I'm replacing my old HTML site with Wordpress. Should I redirect old pages to preserve Google PR?

9 replies
  • SEO
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My old HTML site was built with XsitePro and the new site that will replace it will be built with Wordpress. I want to preserve the Google PR that my old HTML site has but since Wordpress/PHP sites don't use the .html extension then I'm thinking that I should redirect the old HTML pages to the new Wordpress site.

I have 4 questions please...

1) Should the redirect take place at the new Wordpress site using a redirect plugin or should the redirect take place at the old HTML site?

2) Should I redirect every page on the old HTML site to the new Wordpress site - including those pages with no PR like the old Contact, Privacy, FTC Notice pages?

3) Should I delete the old HTML site after I'm done building the new site with Wordpress?

4) If I should NOT delete the old HTML site, will Google penalize me for the duplicate content that exists on the old HTML site?

Thank you very much.


P.S. Sorry to double post but I initially asked this in the website design category and then someone recommended that I ask my questions here in SEO instead.
#google #html #pages #preserve #redirect #replacing #site #wordpress
  • Profile picture of the author Cleaner44
    I have been using this plugin to redirect the old pages and am very happy with it:
    https://wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/

    I set the old urls to the new replacement pages to maintain continuity.

    I don't know that you need to delete the old files because they can't be seen without a domain attached that I know of.
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  • Profile picture of the author ashishthakkar
    Use /%postname%.html as permalink.
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    • Profile picture of the author magentawave
      The reason I want to use Wordpress is because I want to completely change the look and feel of the site in a way that I don't know how to do with my html editor. I also want to take advantage of some of the functionality offered with php.

      Just to clarify, please tell me if this is correct...


      1) Go to Permalink Settings and click Custom Structure.

      2) Change the current /%postname%/ to: /%postname%.html

      3) Create all new pages in Wordpress using the exact same file names that I used with the old html site.

      4) Delete the old html site from my server.


      Questions please...

      a) Please tell me if all the previous steps shown above are correct.

      b) Am I correct to assume that using /%postname%.html will mean that every page on the new Wordpress site will have the html extension at the end of the file name?

      c) I normally select Post Name for my Permalinks. Will I lose any of the Wordpress functionality and search engine friendliness by using /%postname%.html instead of Post Name? Any downsides to using /%postname%.html?

      d) Since I'll be duplicating the file names from the old html site, do I even need to bother redirecting the old html pages to the new WP pages? If so, why?

      Thank you!


      Originally Posted by ashishthakkar View Post

      Use /%postname%.html as permalink.
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      • Profile picture of the author SEO-Dave
        Originally Posted by magentawave View Post

        The reason I want to use Wordpress is because I want to completely change the look and feel of the site in a way that I don't know how to do with my html editor. I also want to take advantage of some of the functionality offered with php.

        Just to clarify, please tell me if this is correct...


        1) Go to Permalink Settings and click Custom Structure.

        2) Change the current /%postname%/ to: /%postname%.html

        3) Create all new pages in Wordpress using the exact same file names that I used with the old html site.

        4) Delete the old html site from my server.


        Questions please...

        a) Please tell me if all the previous steps shown above are correct.

        b) Am I correct to assume that using /%postname%.html will mean that every page on the new Wordpress site will have the html extension at the end of the file name?

        c) I normally select Post Name for my Permalinks. Will I lose any of the Wordpress functionality and search engine friendliness by using /%postname%.html instead of Post Name? Any downsides to using /%postname%.html?

        d) Since I'll be duplicating the file names from the old html site, do I even need to bother redirecting the old html pages to the new WP pages? If so, why?

        Thank you!
        1-4 Yes, you understand how to do this correctly.

        Any URLs that have been replicated don't need a 301 redirect (they exist via WordPress), think about it, you'd be redirecting /webpage.html to /webpage.html which would cause a redirect loop since it's the same page! The reason for replicating the .html is so you don't need 301 redirects and so won't waste PR.

