About 2 months ago I was approached to do a migration from HubSpot to WordPress. I spoke with the prospective client’s agent several times over the course of a few days. During this process, I did a pretty thorough examination of the HubSpot site to be migrated, including creating a list of all the URLs in his site that would need to be transferred to WordPress. In the end, the client chose to go with a different provider to migrate their website.
Recently, I decided to follow up on this lost project. I typed in the url of his website and saw that the website was now on WordPress and no longer on HubSpot. Curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to investigate his site a little just to see how well of a migration this turned out to be.
I still had the list of URLs I created a while back, so I tried some of them out to see if the proper redirects were set in place. Much to my shock, I kept getting the dreaded 404 page for so many of the old URLs I entered.
And to make matters worse, every link this former prospective client posted to his blog on Twitter kept bring me the, “Oops! That page can’t be found” message. This is really, really not good. Broken backlinks are never a good thing
When migrating a website to WordPress, it is very important to ensure that the proper redirects are in place. 301 redirects make your visitors happy, keep search engines happy, and they maintain the value of any and all incoming links.
For example, let’s say you have a blog post with the url of something like http://yoursite.com/blog/bid/67283/my-super-blog-post. Over time, let’s also say 20 other websites link to that blog post. Those links help increase the ranking of that blog post associated with that URL.
If that blog post’s URL changes during a migration, and you don’t have the proper redirect in place, then all the value from those incoming links are gone. Those links are pointing to an address that doesn’t exist anymore. But with a 301 redirect in place, the value of those links are maintained, and all remains well and good in the world.
When a website receives a slew of 404 errors, especially to pages/posts that have incoming links, it hurts your website’s overall SEO. The search rankings for your content will drop, and so will the search traffic that came with them.
Your blog is a highly effective tool to improving your business. And if you migrate your blog from one platform to another, avoid the proverbial wooden stake to the heart by making sure every URL change is covered by proper 301 redirects.