We all miss things from time to time and sometimes what we miss are people getting lost on our websites!
Bad for business 🙂
My Favorite Redirection Plugin tool for WordPress
Do you have Redirection (free plugin from WP repository) or something similar installed on your WordPress site to track 404 errors?
404 Errors are basically the error served up to a visitor when they try to visit a link that does not exist.
As an example, a while back I merged a 30 episode podcast into this site. I was in a hurry. The podcast at the time received a small amount of traffic. It was not viable on a stand-alone basis.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the SEO bank, 2-3 years later Google is sending people to my category links from this old podcast.
Win!!! Excellent!!! Something that got a small amount of traffic on a site that didn’t carry its own weight is now bringing people here to find useful information.
When they get there, I withheld the content and instead showed them an error page.
No winning for losing there! 🙁
I got busy way back when working on client sites and didn’t establish the category redirects using regex on my own site and incoming traffic.
Tip-Off From Spammy Comment
Years ago a friend of mine, who has since passed away, entered a writing contest. I wrote a quick article to showcase the contest and his work here. That was back in 2008. Today I received a comment on that old article from a spammer.
The contest is long over, my friend has passed away and there is no context or anything in that old article left today. It was just a ‘hey go check out the cool thing that Andrew is doing’ sort of post. Back then, many of my readers new Andrew.
Today, I decided to remove that old article. I miss Andrew, but it was time to move on. I deleted the article.
Then I went into redirection and redirected all incoming traffic from it to my home page. (could have sent it to my blog if I chose.) #judgmentcall
While I was there, I clicked on my 404 logs. I quickly scanned through the errors visitors had received and noticed a trend.
There were several that started with /category/zetamining/….. then something else. ZetaMining was the name of the podcast. The podcast no longer exists, but the youtube channel and videos are still on the internet and probably will be forever.
Thing is, I was winning goodwill and visits from people doing google and maybe youtube searches and then sending them to an error page.
So I went in and created a Regex 301 Redirect. I found a quick refresher tutorial on this. I have done lots and lots of complex projects with Regex in the past working at complicated combos for tens of thousands of links. This morning without caffeine I could remember a simple string. 🙂
That’s what Google is for! My google search on Regex Tutorial turned up https://www.doitwithwp.com/regex-beginners-tips-redirecting-traffic/
That was perfect and just what I needed.
I went through a few different levels of super simple 301 regex redirects and now I’ll be able to better serve those people and get them to the actual articles they are looking for.
Here are some examples.