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When I do this I would like to limit the impact on search engine rankings.
As a result I have so far come up with 2 options:
1. Do a permanenet redirect all asp pages to the new matching php version.
i.e: page.asp?id=12 -> newpage.php?id=123
However, this could be a real pain for product pages as their id in the new database could be quite different (as shown above) and would require lookups to the old catalog data to achieve this.
2. Start again. Remove all asp pages completely, resulting in 404s and hope the search engines spider the new site structure nice and quickly!
However, I have noticed in Google that a number of pages exist in their SERPS, even though they have long been deleted. So would adding a new page (with the same content) result in a duplicate content penalty?
I say, do what one is SUPPOSED to do, and hold the SE's feet to the fire if they mess up. Second guessing them, and as a result using poor executional strategies, just because they sometimes get it wrong, seems to us the worst of all possible choices.
However, on one site I am doing there are so many duplicate pages in Google that its going to be near impossible to try and catch them all with perm redirects.
What I thought of doing instead was to move the whole site onto a new URL (widgets.com -> widgets.co.uk) and then just do a perm redirect on the home page of the old domain to the home page of the new page so that the PR and backlinks are carried across.
Do you see any problems in me doing this?
One thing to point out is that widgets.co.uk currently has a perm redirect to widgets.com.