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I am considering moving some of my website pages to new paths, but I cannot do 301 redirects as I use Google Sites.

What's the best way to tell Google the pages have moved? I could:

  1. Request removals of the old pages and request indexing of the new pages?

  2. JUST submit the new pages and let the 404's naturally disappear from Google.

  3. Move my site to a www2 subdomain and 301 ALL links to the www2, then a month later 301 them ALL back to www.

Any suggestions are welcome. I'm considering not bothering with this if it is going to be too much hassle.

I am able to use a sitemap if this is a viable option.

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2 Answers 2

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Per https://developers.google.com/search/docs/crawling-indexing/301-redirects it appears you can create the equivalent of a 301 Redirect (permanent) redirect within the HTML by using the meta refresh - Add the following to the top of each page you wish to redirect:

<!doctype html>
<html>
  <head>
  <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=https://example.com/newlocation">

According to the link - which is an official Google page "Instant meta refresh redirect: Triggers as soon as the page is loaded in a browser. Google Search interprets instant meta refresh redirects as permanent redirects."

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  • Unfortunately I am unable to host HTML files on the domain where the website is. Dec 27, 2022 at 20:45
  • Still a great answer for others with a similar problem that might find this. Jan 6, 2023 at 20:02
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If you can't issue 301 redirects, I would not mess with your page paths at all.

If you change URLs, you should do redirects per page. There's no maximum number of redirects per site. Also, likely you're shooting yourself in the foot for a while for no visible gain. Change URLs for real reasons, not for handwavy "good for SEO" reasons.

- John Mueller, on Twitter

Number 1 - Would result in a loss of traffic

Number 2 - Would definitely work but result in a poor user experience because indexed pages would 404.

Number 3 - While unorthodox, it's a crafty idea. In theory would work but seems a bit sketchy to me. If you test this would love to hear how it goes.

However, if the pages in question don't rank, and they don't really get traffic, I would just do the thing. No harm no foul.


I wonder...

If I was in your shoes I might make a substantial update to the content and try listing the new urls as the canonical of the old pages in your sitemap. Then add internal links on the old pages to direct users to the new pages via something like "a new version of this page is available here".

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    I am in a situation where I need to change the URL's. I've followed Google's own advice and I've just changed the URL's and done nothing else. Apparently that's the only thing I have to do. "If you recently changed your site and now have some outdated URLs in the index, Google's crawlers will see this as we recrawl your URLs, and those pages will naturally drop out of our search results. There's no need to request an urgent update." Dec 27, 2022 at 21:17
  • That's correct. However, if a user clicks on an indexed url and you haven't redirected it, it will 404. Which is why I stated that #2 would work but cause; I suppose...potentially, a poor UX Dec 30, 2022 at 4:06
  • I haven't done anything in Search Console at all. I've just changed the URL's and left it. I'll give it half a year and see if it updates by itself. Dec 30, 2022 at 13:46
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    I'm not talking about Search Console. In your initial comment you seemed to doubt my answer. However, I told you that exactly what you did would work. If you don't care about existing urls 404ing that's fine. Dec 30, 2022 at 16:23

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