Long memories of search engines

The importance of being redirected

This site has had a number of metamorphoses over the past few years. I have been dabbling in creating, maintaining and abandoning websites since the very late 1990s, and I have used a number of different domain names. While there may be no such thing as the Website, a Platonic ideal, it’s always possible to find places to improve on (or find faults), when website design is concerned. Anyway, for the moment, I cannot be bothered to make changes substantially to what I have now, since to change would mean to spend a lot of time and effort, and I have become somewhat lazier.

But I have digressed. Last month, this site moved to a new hosing company, after the old one became so unreliable and unhelpful, as well as expensive. The move has been great. Over the past few days, I have been implementing 301 permanent redirects from the now-defunct blog posts to their equivalents on this site. Even though I had attempted to this before, it didn’t quite work out while at the old hosting company. The blogs were hosted by Blogger, but as I have used custom domain names, the web pages have been indexed under the custom domain names, which meant pointing the domain to a server would enable me to create a .htaccess file to set up the necessary redirects.

These blog posts do not appear on search results at all, and in that sense, they are non-existent, yet I have been surprised to see how frequently the search engine bots are still crawling them. I am no SEO-expert, and I doubt whether it makes any difference, but perhaps redirects will help in establishing the pedigree of the web pages, therefore they have a positive effect on how search engines view the site. Search engines do seem to have long memories.

If the bots are still crawling after such a length of time, it reinforced the importance of setting up proper redirects. It is something that is recommended by many experts and reflected in the documentations provided by search engines such as 301 redirects — Webmaster Tools Help. Probably like many other people, I hate moving, but it’s vitally important to have things forwarded to the new address, whether that’s in the real world, or on the internet.