        Every WordPress POST will end in .html, the permalink structure only affects posts not static pages (pages are generally used for contact and about pages), categories, tags... So if you want some of the old webpages as static Pages they will have the format example.com/webpage and will need a 301 redirect from /webpage.html to /webpage

        There's no major issues with using the .html permalink structure, used to use it myself. On new sites I use the standard format without the .html (looks cleaner), no major SEO difference: slight minor one having the word HTML in the URL (words in URLs are a ranking factor, a small one), but compared to loosing 15% of your PR which could cause significant traffic loss it's an easy decision.

        David
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        • Profile picture of the author magentawave
          Thanks again for your help. I really appreciate this.

          The only place I will continue to create posts is on the self-hosted WP blog thats been attached to the old html site for about 6 years. That means that every URL I'll be duplicating from the old html site will be a static Page on the new WP site.

          So to make sure I do this right...

          A) Since there will only be static Pages on the new site, then that means that I should select Post Name instead of Custom Structure in the Permalink Settings, and then redirect all the old html pages to the new WP site as static Pages. Correct?

          B) Again, since all the new pages will be static Pages, should I use a WP redirect plugin at the new WP site, or should I do the redirects at the old html site? (I built the old html site with the now orphaned XsitePro and XsitePro has a built-in redirect function.)

          C) If I should do the redirects at the old html site, does that mean that I should never delete the old site from my server? I'm asking because wouldn't deleting the old site also delete the redirects from the old html site to the new WP site?

          D) The old home page is a static page and the new home page will be a static page. Should I deal with the redirect the same way for the home page? I'm asking because my home page is currently appears in my browser as example.com and NOT example.com.index.

          Thanks again!



          Originally Posted by SEO-Dave View Post


          Every WordPress POST will end in .html, the permalink structure only affects posts not static pages (pages are generally used for contact and about pages), categories, tags... So if you want some of the old webpages as static Pages they will have the format example.com/webpage and will need a 301 redirect from /webpage.html to /webpage

          David
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  • Profile picture of the author BenJackson
    Delete the old stuff, there's no need for it. Definitely redirect the old pages otherwise you'll lose your link juice and visitors going to those pages will hit 404 errors.

    WordPress actually might do this automatically for you, but if not, add the following to your .htaccess file:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteRule ^([^\.]+)$ $1.html [NC,L]

    ^ That will redirect all urls ending in 'html' to non-html versions

    Also, there may be an option in the WordPress SEO plugin, so that's worth checking out too.
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    • Profile picture of the author paulgl
      The best solution is to leave everything where it is, and forget about
      wordpress.

      If you won't forget about wordpress, then at least leave everything where it
      is, and still install wordpress.

      If you are starting over to be really starting over, then it makes little
      difference if you junk the old site. Duplicate content is a nonissue.

      Going to WP is a step backwards, as I always say. You are really
      going to gunk things up if you were happy with some, if not all things.

      Why people want to do this is beyond me.

      So many, many better CMS programs around, it boggles my mind how
      WP just keeps people from going to he next level of knowing the ins
      and outs of a website.

      Paul
      Signature

      If you were disappointed in your results today, lower your standards tomorrow.

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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Redirect each individual webpage to the new matching URL, once the new URLs start showing up in Google SERPs then remove the old HTML pages from the host. There's no duplicate content since the 301 redirect to the new page/URL loads in the http header.

    Make sure all your old internal links stay intact on the new pages.
    Signature
    Hi
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO-Dave
    Before changing URLs and 301 redirecting (which is the correct advice others have given when moving URLs) consider it costs ~15% of the pages PageRank you are redirecting from.

    If you redirect /myoldpage.html to /myoldpage it will cost 15% of the PageRank which could have a negative impact on SERPs.

    For the above reason try to mimic the old structure as much as possible possibly using the permalink structure ashishthakkar suggested so you don't need to 301 redirect every webpage. If most of your webpages are of the format:

    example.com/anarticle.html
    example.com/anotherarticle.html

    That's easy to replicate in WordPress.

    If you install WordPress in the root of the site and set the permalink structure to

    /%postname%.html

    You won't even have to delete the old HTML pages, WordPress adds some redirect code in the .htaccess file that when the /%postname%.html permalink format is used WordPress's post will take priority (pretty sure it does anyway, been a while since testing it :-)).

    David
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