Website Redesign and Restructuring - Redirecting 301 - Tutorial
Once in a while, I get clients with old website designs and structures that want to update everything to the modern days.
They usually have very old websites that are still successful, but normally there are losing clients because they have an old designed website with limited features and technologies. They may have homepages URLs that look like this: www.example.com/index.html - to ensure all the authority is being transferred you need to 301 that URL to a normal looking homepage URL: www.example.com. Same for any other ugly looking URLs.
As an SEO my job is to ensure the old structure of URLs is correctly redirected to the new URLs. Most choose to maintain their old domain so only the URL structure will need to be changed but some will also change to a new domain name and I have to make sure I transfer as much authority as possible from the old domain to the new one.
Most old school SEOs are doing a very bad job when it comes to redirecting, they usually just 301 all the old URLs to the homepage of the new website.
That's wrong on some many levels! - Why? Because Google tells us so, that's why!
John Mueller says it here in this video - The 301 redirect from all pages to the homepage, that we would be something that will see as soft 404.
Here is how I'm doing a site-wide 301 redirect of all URLs when I have a redesign and restructure project:
I set the range on Google Analytics for 1 or 2 year period.
I export all the pages that got at least 1 organic visit in this period
I fire up a notepad writing manually the redirects from the old location to the new location: RewriteRule ^old/url$ /new/url [R=301,L]
I also look at any pages that may have gotten backlinks but don't necessarily get organic traffic, those also need to be added in the redirect list
I hand the list over to the programmers for actual and permanent implementation