If there's one thing that makes me sad :(, it's seeing people loose their site rankings! I've seen it numerous times over the last couple of weeks and disaster recovery is not always a simple process so... I decided to start writing the "Essential steps to successful SEO" guide for those of you interested. If you're not, then try reading something on SA Property News ;-).
Something I do know, having been in the SEO game for a couple of years, is that getting your site to the TOP of the rankings comes with alot sweat, hard work & effort! The rewards are amazing & gratifying and seeing client climb from NOWHERE to SOMEWHERE is a feeling that's untouchable (I know what you're thinking, it comes close).
So, why 301 redirects? And more importantly why Permanent 301 redirects?
Here's a scenario! You have a website trafficfundi.com and it's been running for 5 years. It's also been generating 4000 hits a day, but your business decides to re brand and change company names to trafficwizard.com (think this sites available). One of things you need to do is a website redesign and restructuring, which also means moving the site to a new domain.
You spend R300 000 on a website(ripped off once again) and switch everything over to the new domain (At this point you've totally forgotten about marketing or haven't even thought about it yet). 3 weeks later, you're getting 4 hits a day and you can't understand why, so you phone the SEO guru's and bitch about spending R10 000 to fix it!
So here's where 301 redirects (The essential SEO tip) come into play.
If you do a "site:www.trafficfundi.com" in Google, it will tell you how many pages you have indexed in the Google index. When you move your website to the new domain, all those pages listed in the Google index HAVE TO MOVE ACROSS. If you don't move them across, or you don't redirect those pages to the new domain name, you're going to get a error page, saying sorry this page no longer exists! This means:
1. You're going to loose all the PR that those pages had
2. All the links (whether you built the links or not) no longer have any validation. This alone means that people linking to your old site are going to get penalised for linking to a broken link.
So think about all the other sites you're damaging in the process!!!
3. You're going to P!$$ Google off!
So ensure, that if you delete a page (you think about who is linking to that page - and whether or not THEY need it! A sure way to Successful SEO: Always always always use 301 PERMANENT redirects when moving sites or pages!
Thanks to Bruce Clay for an awesome page on how to 301 permanent redirect anything!!!!http://www.bruceclay.co.za/newsletter/0405/redirects.html