I started a guitar lessons site over 10 years ago and it did well on Google search for several years. Good traffic, good AdSense revenue.
Then I ignored the site for several years. I recently redesigned the site, including making it HTTPS. I decided to do it from ground up since my philosophy on many aspects of guitar changed. I didn't want to copy content from old site.
So now my site has totally different link structure. It shares some organizational characteristics with old site:
- Broken down by hierarchy of categories -> lessons -> exercises
But, being a guitarist first, and web dev second, I rushed with new site launch and overlooked things that may hurt my Google search profoundly:
- I did not map any of the old site links to new site. Very little content will match. Category pages will match, but individual lesson and exercise pages don't have a correspondence on new site.
- I submitted new site through Google Webmaster Tools.
- I saw in Webmaster Tools Panel under crawl errors a bunch of 404 errors for old site links. I marked them as fixed. On new site, I just created a 404 for all pages that don't exist on new site, but I made it a custom page with a message, showing the home page of new site.
- I reconsidered my link structure on new site and changed it, AFTER submitting new site to Google. I know - stupid. Then I resubmitted via Google Webmaster Tools. I did submit sitemap of new structure though.
So now Google probably doesn't know what to think. It got a bunch of 404s on old links. Then all new links as of step 2 above also are now 404s. So maybe it has categorized my site as not worth touching...
Given these missteps, Should I map as many old links to new site as possible as 301 redirects? If so, how would I see the 404 errors from old site given I marked them as fixed in Webmaster Tools? And will it be OK if several old links have same 301 redirect?
Should I also redirect the links from new site as originally submitted (step 2 above) before I redid the new site link structure (step 4 above)?
My site really does have great content, but I am afraid I have made an unrecoverable error.