Avoid Problems When Migrating a Site
If you have ever migrated a WordPress website from one server to another, there’s a chance that you checked your inbox a week or two later and found an email from the Search Console team warning you about an increase in 404 error pages. When you migrate a website it’s important to ensure that all of your old links still work. You don’t want a customer, or someone who has visited your site before, thinking your site has disappeared if they follow a link they used to use. The same principal can also damage your SEO, losing hard won equity for pages that are getting good organic search visibility.
Giving Google Directions to Avoid 404 Crawl Errors
So if you’re moving www.acmecorp.com to www.acme.com, match all the old URLs to the new website. So www.acmecorp.com/about-our-team would become www.acme.com/about-our-team, (not www.acme.com/about-us).
However, that isn’t always possible, and sometimes things are missed. This is where 404 crawl errors appear.
So how do you fix them when they appear?
- First, find the errors. They are listed in your website’s’ Search Console under Crawl, then Crawl Errors. Once there you will see a list of the broken links that you need to fix.
- After finding the broken links in Search Console, you need to create Redirect on your website. We recommend using the Redirection plugin. Once installed, open up the admin panel on your WordPress website and find the Tools menu on the left-hand side toolbar. Then pick the Redirection option.
- Then you need to determine where the broken URL should be going, and set up a redirect from the old URL to the new one. Once you have set up the redirect on your website you can confirm to Google that the link has been fixed in Search Console.
- If you have any remaining crawler errors (links that you don’t have a replacement link for) you need to remove those pages from Google so it no longer searches for them. To do this you will need to open up another tab from Search Console. Go to the Google Index section and select Remove URLs. Here you tell Google to stop letting people search for the URLs that no longer exist.
- Check that the broken URLs should be deleted. Look at the link and try and see where it should be going. If you decide you no longer need it, press the Temporarily Hide button on the Remove URL’s page. Then enter the URL you want to remove and hit continue.
- Rinse and repeat the above until you have no more crawler errors!
If you follow the above steps you should be able to clean out your 404 crawl errors in no time. When was the last time you check Search Console for your 404 crawl errors? If it’s been a while, it’s time for maintenance!
How can we help?
What do your links and content say about your site’s SEO? What does your data say in Search Console?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.