I recently received a message and had this conversation with a fellow freelancer. I have rearranged a bit of the conversation for better continuity and added a few details for clarification. I thought I’d write out a post with the information because first, it is valuable need to know information for anyone who has a website and second because this is a great example of the type of questions and assistance I provide to freelancers every day.
Hi Kerry, I hope all is well with you. Not sure if you remember me; you were helping me understand the import buddy and moving of sites. I built the test site and finally this past Sunday night I did a migrate after waiting on the boss to give me all the content. All went well I’m happy to say. I thought I’d let you know since you were so awesome in giving me the low-down on how this all worked.
I do have a problem/question about redirecting the old URLs – not sure if you are receptive to providing any input? I don’t’ think it’s a simple as using a redirect plugin. I tried that but it’s only redirecting the home page correctly not the contact page, services page etc. I’m wondering if it’s because these old pages were never on a Word press install, to begin with. If you are not able to give me your thoughts – no problem; I just thought I’d run it by you. Thanks.
Hi! Yes, I remember you. Good to hear the move went well. I think I need to chat with you so as to not lead you in the wrong direction. I need to better understand what the original link’s path was and what the new site is?
OK, yeah, that’s all I need. OK, so you can add Redirection. (it is free). You will have to manually redirect all of the old URLS to the new ones. The best thing to do is go to Google and search Site:domain.com to gather all the old links that are already indexed. You can place them into a spreadsheet for tracking.
Then add that Redirection Plugin. Once activated it will be in Wp-admin > Tools > Redirection
When you open Redirection, take each old URL and place it in the Source field. Then place the new URL in the Target field and SAVE. You won’t need to adjust any of the other Redirection settings for this particular process. Use the spreadsheet to track which ones you have added to ensure you get them all.
Once time goes by, the old links will fall out of being indexed by Google and the new ones will be in the index. Also, submitting a new sitemap to Google will decrease the time it takes to get the new links get indexed. Once the old links are no longer indexed, then you could remove that Redirection entry.
Thanks, Kerry; I did use the free Redirection Plugin and I have put the entries in as you wrote – thanks for the re-enforcement of knowing this is what was required. So I can explain that to the boss with certainty now. Is submitting a sitemap a big deal – never did that. I will read up on it; I was just wondering if it’s a big task.
No, I do not.
Submitting a sitemap is integral to getting the new site and all the URLs indexed. XML sitemaps provide a roadmap for search engines to explore and index website content. In larger sites, these guides will distribute content into groups which allow search engines to better understand the nature of the content.
If you choose not to install and SEO plugin but still wish to add a sitemap, then the best plugin for the sitemap is Google XML Sitemaps. You can simply add that plugin and then go through the settings (default is good enough) and then submit the sitemap. Be sure to add all the redirections before submitting your sitemap.
Search Engine Optimization
I ask about the SEO plugins because plugins like Yoast and AIO often automatically update the XML sitemap with your content additions, deletions, or updates.
Just as sitemaps are important for being a roadmap, SEO is important because it assists the bots in organizing the content they find. I would add some sort of SEO Plugin with, at least, the basic configuration. AIO Pack is the most popular (and good) SEO plugin and is a bit more simplistic than Yoast – both require a basic settings area to be set up. I do like Yoast for robust SEO implementation. There are tutorials out there for learning how to configure the plugins appropriately.
Both Yoast and AIO also have options available for creating and sending sitemaps in their settings options. I can’t recall if that is part of the paid versions of those two plugins or if it is included in the free versions.
As far as basic SEO settings, you would not need any paid versions but here are some links to the “pro versions” if you think that at some point the website owner will want to increase the visibility of their site and invest in Search Engine Optimization (recommended).
All-In-One SEO (affiliate link)
Terrific; thank you so much, Kerry!
And you are welcome – very welcome
Your time is appreciated! This information made my day – you rock and as I said before I will be recommending your services in the future. Enjoy the rest of your day.
In closing, this is but one of many typical conversations in my day. If you, or someone you know, would like online business strategy planning, technical knowledge, information, or would simply like to network with me, I would be happy to connect. Please feel free to let me know how I may help YOU!