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I am seeming slate.msn.com still taking priority over slate.com, even with the 301 redirect after months. Even new articles under slate.com is showing up as slate.msn.com. Example: If you Google "slate lacrosse editor" (without quotes), the article that should show up for slate's result is showing up under msn's domain.
Shouldn't 301-redirects have the effect of letting the search engines know "This page/site is no longer here, go to the new site, give me the rankings/link pop I currently have, and DROP THE OLD URL"?
Seems to me that this would be benefical for everyone in that the customer will find what they were searching for or at least something very similar and the website would serve up a useful page instead of just a 404.
Right or Wrong?
I've long been a supporter of solid site structure planning, and the quote from Tim Berners-Lee Cool URLs Don't Change [w3.org] comes to mind. Until just a few years ago, 301 redirects were not generally heard of -- they were esoteric server-geek stuff. Now it seems like everyone is jumping in and throwing them around like confetti. There's a reason that tech support at many web hosts doesn't know what you're talking about when you call up asking for a 301.
Yes, there are some real needs. Google's "canonical" confusion is one of them, IMO. A real need for a new domain name may be another. But a redirected url is something like a patched tire -- it's not really the healthiest situation and you want to avoid it if at all possible.
So I strongly advise NOT thinking of 301 as a major tool in the tool kit. They should be a rare and almost desperate measure.
So would it just be better in the long run to let the 404's come up for the pages that have been changed or been removed? Maybe have a custom 404 page in place, that actually returns the 404 status code, that will help the site vistor go back and find what they are searching for?
BTW, we do have the 301 in place to redirect non-www to www
I check and the pages were mostly indexed under non-www.
So following the popular advice I did a 301 redirect so that only the www versions could be accessed.
My reward has been that about a month ago all pages have disapeared from the index.
I now have only the home/main page in the index.
Moral. What SHOULD work does not work in all cases where Google is concerned. Be very carefull of 301's I think they killed my site off!
My approach is not a universal one by far. I am very cautious because of some third degree burns in the past. So do as you feel you must -- but I felt like I needed to share what is working rather well for me. My approach has been especially good for sites that do get regular spidering. The dip in income that always seems to follow a site re-organization gets minimized.
Wheras using 301s anywhere and everywhere feels like holding on too tight -- and then those slippery SERP results just squeeze right out of my hands.
Any ideas why?