com
Redirects can work for Social sites to add link popularity and rankings. Digg and Overstock for example do not like linking to commercial sites. Post a story, submit to Digg and Sphinn, then redirect to the commercial site.
Is this a bait and switch? Not if you use multi-part story strategy. Create stories such as Top Free SEO Tools and Top Paid SEO tools as resources. Use 301 redirect to transfer and consolidate all of the inbound links to single location for the full story. Wait for links to come to a stop before redirecting.
Jonah Stein, Founder, ItsTheROI
2005 began the era of search engines saying duplicate content is a bad thing. 2006 brought the issues of canonicalization. Understanding redirects and when not to use 301 takes a greater importance.
Redirects come in many flavours – 302, 303, and 307 in addition to the above.
302 Redirects have legitimate uses including temporary pages, vanity URLs and microsites.
Geo-local redirection without changing the ranking for the underlying page is a valid use. Use a 302 for an "at this moment" this is where the content is for the user. Sales, seasonal products and events should use a 302 to preserve the base page rank.
Microsites in a sub-domain can maintain the hierarchy. Create search friendly URLs to redirect from legacy applications pages and overcome sticky SEO issues.
Use a 302 from Http to https to avoid canonical confusion. If using a 3rd party shopping cart and don't want url in code carefully use a redirect to display URL.
307 Redirects are supported by Google. 302 defaults to a 303 get method while 307 uses a post method. Not used often, but it is supported. For more information, check the latest information by contact your web professional.