I am thinking of creating 301 redirects for pages that are updated versions of existing pages, on the same site.

The old and new pages will have very similar content. But, I want better URLs and title tags, so I am creating new pages. I can't remove the old pages from the site (or edit them), or the sitemap, due to constraints on this platform.

GOALS: Get search engines to see the new pages instead of the old, get better SEO, not be penalized for duplicate content.


  • Current page: category/brand/product1234.html
  • New page: /model-brand-category-detail-product-12-34.html
  • Note that the new page has a better, more detailed URL, with a better model number that closer reflects the real model number. It is also closer to the root.

The new pages will not be in the sitemap. The old pages will stay in the sitemap.

QUESTIONS: Will it cause problems in this case to create 301 redirects for all the new pages? My concern is that if the old pages are still in the sitemap Google will penalize me.

  • I did this with over 180,000 pages over a year ago for similar reasons. The only change I would recommend is updating the pages in the sitemap if you can. There is nothing wrong with using directories for this though- in fact, they can help. Read this before you get too deep: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/74633/…
    – closetnoc
    Aug 25, 2015 at 22:44

2 Answers 2


You're probably right that search engines could have trouble identifying the right pages if the sitemap can't be edited, so only the old URLs will be listed there, not the new ones.

If you can add new pages & create redirects, then this might be your best solution:

  1. Create your new pages
  2. Redirect (301) to them from the old URLs
  3. Create a new sitemap with the correct/new URLs listed
  4. Redirect (301) to the new sitemap from the old sitemap URL
  5. Submit the new sitemap URL to Webmaster Tools

This way search engines won't be constantly told to crawl old URLs.

  • I can't edit or remove the sitemaps. All I can do is create new pages and add redirects. Is it a lost cause? Aug 26, 2015 at 13:55
  • That's why I suggested adding a new sitemap and redirecting to that. Aug 26, 2015 at 13:59
  • I would have to frequently merge the auto-generated sitemaps into the new one. Each time removing the pages that I don't want to be indexed since they are auto-populated into the site maps daily. And, products come and go, so the site maps change often. Not impossible - just difficult. Aug 26, 2015 at 15:24

You're thinking right.

Use 301 redirects from the old pages to the new pages. I'd recommend advertising only the new URLs in your sitemap that point to actual webpages with content people can see. It is not necessary to advertise the old URLs since Google automatically follows redirects.

Eventually, Google will only index the new URLs and remove the old URLs from the index since a redirect does not count as a real webpage.

The less redirects that a web browser is required to process to get to a webpage, the better.

  • The point of the question seems that the sitemap can't be edited, so only the old URLs will be listed there, not the new ones. Aug 26, 2015 at 9:19

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