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We've recently built a site for a new client who has not inserted all the content that they had from their old site into their new one. Also a lot of content is dynamic with ID's not matching from the old site to the new one.

We have added dynamic redirects for most of the patterns we could find in pages that were 404ing, but there are still a lot of pages that had content, or just jumbled urls that we cannot match up with content pages on the new site.

Is it better to redirect these leftover pages to the homepage? Or leave them 404ing?

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If content is temporarily unavailable during the transition, then you should use a 307 (or 302, which is slightly more ambiguous) temporary redirect to a page indicating that the content will be coming back soon. I would not suggest redirecting to the homepage directly (though you might do a JavaScript or meta http-equiv redirect after a set number of seconds if you think that would be helpful to the user).

It is technically a 404, but if you know the content will be back, then it's best not to let those links appear dead (and become de-indexed/unbookmarked).

As a side note, it's best practice to use slugs instead of arbitrary IDs to create friendly URLs whenever possible.

  • I used regex to cut the slug out of pages that had it and redirect to our search page with the slug as the keywords – Rumpleteaser Nov 11 '12 at 22:01

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