Having A Redirect Strategy for Your Website Migration
Moving to a new website is a huge project for most companies, and it is important to be sure that you are not making mistakes along the way. Here at Nowspeed, we have seen companies lose up to 98% of their traffic due to poorly managed site migrations.
Needless to say, it’s best to make sure you avoid any issues when migrating to your new site – and out of any potential problem you could run into, the one mistake that could have the most impact on the success of your new website is not having a proper redirect strategy.
Outdated Content Strategy
When creating a new website, it is common to reorganize the website layout and architecture to make it easier to navigate and focus traffic towards the most relevant content. Often sites may be bloated by outdated pages that refer to services that are no longer offered or otherwise are no longer important for the users of the website. Therefore, it is common for website owners to want to remove these pages from their site completely during a new site build. Unfortunately, there is a big issue that comes with doing that.
The authority of your website and how high it ranks on the search engine results page (SERP) for a given keyword is dependent on how many other sites link to it. The more websites that point to a piece of content on your site, and the higher the authority of those sites, the better your pages will rank. The issue here is that any links pointing to your old pages are going to become dead links once you delete the page. Once a search engine crawls your site again and gets an error trying to load the page, it will stop showing up in search and no longer contribute to your domain authority.
Migrating Website Pages
The solution to this issue depends on your desires for your new site, and how much resources you can direct to your site migration. One simple way to address it is to simply migrate all of the old site pages to the new site, and just remove the pages you have no interest in from the site navigation. This allows users to click on a link to the page and reach the old page on the new site without it being part of the page structure. Doing this prevents your new site from losing the domain authority given to it by that page, while the page continues to rank for that keyword in search results.
301 Redirect for Outdated Content
If you are planning to replace that content, then you need a more advanced strategy. Another common tactic is to use the old content in a blog post and set up a 301 redirect from the old page URL to the new blog post. If the content remains largely similar to matching meta tags and the same keywords in the content, you should be able to keep Google and other search engines from treating it as a dead link.
Refresh Old Content
The final common way of dealing with this is to write new content targeted towards the same keywords, and redirect the old page URL to the new page. Out of all the methods, this is the most dangerous in terms of losing domain authority and backlinks. Even if you include the same keywords and write similar content, you still stand a chance of the worst-case situation occurring. However, it may be the best option for some sites if you do manage to avoid losing the backlink. Doing this allows you to create updated content to go along with your new website while maintaining your existing backlinks and domain authority. The trick here is to strike a balance between creating new content and still providing the information found in the original piece. No matter how much effort is taken, there is still going to be a chance of the new page being considered non-relevant by search engines and due to this should only be implicated if the site owner is willing to take the risk of losing traffic and backlinks.
While there are a variety of ways to handle page redirects during a website migration, one certainty is that any migration should be done by an experienced individual who understands the risks involved and knows how to do it properly. Here at Nowspeed, we have the ability to handle not only site migrations but also complete website development. Contact us today for all of your development needs.