We did a complete redesign of an old static webpage and move it to a WordPress site, or just moved from one domain to another, and we have a bunch of old URLs pointing to content that is no longer existing under that URL. This is throwing a 404 error and confusing the user. The SEO impact of this problem is huge, because web crawlers will not find the content they were expecting, just some 404 landing page, and it may sink our webpage in the Google ranking.
With the new site we have different URL structure and the old one is no longer valid. We need to specify a set of rules to redirect the old content URLs to the matching new ones. This is critical for user experience and SEO purposes. If the search engines visit an old URL and they find a 404 landing page it will index that old URL taking into consideration the new invalid content.
In order to fix this problem we have to specify a set of rules in our htaccess file. The htaccess file will be the one in charge of taking care of the redirections of the old URLs to the new ones. The kind of redirection we need to use in order to be search engine friendly is the 301 redirection. This specification is standardized these days by all the search engines as the best practices to specify that a content has been moved permanently to a new URL. [Read more…] about 301 Redirection WordPress (using W3 Total Cache)