I know there are some threads out there at the moment that deal with similar problems, but I have some specific questions and thought opening a new thread might be better.
I am changing my site from all html to a php database driven one as it is now just too difficult to keep updated doing all the changes by hand.
The site is the most successful one in its niche in all the main search engines and has been for over a year, so I’m very worried about the possible consequences of this change.
Most of my pages are indexed in Google, but about 98% are supplemental (don’t come up when I use site/example.com/*). Most of my hits from Google are directly to the homepage which probably also has about 98% of the inbound links.
1.Most of these 98% indexed (supplemental) pages are product pages which will look different and have some new content, but the old product descriptions etc will still be used. What is the best solution? Use a 301 redirect (for about 400 pages), use a 410 gone, or just a 404?
One of my worries is that if Google can’t find the old pages and does not index my new pages quickly enough (if at all) then a lot of internal links to the homepage would “get lost”, possibly harming the ranking of the homepage.
2. Should I use a 301 redirect for those 2% that are in the regular index and deliver some traffic from Google? In most cases it would be a redirect to a page with the same title and description, but the content would actually be different (i.e. before a list of products with links to these products, now pages with links to different product (sub-) pages).
3. If I should use a 301 that leads me to another question: I had a number of pages like this: one page for widgets up to £100 and one for widgets over £100.
Should I now redirect BOTH to the same product page?
4. How important is it that I keep the link texts & alt tags to the homepage in my internal links? They were quite varied in my old site but this would now be difficult for me to achieve. Should I rather change them to something like “Home” or should I choose a keyword/phrase that will be used throughout the site? Could Google regard the latter as spamming and penalize my homepage?
Thanks very much!