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Need to redirect pages from old site to new site. Is "NO FOLLOW" needed for old site pages?

Posted on 2014-11-21
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Last Modified: 2014-11-21
Hello!
I've built a festival website that has a different theme each year. There's a main domain: festival.com and each year is on a subdomain: 2015.festival.com. This is the first time we are using the subdomains so the main domain has all of the festival content on it from last year. We will be reusing many of those pages on the new site.

What I've done so far is a 302 (temporary redirect) to subdomain. I do notice that the old site pages are still showing up in Google, so we've got a popup directing folks to the new site. I'm assuming that if I create pages on the subdomain with exact same URL's as main site, then those pages on the subdomain will start showing up on Google. Is this correct?

In addition to this, do I need to add "NO INDEX" to the main domain pages so that the subdomain pages can take precedence in Google?

This is all a bit hazy for me. So thanks for any help!
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Question by:Alicia St Rose
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Gary earned 500 total points
ID: 40457821
Use a 301 on the old pages to the new pages then Google will eventually follow and index them

Don't use NO INDEX or NO FOLLOW, else you are telling Google to ignore them.
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by:Alicia St Rose
ID: 40457981
Okay,
I'm wrapping my head around this. And I understand now why NO INDEX or NO FOLLOW won't do. Thanks.

So I give the pages a 301, permanent,  and direct to 2015.festival.com. So the next year will I have to do the same on the 2015.festival.com to redirect to 2016.festival.com?

Thank you for you help. This is scary stuff. The site has alot of link juice!
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by:Gary
ID: 40458020
Exactly ;o)
Doing a 301 redirect will keep nearly all the link juice
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40458733
I wouldn't use 301s here, even though it is the technically correct solution.  The problem is that if you keep using 301s to redirect from past events to current, Google may eventually decide that you've got too many 301s happening and flag you for black hat practices (I do speak from experience).

It would be better for both you and Google to modify the old site so that there are prominent links and announcements about the current festival and let users navigate from there.  If you are reusing pages from one year to the next, rel=canonical would be my preferred method of avoiding duplicate content penalties and keeping a sane number of 301s would be okay at that point.
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by:Gary
ID: 40458745
Ermmm - did a quick check on what Matt Cutt's says and I (we) disagree
This is a once a year event

got too many 301s happening
only really relevant where one redirect leads to another redirect - depending on the site indexing speed all the redirects should be done within a week a two. And that is it til the next year.
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40458794
But if the chain continues?

2014 to 2015

Then

2014 to 2016
2015 to 2016

Then

2014 to 2017
2015 to 2017
2016 to 2017

It starts to look bad to the Google.  Again, speaking from personal experience, your mileage may vary
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by:Gary
ID: 40458795
Yeah but it's a year apart, would be a bit different if it was every week or month.
Many sites change from year to year - look at MS, constantly changing their structure
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40458797
Actually, I do everything in my power to not look at MS :)

I'm happy to be wrong in this situation...
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by:Gary
ID: 40458807
Tried doing some research on it and came up empty handed on best practices and I cannot see a problem with a yearly 301 but...

Maybe it would be better to use a sub folder for each year, and if someone is viewing content for the previous year/s have a bit ol' button saying click here for this years events.
This way you can keep old data, if it's relevant at all???
Also it retains more SEO juice from the main domain - remember sub domains are seen as seperate domains
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by:Alicia St Rose
ID: 40458811
Okay,
You guys are making me nervous!
;)

What if I continue to just redirect the main domain to each new subdomain each year. There is actually an archive on the main site of past festivals where we link to the old sites.

And having those archives, is that some crazy duplicate content infraction as far as Google is concerned?
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by:Alicia St Rose
ID: 40458816
Hi Gary,
We are keeping each year in a subfolder.
What we've done in the past is simply move the WordPress database and wp-content to a subdomain and then rebuild the main site again. We quickly realized that folks who'd linked to the site now would have 404's. So starting this year we are redirecting. But we still have all old sites archived in subdomains.

So does that make it better?
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40458819
To be perfectly honest, I think we are splitting hairs here and Gary's initial answer is the best one.  

When I do this, I tend to create festival2015.com, festival2016.com because I know my population and that's how they search: "festival year"

So searching for "festival" gets my main domain as first result (I have a fairly unique name) and "festival year" gets the microsite for that year and I don't do any 301s anywhere.  Disclaimer: I work in a very niche industry and have almost zero competition for keywords so it's easy for me to rank on relevant terms.  Again, other people may have a harder time of it.
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by:Gary
ID: 40458823
I still say the 301 is the better solution as far as redirecting links is concerned where Google et al is concerned.

The best solution is have the relevant links from the main domain that have no "year" denominator so even if someone finds an "old" link they are actually are seeing the current years page.
i.e. Once the previous year becomes archived and the new year takes effect then the previous year is moved to the sub folder and the current year content takes control over the page content.
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by:Gary
ID: 40458829
Jason brings up a good point there, and something I have seen been done in these scenario's
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40458833
Like I said, I don't think you can go wrong in the short run with Gary's advice and I'm partly spitballing because I find Google endlessly entertaining and partly playing devils advocate.
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by:Gary
ID: 40458846
Look at http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/  -  I'm guessing here but I think it's the most popular festival in the world ever! ::snigger::

Same website every year but they just update the content.
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by:Alicia St Rose
ID: 40458913
LOL!
We can't wipe out our content each year. We have over 300 participants (Musicians, speakers, performers, healers) and each one has a profile page that they can link to or share (The site becomes an SEO juggernaut!) We want those links to stay active. For some of those folks that's the only big exposure they'll ever get and we don't want them getting a 404 when someone clicks on the link from their lowly website.

Maybe we could have put the participant archives on a subdomain, but we're getting into multiple Wordpress installs for one site. Or maybe we could have used WP Multisite. At any rate. I think you win this one, Gary!

I'm givin' you da points my man!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Alicia St Rose
ID: 40458914
Thank you, again. You make EE worth the 19.95!
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by:Gary
ID: 40458937
The fesitval content may change but the "sub links" don't have to, or at a guess in your situ you would have sub folders for the artists etc.
And you can still keep an archive of the previous years.
As with anything Google orientated - fresh new content is always richly rewarded
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