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Is it okay to launch a new site without redirects in place?
Posted 19 March 2010 - 01:10 AM
I've been using an asp-based cart for years that is nearly impossible optimize, but Google finally took notice of a few category listings and ranked them. I'd like to 301-redirect these to their counterparts in the new cart, but have wasted days and still can't get the code right in my .htaccess file. (They are dynamic URLS that need to be redirected to flat URLS in the new cart.) According to one site, that's something of a shot in the dark under the best circumstances and probably why all the help I've been given thus far has not worked for me.
It looks like one I have option is to keep trying different code until I happen upon the syntax that works. The other is to consider the value of this pagerank vs. the value of just launching the site. I can turn Adwords loose on it now (which is where I currently get most of my traffic anyway) and start using the SEO features going forward.
The domain is well-established but I don't have hundreds of high-ranking URLS to worry about. One or two are #1 for some niche-market keywords, and I do get clickthough from them, BUT this whole move was prompted by horrible performance from my old cart. It's so bad I can't even use Adwords right now, because people get there and they can't check out. I've outgrown the cart and need something more robust and SEO friendly, hence the move.
Some of you are much more experienced with these things than I am. Should I keep trying with the redirects, or just launch and concentrate on SEO going forward? I would certainly be driving traffic with Adwords in the meantime, which gives me a decent ROI, especially since my best season is NOW. Every day that I battle with this, I'm losing money.
Thanks in advance for your insights.
Posted 19 March 2010 - 07:58 AM
How much search traffic are you getting?
Are you prepared to lose it for awhile if you don't do the redirect? If so, then just go for the new site.
There are many techies in here who could probably assist you with getting your 301-redirects in order if you wanted to go that route.
Posted 19 March 2010 - 09:40 AM
Posted 19 March 2010 - 10:10 AM
I'd say it probably wouldn't be quite as fast, but far more cost-effective. The blog post will cost you the time it takes to write it, but it should help the product page get indexed, giving you two opportunities for pages about the product to show up in the organic results. AdWords will get people looking at your product page right away, but it will cost you money for every click in addition to the time spent setting up and managing the account, and it won't help get the page indexed.
Posted 19 March 2010 - 05:29 PM
OOoooh, I love that idea! Actually had in mind to try is some time ago but could not get a blog setup integrated with my site. My tech skills have improved quite a bit since then and it is hard to hush me up, so!
In the meantime, some of the pros on my shopping cart's forum have suggested that my 301 coding difficulties are stemming from trying to set this up under a test URL. They said I should just point the DNS to my new hosting, then do the redirects immediately after the new site begins showing on my URL.
So now my question is this: Let's say I repoint tonight (Friday) and by Saturday evening local time, it's there and I get the redirects written and working by Sunday sometime. Is it going to do me any harm if Google comes and spiders the site, possibly finding a 404 before I get that done? And how likely is it that the Big G is going to stop by for a visit in that window of time anyway?
Your help is much appreciated, believe me!
Posted 19 March 2010 - 07:14 PM
Posted 19 March 2010 - 08:21 PM
No, it's not a problem. Even if they come and the redirects are not set up it's no big deal. If you get them working soon, you'll be fine.
Posted 20 March 2010 - 12:24 AM
I don't know how common this is, but a site I've been running since 2002 was down for a few days last year. The people who'd been hosting it went out of business, shut down their servers and didn't even tell anyone, so it was a couple of days before I even knew the site was down, then it took me another day or two to set up new hosting.
While it was down, the ODP just happened to check up on it, couldn't reach the server (obviously, that's even bigger than a 404), and removed the site's listing, which had been up for about seven years. I'm still waiting for them to get around to adding it again.
Posted 20 March 2010 - 01:12 PM
It takes so long to get into ODP yet within days, they removed you and now you are thrown all the way back to phase one again, trying to get back in. Too bad they don't have some plan worked into their system for people like yourself who are obviously legit and have been with them for years.
This should be a good test of how long it actually takes to get included, since you know your content is acceptable to them and were simply removed due to circumstances beyond your control.
You know that left a lot of people who don't plan their sites well (and have backups elsewhere) huge issues. I had a couple companies do the same thing many, many years ago but luckily, I kept everything on hand as well as online and didn't lose anything.
Didn't run into the ODP issue you have though, it will be interesting to see how long it actually ends up taking to get listed again.
Posted 20 March 2010 - 02:22 PM
Well, not exactly.
I didn't notice that the listing had been dropped until a little over a month ago, which is months after it happened. I didn't connect the fact that we were no longer listed with the fact that the site had been down for a few days. Instead, my first thought was editor abuse, so I filed an abuse report on it.
It was an editor's reply to my report that told me why the listing had been dropped, and s/he told me I should just wait for them to re-check the site. I was told not to submit it as if it were new to the directory, so I haven't. I've just been going back to the page every week or so to see if my listing is back.
Hope springs eternal
Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:20 PM
Posted 20 March 2010 - 06:27 PM
I have noticed a drop in rankings, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I used to update the site on a weekly basis, and I went about a year without touching it. And I think the rankings dropped before the ODP listing was removed.
The site's also smaller than it used to be. It had had a forum section, which was not at all active except I had to go in and prune out the spam every day. When the old server was shut down, I had a local copy of the whole site except for the forum, so the decision I'd been putting off about shutting down the forum was made for me. Losing the forum meant the site went from about 500 pages to maybe half that over night, and of course all those pages that used to be there had contained links back to the main pages of the site.
I'm looking at GA right now, comparing the past month to the same period a year ago, and traffic is down, but again, I've lost about half of my pages, even though a pretty high percentage of those pages were junk.
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