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404 Error Page Or 301 Redirect To Homepage?
Posted 30 September 2012 - 05:53 PM
I have went through a client's site during a move (new site, not new domain) and redirected the top 200 landing pages to corresponding webpages on the new site site. The question is with the other 1,000+ pages on their website. These are not nearly as popular, and it would cost a lot to do the same with these. Is it better to do a 404 error page on these or a 301 redirect to the homepage?
Use a 301 Redirect to permanently redirect all pages on your old site to your new site. This tells search engines and users that your site has permanently moved. We recommend that you move and redirect a section or directory first, and then test to make sure that your redirects are working correctly before moving all your content.
Don't do a single redirect directing all traffic from your old site to your new home page. This will avoid 404 errors, but it's not a good user experience. It's more work, but a page-to-page redirect will help preserve your site's ranking in Google while providing a consistent and transparent experience for your users. If there won't be a 1:1 match between pages on your old site and your new site (recommended), try to make sure that every page on your old site is at least redirected to a new page with similar content.
Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:51 PM
Think about the users experience when deciding to redirect to the home page. Would a 404 page that provides suggestions and help be better than the home page? Or even a category page related to the subject they were expecting?
Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:13 AM
Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:24 PM
Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:46 AM
Showing the custom error page for five seconds is not a great option either. Visitors will be understandably annoyed if they are half-way through reading an explanation of the error, and then the page suddenly changes with no action on their part.
Also, if they originally reached the error page because they mis-typed the URL, it would be polite to keep them on the error page, as that would show the mis-typed URL in the address bar, and they could then edit it if they wished.
In short, do a simple custom 404 error page, and leave it at that.
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