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Hopefully just a quick one.

I've got a client that is changing the name of a workshop that they run. This means a change of url, page title for keywords that they have first page ranking on.

The keywords are still relevant so what I want to avoid is a 301 redirect to a page that has different keywords to the previous page.

Is the best option to keep the old page live with url and title and use a meta refresh to redirect after a period of time (not instant)? That way the SEO ranking is retained for the previous workshop name while they work on the ranking for the name change? Would a 301 redirect have an inverse effect?

Thanks!

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I'm pretty lost on what the problem is and what you want to achieve to be honest. If the "keywords are still relevant" why are they being removed from the page title? I don't follow why you can't just 301 redirect the old site to the new site (which will pass about 95% of weight through the redirect). –  zigojacko Apr 7 at 16:19
    
It's a bit of a new one to me. I guess the question is 'Is there a reason not to use a 301 redirect if it's not just a change of url?'. So, if you redirect and the content of the new page is different does that have an adverse effect with search engine ranking when they index the new page? –  user3507399 Apr 8 at 9:21
    
301's should always be implemented for pages that replace others (whether on the same domain or a different one). This tells a search engine that 'this is the new page for that content now' (whether different or otherwise). The only time a 301 should not be used is if the original page is damaged (hacked, penalised etc) or if the original page contains content that you don't want associated with the business any more. Every other scenario should be possible to 301 redirect. –  zigojacko Apr 8 at 11:15

2 Answers 2

You probably wouldn't achieve what you intent, because a meta refresh is understood by Google an treated as a redirect: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/79812?hl=en (at the bottom).

So, redirecting on the server side and my be (temporarily) including the old keywords, would be the better solution in your case.

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If you are changing the URL, you can copy all the page information that you want from one to the other, but to update crawlers, bookmarks and the like, you have to indicate a proper redirection.

A 301 redirection is not necessarily bad, is not just that some of the "juice" from the original is going to pass to the new one, but also the preferred way to indicate what you mention. At least as far as we can tell from your description.

Remember that ranking is achieved by many elements, not just one and although changing the URL means that you have to get the ranking for that new page, if it's related to the old one as a substitute, it's the best way to start the process.

Just be sure that you do all the other steps correctly, create a good page, use all the information and metainformation required, don't stuff keywords, have appropriate links, etc.

In the new page, you may have a little but descriptive text telling the users the reason for the change, at least for some time, that way your users will update any manual bookmark and will feel more confident with your site. Of course the redirection should be on for as long as needed, a month, a year, ...

Finally, you can talk with the client and explain the situation clearly so he can decide what to do with all the information. Don't present any scenario as worst, just present the facts.

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