Live Coverage of 301 Redirect, How Do I Love You? Let Me Count The Ways at SMX West

Feb 11, 2009 - 7:25 pm 0 by
Filed Under SMX West 2009

Below is live coverage of the 301 Redirect, How Do I Love You? Let Me Count The Ways from SMX West 2009 conference.

This coverage is provided by Keri Morgret of Morgret Designs.

We are using a live blogging tool to provide the real time coverage. We will publish the archive below after the session is completed. In addition, you can interact with us and while we are live blogging, so feel free to ask us questions as we blog.

301 Redirect, How Do I Love You? Let Me Count The Ways(02/11/2009) 
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Keri Morgret:  Carolyn Shelby is up first in this nice technical session that they saved for the last session of the d ay.
Keri Morgret:  She's giving a case study of a site that was written the wrong way, authority transfered to horrid URLs, and lots of nasty things.
Keri Morgret:  Their challenge was that you can't do 301s easily when you don't have consistent URL naming patterns.
Keri Morgret:  Review of what 301s are.
- redirect users and bots from old URL to new URL
- redirect users from old domain to new domain
- redirects users from alternate tlds (.org to .com, for example)
- fixes www vs non www
- Keeps unauthorized users and bots from accessing live development environments, redirects them to main site. (IP specific delivery).
Keri Morgret:  For the last instance, this was used internally when you can't have a separate dev server. in-house IPs could see new site, but nobody else.
Keri Morgret:  A basic relaunch -- new frosting, but the cake is the original recipe.

- Possibly moving to a new domain
- URls changing file extensions
- New pages, but few new pages are replacing old pages
- Few of your old pages are disappearing
- No significant changes to pre-existing information architecture or nomenclature
Keri Morgret:  Basic Relaunch and 301s

Small number of redirects required
The naming scheme from old site had consistent, easily defined patterns
Get by with a simple htaccess file
Keri Morgret:  Complicated Relaunch. The frosting is all new and ethe cake is a different flavor, a different shape, and has jelly filling instead of bad peanut butter filling. And lots of other stuff that went by too quickly.
Keri Morgret:  Before you start:
All current indexed pages and URLs
All current indexed pages with backlinks
Relationships/translations from the old to the new.

You should also have an understanding of:
- how your redirects will be added to your system
- how you will be watching'/tracking your 404
- any weirdness or quirikiness unique to your CMS or web server
[Comment From Sunny D]
if a site was 301ed to a new domain and after 4 months the 301 is taken to get that domain indexed again? have tried submitting sitemaps, get new links to the domain as well
Keri Morgret:  Prep:
Find a software package to do some of the reports for you
Tracking 404 - learn to read some of the server logs, install software
Other reports -- this is why God makes interns
Keri Morgret:  Why is the prep important? Because you want your site to not be a fail!

Your lists will help you write the redirects

The patterns (or lack of) determine the method you use -- either .htaccess or hash table

If a URL isn't in yhour reports, skip it. Fewer redirects = faster response times
Keri Morgret:  What to expect when you're done:

Major site overhauls will see anywhere from a 20% drop in traffic to being completely dropped from the index.

Recovery time is generally 6-18 weeks

The long tail traffic will suffer more than anythign else
Keri Morgret:  They had someone sitting looking at the logs, watching for incoming 404s. Soon as another one hit, he'd add another redirect in the file.
Keri Morgret:  Yes, it's a pain to do this, but it is worth it to get over a bad site.
Keri Morgret:  Stephan Spencer is up next with soem more technical details.
Keri Morgret:  Time to drink from the firehose! Look at the powerpoint URL

Keri Morgret:  km: i covered this one a year ago, he's got a lot of great stuff here. Pull up the PPT!!!
Keri Morgret:  He prefers rewrite rules as opposed to redirects

Keri Morgret:  Here's my coverage of this session from last year:

[Comment From Susan Reed]
What's the advantage of using a rewrite rule instead of a redirect?
[Comment From Susan Reed]
No.. I don't "see that"
Keri Morgret:  He talks about greedy expressions -- basically he's trying to tighten up expressions so you're not rewriting things you odn't want to rewrite.
Keri Morgret:  As if that wasn't bad enough, we're going on to a more complex example!
Keri Morgret:  He's showing how to do non-www to www that is super geeky to do wonderful things.
Keri Morgret:  You can do great stuff with tracking parameters.
Keri Morgret:  Yet more fun with tracking parameters? You can do things with cookies before doing a 301. Invoke a script that cookies the user then 301s them to the canonical URL.
Keri Morgret:  See the powerpoint for the information. He sais to note the lack of a R=301 flag above. That's on purpose. No need to expose this script to the user. Use a rewrite and let the scdript send the 301 after it has done its work.
Keri Morgret:  You can 301 retired legacy URLs.
Keri Morgret:  This is great information, and it's stuff I (km) could really use, but I can't explain what he's saying well enough to have it make any sense in this liveblog.
Keri Morgret:  A common problem is https canonicalization. He has great fixes.
Keri Morgret:  You can optimize a bunch of post slugs without going to each page.

