301 Re-Directs are extremely important when it comes to the re-design of your website. The goal is to take all of your current pages and redirect them (with all of the valuable SEO rankings you have earned) to a new site page. This prevents business owners from needing to completely start their SEO efforts over from scratch when a new site is being built, as this would be counter intuitive to the entire process. A 301 redirect is basically a code that says “This page has moved permanently” and redirects any HTTP user agent (including your browser) from an old URL to your new one.
Re-Directs and SEO
Basically if you’re not redirecting your old URLs to your new URLs you’re leaving any links to your site pointing to the wrong place. This includes organic search listings and links from other websites. Not only that, but it also means that any PageRank associated with those old pages is now lost! With a 301 redirect you’re telling search engines that “the page has moved permanently, so please update your listings” Building a web presence through effective SEO practices takes time and effort, re-directs are a fail safe that protect all of your hard work when you are changing your domain name.
Re-Directing in WSM
Setting up site wide re-directs in the back end of WSM is a relatively simple process, though depending on how many pages you need to comb through, can be time consuming. Simple go to system>redirects and click "add redirect" in the top right corner. In the "URL Path" section you will enter the URL of the old page that is being re-directed. In "Target" you will put the URL of the page you want to re-direct to.
Effects of Not Re-Directing
Failing to re-direct your site pages prior to launching a new site can effectively erase all of your SEO efforts and force you to start over from scratch. Any inbound links you had gathered along the way will no longer link to the correct page, and page rank can plummet. With a re-direct, clicking said link will instead tell the browser that the page has moved and retain all aspects of page rank from the old page.
How to Get URLs to Re-direct
Site: in Google
Export from GA - Steps...
- Go to Analytics account, enter into your account dashboard (view report)
- Go to Content (left hand column)
- Click Site Content and then All Pages
- On the bottom right section of the full report, change the 'Show Rows' from 10 to 250
- If there is data dated back at least 3 months, change the date range on the top right corner from yesterday's date and 3 months back (i.e. Dec 1 - Mar 1)
- Towards the top of the page, click on Export > CSV for Excel
- If the excel file shows extra data along with the URLs, delete the top rows above actual data. Highlight column A. Click on data and select Text to Columns. Confirm delimited file. Click on Next. Check the comma box and uncheck the tab box. Click on Next, and then click on Finish. Delete all columns that are not URLS.