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I am in the process of transferring a Wordpress.com site to Wordpress.org.

The old site domain: https://oldsite.wordpress.com.
The new site domain: https://newsite.com.

I am facing a dilemma on the issue of redirects.

Wordpress.com's redirection service support page states:

Note: Site redirects will only point to a non-ssl ( http:// ) url.

So as far as I can tell, wp.com will redirect https://oldsite.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/sample-post to http://newsite.com/2014/10/21/sample-post (notice, not https).

The new site (stored on GoDaddy), will then issue an HSTS redirect to the https version.

As the new site uses a different link structure than the old site, another redirect will then be required using a Wordpress.org redirection plugin.

So altogether, from what I understand we will have this series of redirects:

https://oldsite.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/sample-post/

    |
    | Wordpress.com redirection service (301)
    V

http://newsite.com/2014/10/21/sample-post/ (does not exist)

    |
    | HSTS redirect via .htaccess (301/307)
    V

https://newsite.com/2014/10/21/sample-post/ (still does not exist)

    |
    | Wordpress.org custom redirection via plugin (301)
    V

https://newsite.com/sample-post/ (exists)

Questions

  1. Is this really the series of redirects that will occur?
  2. Is this the optimal way of conducting this transfer? According to this question, multiple 301's will have a negative effect on link equity.
  3. I've seen this question which suggests importing the content while the link structure is the same and then changing it. Does this have any advantage or disadvantage (in terms of link equity preservation) compared to defining the redirects myself via a redirection plugin on the new site?
  • Try to search your self, (because I am not WP expert), and redirect to last destination page. Multiple 301 lose too much pagerank, because page it self consume some PR, but when you use Google Change of address tool, then Google might be save some PR. – Goyllo Mar 12 '16 at 17:45
  • @Goyllo If that were possible this would be a non-question, but unfortunately it seems Wordpress.com only offers domain-wide redirects, not custom mappings of individual URLs, and does not allow redirects to https. – Rotem Mar 12 '16 at 19:06
  • How does Googlebot treat subsequent requests to http, does it "cache" the Strict-Transport-Security response header from the first time it visited your https site? Have you considered submitting your domain to Google's preload list? (Aside: Why does wordpress.com redirect to http only?!) – MrWhite Mar 13 '16 at 0:37
  • Rotem@Well, I don't know Google accept this type of multiple redirects in Google Change of Address tools, But if they accept, then go ahead, otherwise buy custom domain in wordpress.com, and let Google update your site result, and then go with wordpress.org. – Goyllo Mar 13 '16 at 6:33
  • @Goyllo That sounds interesting, could you please expand on that second part? Sorry if it's obvious, but this is not my profession, so you could please explain how that would help me? If I have a custom domain in wordpress.com do I have better control of redirects? – Rotem Mar 13 '16 at 7:57
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From what i understand Googlebot will follow around 5 legitimate redirects, so as long as you are pointing users from the old content to the new content you will have no problems. https will actually give you a ranking boost in the long term as with the redirects it looks like you are doing nothing that violates the Google Webmaster guidelines.

  • 1
    Thank you, that is reassuring. Do you have a source for the 5 redirects figure? – Rotem Mar 19 '16 at 12:23
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    Sure, youtube.com/watch?v=r1lVPrYoBkA just make sure that you are taking your users from the old content to the new content on your website and you will be fine. John. – John Mar 19 '16 at 12:35

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