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Old 19-12-2009, 10:22:53 AM     #1 (permalink)
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Redirect old Google Results and incoming links

Hi,

I have a domain with a fair amount of results in Google. I registered this domain after the previous owner dropped it.

I parked the domain for a while but have now developed it. Fortunately, the site is still indexed in Google and there are also a fair amount of incoming links
to the old site, a forum.

I've got a rule in my htaccess file to redirect all 404 to the site root (index.php). Like this:
ErrorDocument 404 /index.php

My question is, what is the best way to keep the Google results and incoming links? With a 404 or with some other redirect rules?

Any help would be appreciated.

Jonathan
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Old 19-12-2009, 05:06:15 PM     #2 (permalink)

 
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I'm not an expert, but the 404 redirect is just a 'page not found' type of redirect. I'm not sure if Google will see this and wonder if it's worth keeping it in it's index.

If you're dealing with hundreds/thousands of pages, (and urls with no pattern) the following may not be possible:
1. Try and recreate the same urls/pages on your website. Try and have similar content on there (keywords/theme etc)

or

2. Try and have 301 redirects. An individual 301 redirect page for each url in Google, each directing to it's own unique page (again similar theme/content).


I think both 1 and 2 above would keep your site's standing the best with Google. Any PageRank from individual pages would/should be transfered to new pages via the 301 redirects, and also your website wouldn't go from 200 pages to 1 page in Google's eyes.

By doing a 404 redirect for all indexed pages to a single page would mean that Google will see only 1 page instead of many. Therefore over time (and sometimes very quickly) Google will start to remove the extra urls.

If you don't need the urls to stay in Google then your 404 would work to capture the traffic while the links remain in Google. But if you can keep the links there then this may work out better for you to keep that traffic and ranking indefinitely (rather than losing it and having to build the indexed pages back up)
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Old 20-12-2009, 01:56:45 PM     #3 (permalink)

 
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You need to 301 the pages, like woop woop said, redirect them to 'appropriate' pages. It's worth getting paying a few quid for a report from somewhere like majesticseo.com to find which pages have got incoming links. Then periodically check your server logs to see which pages are still returning 404's (i.e. pages you've missed and redirect those too). Bear in mind that these strategies are not without risk, a site with new ownership that suddenly has many 301's runs the risk of a penalties. As long as what you are doing continues to provide value for users you should be ok.
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Old 22-12-2009, 10:02:12 AM     #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice.

I've created 301 rules to redirect the incoming links.

BUT.. this may just be an exercise in futility.
I had a look at the domain through majesticseo.com and didn't realise that a fair amount of the incoming links contain terms which may be termed offensive by many.

As I mentioned, the site was a forum and it's clear from the backlinks that the site was overrun by spammers.

The domain is still indexed in Google though so I'm just going to 301 the links to the new content and see what happens over time.

Jonathan
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