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301 redirect used wrong, causing Dup penalty?

     
11:21 pm on Jan 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Ok, so I think I made another mistake... There are some pages indexed in G that no longer exist on my site, so when these pages were followed, my index.asp program would see the missing file, but mistakenly did a 301 redirect back to the main page. Could this cause Google to think all of these pages were the same as the main page, thus throwing my main page into duplicate content penalty, where I apparently am now? What would be the correct code to throw out... 404 Not Found or 410 Gone?
7:34 am on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Always test with a header checker. Recreate the results you had if they changed and test.

Best to test while you think there are issues in place otherwise it gets to remember the config and htaccess / asp code you had in place.

10:47 am on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

As I understand the 301 redirect it tells the Bot that this URL doesn’t exist anymore please go here and index this URL.

Now as long as it is indexing only one version of your homepage then you shouldn’t have a problem.

mysite.com/directory/oldpage.htm redirects to mysite.com

If you are being indexed with your homepage and your server default homepage then yes you might have problems,

mysite.com/directory/oldpage.htm redirects to mysite.com/index.htm instead of mysite.com

if you have two versions of the homepage in the index then there could be issues with which is the correct page.

A 404 or a 410 server response will also tell the Bots that the page no longer available I can only assume you are using the 301 so the value of the old page is passed onto the homepage.

As mentioned above you should always test your sever headers before applying any changes.

Vimes.

12:02 pm on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Could this cause Google to think all of these pages were the same as the main page, thus throwing my main page into duplicate content penalty

I'm not sure if 'penalty' is the right word, but yes, I think these would be seen as duplicates. I suggest all indexed URLs to non-existent pages return a 404.

8:18 pm on Jan 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Guys, I'm goona stick with a 404 just in case. I know Google is in serious flux right now, so no telling for sure if my "penalty" is a result of my 301's or just normal flux. BTW, I did test the pages and the redirect and 404's were/are working properly. My thought about the 301 was that you are trying to tell G that the page moved, well... all those pages moved and are the exact same as the home page? 404 seems more appropriate.
2:23 pm on Jan 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If one page moves and you use one 301 redirect to the new URL for that page then that is normal operation.

If suddenly many pages have moved and each one has a new counterpart, then that too is fine.

If many pages have moved, and you say they have all moved to one single new URL then that is not fine. I would return a custom 404 page in that case; the page containing basic site navigation clues to get the user on their way to the correct part of the site.

6:55 pm on Jan 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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g1smd,
If I had several pages as such

/widgets.html?page=1
/widgets.html?page=2
/widgets.html?page=3
etc...

and wanted to remove page=1, 2, 3, etc. from the index, and only stick with widgets.html

would a 301 redirect to *ANY* query string page whether it's page=1, page=2 , or?blahblahblah to widgets.html
be appropriate?

12:30 am on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Should: www.widgets.com/index.html 301 redirect to www.widgets.com/

Thanks for your help