Keri Morgret:  If you're on microsoft IIS there's stuff you can do, including getting pity from everyone.
Keri Morgret:  It's risky to do conditional redirects. Read Stephan's search engine land article on redirects.
Keri Morgret:  There are almost always ways to do what you want to do without conditional redirects. Matt Cutts is talking about this topic tomorrow in Ask The Search Engines.
Keri Morgret:  You cancapture PageRank on Dead Pages. Look at this slide, cool stuff here.
Keri Morgret:  Now after Stephan we have Jordan Kasteler, Utah SEO Pro.
Keri Morgret:  He'll be covering the redirects from a social media aspect.
Keri Morgret:  The case study is about social media links and organic rankings.
Keri Morgret:  Did a 301 so that a site submitted to Digg would go to the front page -- the destination URL was an SEO site, which wouldn't have gone to the front because Digg people hate SEOs. They did a 301 redirect, was all good.
Keri Morgret:  He's talking about internal redirects from I missed this.
Keri Morgret:  Some of these redirects can be considered gray hat.
Keri Morgret:  Whitehat 301 social media strategy

Use multi-part story strategy
consolidate all the parts into one larger story
301 redirect to transfer and consolidate all of the inboudn inks into that single location
Keri Morgret:  Example multi-part aarticles:
Top Free SEO Tools
Top Paid SEO Tools
Top Free PPC Tools
Top Paid PPC Tools

What if each of those got on to the front page of Sphinn for a couple of days?

Then put everything into a main article of Best Internet Marketing Tools, then redirect to that main article, get lots more links that way that you would have if you had submitted just one article.
Keri Morgret:  Choose your (linikbaiting) hook wisely.
News hook
contrary hook
attack hook
resource hook (can keep building links over a long period of time)
humor hook
ego hook
incentive hook
Keri Morgret:  Wait for links to come to a stop before 301 redirecting
Keri Morgret:  Don't always use redirects as a solution to pass link value.

Keri Morgret:  Don't redirect to your home page -- anchor text does not seem to be passed to the home page when a page is deleted and moved to the home page.
Keri Morgret:  Use your keywords in your page and social media submission titles
Keri Morgret:  He goes over canonical domain issues and how people can mess up links to your site.
Keri Morgret:  Other resources:

and more

[email protected] can answer your questions.
Keri Morgret:  Jonah Stein is up next.
Keri Morgret:  Here's here to tell us why teh answer isn't always a 301.
Keri Morgret:  Goes through a history of using redirects for spam.
Keri Morgret:  Focusing on redirects that are NOT 301 redirects.
Keri Morgret:  Legit uses of 302:

Display user0friendly URL but the content lives deep inside within the information architecture. The vanity URL doesn't have to 301.
Keri Morgret:  A 302 could be good for matching a keyword in the URL.
Keri Morgret:  Geo-location redirection without changing the ranking for the underlying page.
[Comment From manfmnantucket]
actually, that last one is questionable - goog will consider it cloaking
Keri Morgret:  I didn't include the comment about making sure the spiders and users saw the same page.
Keri Morgret:  He talked about it in such a way that it wouldn't be considered spamming.
[Comment From manfmnantucket]
with geolocation you can't.
Keri Morgret:  Getting around IT Roadblocks.

When you are calling legacy applications or have an application with parameters contained in the URL and you want to create search-friendly URLs.
[Comment From manfmnantucket]
googles spiders all appear to simulate a user based in mountain view, which messes up geo sites big time
Keri Morgret:  @manfrmnantucket He gave a more complete explanation, but I missed it.
Keri Morgret:  Third party shopping carts.

When you are calling a third-party shopping cart and don't want to display the URL in the code of the page.
Keri Morgret:  Pretty affiliate links.

When you are calling an affiliate link within the target page.

Warning: google quality raters have specific instructions to look for hidden/misleading redirects, so use with caution.
Keri Morgret:  307 might be the right answer. Might be a bit of a mythical beast, he hasn't seen one in the wild. He's going to try to give us a bit of clarification, and does treat it differently than a 302.
Keri Morgret:  302 defaults to a 303 get method while a 307 uses a post method. He hopes Stephan can explain that to him.
Keri Morgret:  In general, Jonah wants us to consider that 301 isn't always the perfect answer.
Keri Morgret:  Q&A time.
Keri Morgret:  Q: Is there a test site where we can go to test our rules before we go live with them.
A: Stephan puts them on a site with very little traffic or a dev site and tests is there. Carolyn does this as well. Mess up, just change the htaccess file back.


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