Testing of Redirects Is Crucial Before Making Website Updates or During Site Migration

While doing a website migration, you must use proper redirect codes, in order to retain the SEO value of existing pages.  After the website migration process, you must test all the redirects that you have used. It is because the risk associated with faulty redirects can adversely impact your web pages.

Testing of redirects on the staging phase will allow you to get an idea of their working status. If you skip the testing of redirects post the migration process, there are possibilities of going live with improper redirects, and that can trigger irreparable damage to your website rankings. 

What to consider while creating redirect mapping?

WordPress redirect mapping needs to comprise of every old URL, which does not exist after a website migration. Nevertheless, for an eCommerce or huge WP website, it is not possible to create redirect mapping for every old URL. Therefore you must use these redirects only on the crucial URLs, including the ones with –

  • Clicks and impressions
  • Landing pages associated with organic traffic search
  • Great rankings
  • Backlinks 

You will need to create an old URL list, so that special priority is given to the important pages. You can also use redirect to send users to a coming soon page for WordPress. There are many ways to make those temporary pages appealing and interesting to the visitors. However, you must make sure that the users do not reach the horrible 404 errors, or redirect to wrong targets.

The important thing about using redirects is that you will need to be totally focused during the website migration process. It will help you avoid creation of redirect chains and loops. These issues occur when one URL redirects to another, and then to a third URL, forming a chain. 

Such chains must be avoided, because search engine crawlers get frustrated, as they have to crawl across all the redirects. It is a waste of valuable time for the users as well. Moreover, it impacts your page load time. 

How to avoid the formation of redirect chains?

It is crucial to avoid redirect chains from happening, as it can damage your SEO and user experience efforts. Below are some things to remember when you research carefully.

  • If your system allows, you must define all the existing URLs, including the protocol and full domain, and list them against the new URL addresses as redirect targets.
  • Redirect rules need to be applied to every variant [http or https, trailing slash or no trailing slash, www or non-www, etc.] of the old webpage, so that each version gets redirected to defined redirect target directly.
  • Update your inherited redirects
  • Break existing redirect chains by redirecting every single chain-link directly to last chain link [final redirect target page]

After completing the redirect mapping correctly, you can do the migration tasks without any concerns of creating redirect chains. Now it is time to test your redirects on a staging environment. 

If errors are found, repair them, and have the list crawled again, until things work as expected. Test redirects again as soon as your website migration goes live. Created redirect targets must to be crawled and monitored by the search engines. 

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