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Overall better SEO and traffic not using old redirects

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Adam Howard, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    I'm not exactly sure if this is the right place to post it, but here we go....

    I need someone else to confirm this. Because I believe I have discovered something surprising. And if I had known this, I would have done things a lot differently on my own site.

    Google seems to favour sites that don't redirect traffic after an import... ie... It has become common practice for many people when they leave IP.Board or vBulletin to redirect their old links to the new XenForo links.

    And while this does improve the initial hit you receive any time you import into another community (using the redirects); it appears that both traffic and SEO holds better results not using redirection, even though you do at first take a larger initial hit.

    I'm wondering if anyone else can help confirm this or has this just be an odd and happy coincidence?! :barefoot:
  2. TheBigK

    TheBigK Well-Known Member

    @Adam Howard - everyone will have different experience with Google. We redirected and our traffic went down by 40% and never got back. Digitalpoint got traffic improved in the just a few days and so on.

    Unfortunately, you cannot trust anyone's advice and get expected results. You've to stick to the basics - keep creating great content and let Google do the rest. I've had my own ups and downs and I think I can speak on this chaos with some authority. I've spent months fixing and figuring out the Google Issues.
    Adam Howard and SneakyDave like this.
  3. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    I thought content was something for consideration as well, but the sites I'm talking about had nothing but 1 word post type threads and they faired very well compared to the site that had content and used the redirects. :confused:
  4. DRaver

    DRaver Active Member

    That makes no sense. You lose all the incoming links that do not go on your main page. Less links = less ranking.
    Adam Howard and SneakyDave like this.
  5. AzzidReign

    AzzidReign Well-Known Member

    Do you have graphs to support this? How big was the site? How much daily traffic before and after? etc. etc. We need stats. I can see this holding true for a start up site with very little traffic and threads to begin with.
    Adam Howard and SneakyDave like this.
  6. ehd

    ehd Active Member

    You lose ALL internal links from your old forum. Bad for any user.
    Adam Howard likes this.
  7. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    I agree and that is what I have always told other people. It's been my "bible" soft of speak when it comes to importing people, always including the re-directs.

    So I also agree that this is puzzling and makes no sense to me either.

    The sites in question were not my own, but a few sites who I helped import. I sort of made what I thought was a good argument for adding redirect links, but they insisted on me not adding them.

    They range anywhere between 10,000 member to 140,000 members (ranging from 150,000 post to about 1.5 million post).

    One of them is very content rich. You would think bloggers or editors had made this place home. And the other is just, random forum games & little chit chat.

    Yet for whatever reason their sites are defying everything I would know to be true... ie .... Keeping the redirect and having good content being key. As everyone else (including myself) seems that we can all agree on.

    The whole point of this thread really is only to know if anyone else can confirm this or is this just some random fluke of sorts.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  8. TheBigK

    TheBigK Well-Known Member

    If it was 2009, I'd have agreed to more links = more rankings. I think Google's evolved beyond that. Remember that they use about 200 signals to rank any page and though PageRank still updates; Google Search's current engineering team doesn't want to rely on back links. I'm *NOT* saying that back links aren't important; all I'm saying is that the overall importance of back links has gone down in the recent times. I may be totally wrong on this; but that's my conclusion based on my own research (spanning ~5 years) and following SEO industry fanatically.

    It's also true that you can't just guarantee that a content rich page would rank well in Google. I can show you live examples of how a content rich page, original, that adds value to user's overall experience ranks lower in searches than a paragraph that basically does nothing more than a few words about the topic. Remember that Google's all machines - and machines are just as smart as a drunk cockroach.

    It's possible that after the forums you're talking about may be seen as 'all new fresh content' by Google temporarily and ranking it well in search results. Or it'd be safe that those guys got really lucky. Losing out on all the back links in one go isn't a good thing for sure.

    In our case, losing out on all the links to our WordPress blog (by switching over to xenPorta) brought our PR from 5 to 4, but we haven't seen any negative trend in traffic.
    Adam Howard likes this.
  9. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    So in short, they either got really lucky or something about Google has changed and it's only been recently noticed?!

    I'd like to think they only were really lucky. Because for years now, I've always believed and it has always been recommended by everyone, that you want to keep your redirects. If that has somehow changed and it no longer matters... That does add a little bit of a "bump" into the mix of thing.
  10. TheBigK

    TheBigK Well-Known Member

    Make no mistake - keep the redirects. You never know whether Google will use them or not. I mean, if you can keep the redirects; keep them!
    Adam Howard and SneakyDave like this.
  11. MikeMpls

    MikeMpls Well-Known Member

    I have one fairly active site (nowhere near those in size) used primarily as a blog and which appears at or near the top of Google searches on its subjects (people, so typically 1-5 new threads on new miscreants daily). When I am actively updating the site, Google indexes new threads quickly. I'll typically start a thread with 3-5 posts on the subject, and it's not unusual for a thread to be in Google already by the time I'm finished.

    If I get distracted due to other priorities and slack off, Google loses interest in the site after a day or two of not finding any new materials. Once I start posting again, it takes a few days for Google's interest to renew. (I've learned to jumpstart that by always submitting new threads via Fetch as Google in Webmaster Tools. :) )

    What might have happened is that Google was actively interested in new material from your sites and just devoured all the "new" links it could find after the conversions. You might be de-indexed briefly at the start of the conversion but as long as Google is actively checking a site where it often finds new material, that won't last long. Google seems to check on the "what's new links" especially, so new content would be covered immediately, and then the newest threads in each forum as it works its way down the tree.

    If that's what's happening, you might check the Google Bot controls in Webmaster Tools & let it hit the sites as often as possible without degrading your servers to facilitate re-indexing.
    SelfSufficientMe likes this.
  12. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    I think the internal redirects are as...maybe more...important than the external ones!

    I guess this begs the question of whether someone should create a program that goes through and changes all the old (forum sw) links in XF to the new links????

    Would this be hard to do?
    snoopy5 likes this.
  13. snoopy5

    snoopy5 Well-Known Member

    I would be very interested in this!!!

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