Testing the Longevity of 301 Redirects

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

When you do a site redesign 301 redirects are put in place from the old URL to the new one. However there’s always been differences of opinion on how long you need to keep the redirects in place. I’m going to test this with my site here and see what happens.

Since the early 2000s this has been a typical WordPress blog, albeit I haven’t done much writing here. Then around April 2019, according to the way back machine, I moved it from a blog to a 1 page website. Matt Southern from Search Engine Journal reported that according to Gary Illyes from Google, site owners are supposed to keep redirects in place for a year to help Google understand the changing site structure, and to pass link signals along between the old to the new URLs. The post also includes a link to a Google help page that also mentioned how to handle redirects to support site moves.

Well, in the interests of science, ok, it’s not that scientific, but bare with me, I decided to revert this site back from the 1 pager to the original blog. The way I managed it on the back end was to configure the site root to point to different directories on the server. I had one folder that contained the WordPress installation, and another that contained the 1 pager. All I did to revert the site, was to configure the webserver to point the root to the appropriate folder. I then updated the WordPress core files, plugins, and themes.

I’m now watching Google Search Console to see how it’s going. Unfortunately, when I decided to do this, Google is reporting a lost data issue in GSC, so it may take a little longer to determine how this site is being treated. I will revisit and edit this post with additional info as it becomes available.