Every so often you need to take a look at your website and prune some of the old material from your website. I recently went through the process with cgwebhelp.com. During the recent redesign, I removed the whole FYI section and many sub pages from other sections. The material was dated and it was time to streamline the site.
While search engines love to see current relevant content, you should take care when completing a redesign so that you don’t lead visitors and search engines to an old page or worse a page not found. Not only is it confusing and annoying for people coming to your website but it can also hurt your search engine rank.
If you go to Google and search site:cgwebhelp.com, you’ll see all the incoming links that Google has coming to the site. Many of the links listed are pointing to old pages. You’ll want to fix that so all listings are pointing to your new website. To do that, you’ll want to do two things.
- Make sure that the old pages are actually removed from your server
- Set up a 301 Permanent redirect for any removed pages to an applicable section of your new website.
If you’re working with a web designer you’ll want to ensure that they’ve completed those two things when completing the updates to your site. To check, you can do a search on your site by searching “site:yourdomain.com” and start clicking through the links — if they all direct to your new site, you’re in good shape. If not, there’s still some work to be done.
If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person and you have access to your hosting account and Cpanel you can set up the 301 redirects yourself. Log in to your Cpanel and look fro the Domains>Redirect link. Once there choose “Permanent 301 from the dropdown, type in the url of the old page or directory that needs to be pointed to a new url and the new URL in the spaces indicated click update and you’re done.
If you want to redirect a whole directory as I did in the example shown above click the “Wild Card Redirect” box. That’s it. Now go back to Google and click through your links to verify that they’re all going to your updated pages.