Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.209.80.87

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Broken links from old domain redirected to new domain

     
5:03 pm on Aug 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 8, 2019
posts: 93
votes: 2


An ecom client redirected their old domain to a new one.

Looks like they created a copy of all pages on their new domain, and then redirected each old page to its new copy.

Problem is, they don't stock all the same products on their new site, so many of the old product pages are redirected to 404 page on the new site.

So they have hundreds of broken links from their old domain.

Should I disavow these links? Leave them be?

Thanks!
5:53 pm on Aug 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member redbar is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Oct 14, 2013
posts:3327
votes: 546


Do you have access to the old domain or is it simply on a url forward to the new site thus generating the 404s for the non-existent products now?
5:59 pm on Aug 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:15869
votes: 869


It isn't clear from your post what your relationship is to the site, and where the links fit in. If the pages don't exist, what is there to disavow?

If your post had ended with the sentence about 404 pages, I would have recommended serving a 410 at the original site. This will also let search engines concentrate their crawl budget on pages that actually exist and not bother following red-herring redirects.

Here's a timely comparison: Back at the end of 2013, I moved 6/8 of my site to a new domain, and redirected all affected URLs. Over the years, as I continued tweaking the new domain, I always updated redirects in both places, so requests for example.old/old-url would be sent straight to example.new/new-url instead of a two-step process involving example.new/old-url. And then, finally, this past June--this is now five and a half years after redirection began--I said: ### it. There are no human links or bookmarks after all this time; it's just search engines picking up redirects. So I replaced all of them with a single comprehensive 410 (which, incidentally, resulted in the old site's htaccess being reduced to 1/3 its former size). Now, a month and a half later, requests for moved directories have fallen away to almost zero. Gosh, it feels satisfying.
8:35 pm on Aug 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 8, 2019
posts: 93
votes: 2


@Redbar

We no longer have access to edit the old site. I believe it was a "url forward" to the new site.

@Lucy24

How can I set the old URLs to 410 if I have no access to edit the old site? Or did you mean set the new pages that are 404ing to 410? I only have access to the new pages. We went from Magento to Shopify.

In Ahrefs, we have hundreds of broken links from the old domain showing up, all of them pointing toward 404 pages.

Do you think this will just resolve when Google crawls and finds the pages 404d?
9:22 pm on Aug 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

Administrator

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 10, 2004
posts:11842
votes: 242


We no longer have access to edit the old site. I believe it was a "url forward" to the new site.

do you still own the legacy domain?

How can I set the old URLs to 410 if I have no access to edit the old site?

if you still own the domain, point it to a lightweight server that sends only 301 and 4xx responses.
12:10 am on Aug 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:10457
votes: 1091


Sounds like access to half of the problem, unfortunately the wrong half.

Old site is gone, right?

If so all those hits are coming from bots and bad serps.

404 is perfectly valid if page is not found. 410 also works ... for bots. HOWEVER, it is unlikely any humans have been damaged/confused so I would not lose a lot of sleep.

I understand why SEs keep trying old links ... but at some point (like 5+ years later) you'd think they'd get it!

Spot check the ips getting 404s ... I will bet the majority are search engines/bots---and they don't count in the real world of serving the user.

Let 404 do what it is supposed to do.
4:44 am on Aug 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 13, 2002
posts:14935
votes: 494


There is nothing wrong with a 404. It just means that the page is gone. Google doesn't care.

Just make sure to set up a custom 404 that will suggest a way for the user to navigate or search for a better product.
3:08 pm on Aug 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 8, 2019
posts: 93
votes: 2


@phranque I believe the client still owns the domain :) I will see, although it appears based on other responses that the 404s are not a big problem.

@tangor @martinibuster

Thanks you two! I figured the links from old domain to a 404 would not be problematic since Gary Ilyes said Google ignores links to 404s. Just wanted to make sure since there so many broken links that look like this.
4:51 pm on Aug 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:15869
votes: 869


Tangential query: If it is found that many of a site's links lead to 404s, will this eventually make the linking site look bad and cause its links-in-general to carry less weight?
7:13 pm on Aug 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:10457
votes: 1091


Everything depends on numbers. That said, site owners should inspect their out links from time to time and clean up anything that goes 404/410. Even so, the link itself (as a 404) should carry ZERO weight against the site MAKING the link.

Interesting question.
9:58 am on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User from IN 

joined:Aug 22, 2019
posts: 7
votes: 0


I request you to delete the 404 pages in the old domain & keep redirection to the contact us page of (old domain only).

Truly speaking broken links affect your ranking factors. So, I request you to fix all the broken links, update your robots.txt file and at last submit the sitemap.
11:07 am on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 12, 2004
posts: 660
votes: 14


301s to 404s are not broken links. You can leave it as is. Most of the websites mass-redirect without checking the destination page and it's mostly OK.

But, unlike 404s, Google will keep checking 301s frequently, and each 301 response will result with a request from your new domain with 404 response.

The best possible solution, if possible, is to run redirects through a script, which checks the database for the product and redirect to the new domain if it exists, or respond with 404 from the old domain if it does not exist. This will also save your crawl budget.
4:19 pm on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:15869
votes: 869


or respond with 404 from the old domain if it does not exist
As long as you're returning the 404 manually, may as well make it a 410. It won't make a big difference in the larger scheme of things, but it will make the googlebot stop crawling even faster.
6:34 pm on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 13, 2002
posts:14935
votes: 494


It won't make a big difference in the larger scheme of things, but it will make the googlebot stop crawling even faster.


True. 410 stops the crawling faster. But also, a 410 and a 404 are otherwise treated the same. So if Google has extra room in its crawl budget Google will restart crawling the old URLs to check if they are still there.

The crawling will continue if there are links to those non-existent pages, regardless if a 410 or 404 is shown.