All you ever wanted to know about 301 redirects & content transfers
So, you’ve just purchased your first Real Estate Webmasters website. First of all, congratulations – you’re well on your way to increased organic traffic and more leads.
Secondly, you should consider how to handle your existing website.
Depending on your situation, your website may have been a part of your life and your business for years. You’ve diligently created content across many of the different community pages, as well as a number of helpful guides, FAQs and checklists to help out the clients in your market.
You’ve also consistently contributed to your blog – creating a variety of useful and timely posts about your local community and the state of the real estate market.
It would be a shame for all that fantastic content and your time (not to mention great domain authority) to go to waste. That’s where the content transfer comes in, a crucial first step in your journey towards success with Real Estate Webmasters.
When REW transfers your website content, we make sure to move all your on-page content (formatted as close to the original as we can), as well as any meta information, photos and videos. We’ll also be sure to implement 301 redirects from your main domain (if you're changing your root domain's URL) as well individual pages to your new website’s home (if you're keeping the same root domain, but the individual page URLs are different).
For example, if you had a Nanaimo community page on your old site ending in "/nanaimo.html" and a corresponding area page on the new site ending in "/nanaimo-real-estate.php", we'd put a redirect in place so users and search engine crawlers end up in the right place.
Why is it so important to transfer my content?
You may ask yourself - why couldn’t I start with a clean slate? Or, maybe you aren’t happy with the content that currently takes up residence on your website.
The simple answer is that a content transfer, paired with 301 redirects pointing users to your website’s new home, are the best ways to maintain any website domain authority your old site has accumulated. A large proportion of the signals that search engines, like Google, use when deciding who should rank highest in search results are tied to:
- The age of your domain.
- The number of high-quality links directed to your URL.
Both of these important ranking signals would be lost if you were to start fresh with a new site.
Can I just set up 301 redirects & Start Fresh with Content?
The short answer is that it’s not recommended.
When setting up a new website, it’s an SEO best practice to implement changes slowly, so as not to overwhelm or shock the search engine crawlers. If they detect too much change all at once, your search result may be deemed less relevant and ranked lower or removed altogether, negatively impacting the level of organic traffic coming to your site.
Instead, we recommend transferring your content to the new website template in as much the same form as possible. Then, wait a few weeks to allow your website traffic to settle and search engine crawlers to re-index the new template. This is when you can start to alter, improve or replace the existing content from your former website.
What is a 301 redirect?
The most important last step in the content transfer process, once all content has been transferred but before your new REW site has gone live, is the 301 redirect.
The 301 redirect is an internet directive that tells internet browsers and search engines that the page they’ve asked for has permanently moved. The user/search engine crawler will then be automatically redirected to the new page that you’ve designated.
With a properly implemented redirect, 100% of that page’s accumulated page authority will be transferred to the new page. This will help to ensure that you don’t lose any SEO momentum you’ve built up from your past website.
Starting off with a solid foundation
When we get you set up with a brand new REW website, we want to ensure you get started on as solid a foundation as possible. There’s no reason for you have to start from square one in terms of your SEO.
The REW platform is already highly optimized SEO, so this combined with your current website’s years of accumulated domain authority place you well for continued success and growth. By tactfully transferring your existing content, and ensuring that any domain authority flows from your old site to the new one, you can rest assured that you’ll be starting out on the right foot.