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Several months ago, I migrated my domain from GoDaddy to Google Domains and now use Google Sites. Several broken links from the old GoDaddy webpage highly ranked on Google Search persist.

I would like to use a 301 redirect (.htaccess?) to do the following: www.website.example/old-content.html -> website.example

I've spent several hours on the phone with Google and pouring over support articles to no avail.

  • The subject here would seem to be "Google Sites", not "Google Domains", as mentioned in the title? Does Google Sites support the use of .htaccess? Does Google Sites even support the use of the domain apex? (AFAIK you need to use a subdomain and CNAME record to point to Google servers?) Are you using the "old" or "new" Google sites? – MrWhite Nov 26 '19 at 22:55
  • Google sites does not support .htaccess. It does not allow you to upload files. It only allows you to create and edit pages in its web GUI. It has very limited ability to add features to the site. You can't do arbitrary HTML or JS. It doesn't support many features for SEO. The only good thing about Google Sites is that it is free and easy to try. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 26 '19 at 23:51
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Redirecting pages to the home page won't help SEO. Google reports redirects to the home page as "soft 404" in Google Search Console and treats them the same as 404 errors. Reference: 301 Redirecting All Pages To Home Page Are Seen By Google As Soft 404s

You should instead redirect pages to the new URL where that content lives. If the content no longer exists, it is fine to leave the 404 status. You could also consider resurrecting the content to preserve your SEO.

Unfortunately, Google Sites won't work for this. You will need to migrate to a new host to be able to claim arbitrary URLs and redirect them.

  1. First problem: Google sites doesn't let you have .html. extensions on URLs. When creating a new page you can use the "Advanced" options to create a "Custom path" for the page. However, as soon as you put a . into the path, it says "Invalid path."

    enter image description here

  2. Second problem: The new Google Sites doesn't let you redirect pages. The old Google Sites had a "URL Redirector" gadget that you could add to a page. It used to be available under "Insert" > "More gadgets" > "URL Redirector". However, the "More gadgets" option is no longer available and the URL redirect widget is nowhere to be found.

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  • "add a "URL Redirector" gadget" - Does Google Sites ("old" or "new") still support this? – MrWhite Nov 26 '19 at 23:19
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    I did some research and updated this answer. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 26 '19 at 23:41
  • Thank you for the thorough answer! I certainly won't waste any more time trying to use google sites. – ubuntuquestions Nov 27 '19 at 22:30

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