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Replacing old pages with new using 301s
Do we need to keep the old files?
biggles




msg:1501782
 10:17 am on Nov 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you are using 301 re-directs to map old to new pages on the same domain is it necessary to keep the old pages?

I'd always assumed it was based on various threads I've read here, such as in thread www.webmasterworld.com/forum92/1689.htm where jdMorgan states in post # 4

"...and that's a 301, not a 302. Make sure it's a 301, or you will cause yourself serious grief. Keep it in place for a year, at least (I keep mine until I haven't seen anyone use the old URL for a year, actually)".

We are currently updating a site and changing the names of many pages. Based on my interpretation of the above I assumed we did need to keep the old files alive for a time is so that when googlebot & other spiders revisit them they get re-directed to the new pages by the 301 redirects. From then on all subsequent visits by spiders will be to the new URLs & not the olds. At which point we could kill the old pages.

However my web developer is questioning this & asking why we need the actual files on the server if we have 301 redirects like the following:

RewriteRule ^/cgi-bin/old-directory/old_filename(.*) [%{HTTP_HOST}...] [NE,L,R=301]

He tells me that it won't't matter if we have the old files or not on the server, apache is going to just return what we tell it in the directive not the file contents.

Can someone please clarify if we should or shouldn't retain the old files?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

 

chirp




msg:1501783
 1:43 pm on Nov 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

listen to your web developer ;)

jdMorgan




msg:1501784
 3:25 pm on Nov 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

"...and that's a 301, not a 302. Make sure it's a 301, or you will cause yourself serious grief. Keep it in place for a year, at least (I keep mine until I haven't seen anyone use the old URL for a year, actually)".

Keep the 301 redirect in place for a year.

You can delete the old pages as soon as the 301 is in place and has been tested.

Jim

biggles




msg:1501785
 9:33 pm on Nov 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

Chirp & Jim

Thanks for your quick replies & for the clarification Jim.

Out of interest does the same apply if you are doing 301 re-directs from an old to a new domain? i.e. can you delete the old pages once the 301s are in place?

Reason I ask is that in an article on 301 re-directs by Planet Ocean (searchenginenews.com) they made this comment:

When making the switch, be sure to leave the content up on the old site. You'll want to copy the old site to its new location, as opposed to just moving the site to a new location. The difference is that when you copy a site, you leave the original in its old location. If you take the old site's content down and just replace it with a 301 redirect, the spiders may see the old pages as empty content and simply delete those pages from their index.

Is that correct?

chirp




msg:1501786
 9:49 am on Nov 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you know what you're doing you can set up a per-page redirect so that each address on the old site is redirected to the same page on the new site. This is done using Apache rewrite-rules and doesn't require that the old files exist (it's the request that's re-written and not the page).

The site you've quoted is probably talking about something more primative.

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