When you move from one house to another you generally give the post office the forwarding address so you don't lose any mail. The same is true for all links in your website. When a URL is changed, you should create a 301 redirect that tells search engines, and bookmarks from past customers, where to find you by automatically forwarding to the new address. Creating 301's are very important because you don't want to lose your history in the search engines.
Many times there may not be an exact match as you're content may have changed. Just keep in mind that as long as you have a 301 in place, and the content is relatively similar, you will be ok so don't over complicate this process. Your goal is making sure search engines don't reach a dead end, and to make sure customers find something similar in case you no longer have what they were looking for.
NOTE - don't be intimidated by all the pictures below, this is only a two step process and it's really easy. You can watch the video above or look at the first two images below. The other images are for additional explanations.
|Setting 301 Step 1 - select target type|
|Setting 301 Step 2 - find matching target|
-- The remaining images are additional Tips --
|When you open 301 section|
|You can filter list by type|
|Importing your old sitemap allows you to import all URL's from your old website|
|Importing - Step 2|
|Or Manually add an original URL|
|How to add a custom target|
|Example of completed 301 record|
- Over time you'll see new unmatched items appear in this section because we programmed your site to report all URL requests that don't exist. So, if a customer tries to open a page that doesn't exist you'l know. If it happens more than once, you should redirect it to related content.
- There is no limit to how many "original URLs" can point to a new Target.
- If you've deleted the content completely so the Original URL has no place to go even as a custom URL, but the old link had high traffic or popularity, I would either select the closest matching Target or the Home page.
- If scenario above, except Original was only up a short time and no traffic I would just delete.
- To delete 301s, check the boxes of 301's and choose delete under "Bulk Action"
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