Finding Missed URLs that need Redirects During Website Migrations
We are going to talk today about all of the ways you can find URLs with backlinks to your site that might need redirects during website migrations.
Hello! Thanks for listening to SEO tips today.
All week I’ve been living in spreadsheets over the past month- tracking down the links that were missed during the original round of redirect mapping for a client’s recent website migration. This client site has been migrated quite a few times over the years and has seen various domain changes as well.
Here are all of the places that I’ve discovered additional backlinks that need mapping:
Ahrefs backlink tools – particularly the best pages by links report. I also spent quite a bit of time looking at the HTTP version of the site to make sure that I’ve captured everything.
SEMRush – particularly the ability to go back in time.
Bing Webmaster Tools – it turns out that Bing never forgets your URL structure, and you can find that in their Site structure reporting.
In all of these reports, if I spot a new domain that looks like it would potentially be an earlier version of this site, I’ve put that new domain in the various SEO tools to see if those sites have backlinks (or are ranking for some reason).
I’ve also pulled URLs that are still ranking from the old domains in Google Search Console and Bing webmaster tools to troubleshoot any URLs that do not have active redirects or were missed.
And I’ve gone into Google Analytics for the old site and have pulled URLs that are still getting human traffic that need redirects.
And when I load the final result URL, I use the Chrome Redirect Path plugin to make sure that the redirects are true 301 redirects and not some other version. I’ve also eyeballed the page, and many tools will only execute the first redirect, which could be a 301 but at the next hop, the URL could resolve into a 404.
You want to make sure that your redirects are 301s and that they resolve to a page that is indexable, it’s not blocked by a meta noindex tag or a robots.txt directive. I quickly spot-check these types of issues with the SEO Minion Chrome plugin (my current favorite plugin).
Of course, you can do some of this checking in bulk with ScreamFrog, but sometimes you just need to look at what page is rendered to make sure that the final redirect makes sense.
So that’s your tip for today. Be a true investigator to map all of those redirects post-migration!
Thanks for listening. Come back tomorrow for another SEO tip.
Listen to the previous episode: Where should your sitemap and robots files be located?