I have a WordPress site that is doing well with SEO and but the theme is quite antiquated and will be completely overhauled with a new custom theme, updated plugins and new functionality. I am keeping the same domain of course.

Firstly, I need to know the most effective the workflow with respect to keeping good SEO kudos.

Once the new site has been finished, I would have thought it went something like this:

  1. Create sitemap for old site
  2. Create sitemap for new site
  3. Using 301 redirects, start matching up old pages with new destinations
  4. Resubmit to search engines for crawling

Assuming this basic workflow is correct, my next question is what is the best way to perform the redirects in Step 3? I am getting mixed results when I search for information as it can be done a myriad of ways. I seem to be coming to the conclusion that modifying the htaccess file is the best way. I am hoping I can come up with some sort of script to facilitate pointing hundreds of pages.

Lastly, I will need to repeat this process with 4 other sites in the near future.

Any feedback on how to do this painlessly as possible would be appreciated.

  • Hi, and welcome to WPSE. Your question must be directly related to WordPress. You might want to ask questions about SEO on webmasters.stackexchange.com instead. – Jack Johansson Apr 19 '17 at 1:23
  • Well, it covered both, so I took a punt. – Adsy Apr 19 '17 at 2:04
  • sorry about that – Adsy Apr 19 '17 at 2:04

If you are only changing the theme or plugins, then it shouldn't make a difference at all. I see no reason to create new posts and/or pages just because you are changing themes.

If you are doing a complete site overhaul, however (you don't specify), then yes, you should add 301 redirects to your .htaccess page.

The basic structure of a 301 redirect is:

Redirect 301 old_address new_address

Each redirect should go on its own line.

A 301 redirect means that the page has permanently moved (as opposed to a 302 redirect, which reflect a temporary move). This is generally considered to be a good procedure by search engines, and thus is the recommended way to handle changed URLs. Additionally, anyone who has bookmarked some pages in the past will automatically be redirected to the new pages without getting a 404 error.

FWIW, Google does recommend the use of 301 redirects.

  • Thanks Kenneth! It sounds like I'm on heading down the right path. I will have a look for a script to concatenate old urls and new urls next for the .htaccess file. – Adsy Apr 19 '17 at 0:38

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