After a major website redesign, it’s not uncommon for page locations and even page extensions to change. Maybe you’ve switched web development languages, or changed your website’s structure into a SEO friendly themed set of silos. Whatever the reason page locations have changed, it’s vital that the old page locations are 301 redirected to the appropriate new pages.
It’s time sensitive for the developers to make the change, as:
1. Pages will start dropping out of the index (Google hates sending visitors to bad pages, and can see the bounce rate skyrocket). When Googlebot comes to visit your site, it will probably receive a “404 Error Page” as well as a 404 HTTP error code. A 404 error code is the surefire way to get a page out of Google’s index.
2. Humans that have bookmarked the old page will be stranded. Depending on the 404 error page (Your server’s default is simply awful), your loyal return visitor may think the entire site is down.
3. Search engines will stop counting the power of the links coming into broken pages, and rankings will drop. Search engines do not count links to missing pages. The wonderfully diverse link profile you’ve built over the years can disappear as links to subpages are no longer counted.
4. Webmasters linking into subpages might notice the 404 and remove their links. Some webmasters routinely monitor where they are linking to, and remove links to broken destinations.
Don’t make the most common of 301 redirect errors: Sending everything to the home page. to preserve a diverse link profile, you’ll want to keep those links spread naturally across your site’s homepage AND subpages.
Happy 301 redirecting!