Google problems

I have made a new website for a friend - www.lilnutter.com. It replaces one she had on a server which has now been closed. She has a slightly complicated arrangement where her email and domain renewals are managed by a local internet services firm, so I asked them to redirect the nameservers to my host (Dreamhost). That happened over the weekend. I have just spoken to them and asked them to check that the nameserver redirect was all that was needed. I have also asked them to submit a request to Google.

If you put the address in the address bar as above, it all works beautifully. However if you google her you get to a 404 error.

I thought initially that Google had not updated the details and were directing Google enquiries to the old site (which of course doesn’t exist any longer). But the site has been live for five days now so it should be up to date.

One person is reporting that the URL when accessed via Google has “home.aspx” at the end, and that when he removes it the page redirects to the new site.

I’m going to see if Dreamhost can help but just wondered if anyone here had any insight? Normally when I make site I start off with a new domain and it’s simple!

It sounds like the old site didn’t use tidy links.

You’re new home pages actual address is https://www.lilnutter.com/index.html, the web server appends the index.html to the end of the address for you.

Judging from what you said the old site used page names like home.aspx. My guess would be that other pages would have been named similarly.

So here’s what’s happening, search engines like google can take time(sometimes month’s) for every single reference to a website to clear out of the search engine’s databases.

If someone else’s site like a blog post references the old URL’s then the search engines will continue to index those old addresses.

So what can you do?

It sounds like you don’t have any list of what the old sites pages URL’s were.

It sounds like you think that the old home pages URL was: http://www.lilnutter.com/home.aspx

Once you have validated that was the old name google is referencing then you should add a redirect (Htaccess)to the new home page.
So assuming that the old home page was in fact named http://www.lilnutter.com/home.aspx then this htaccess rule should send it to the new home page:

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^$
RewriteRule ^home\.aspx$ https://www.lilnutter.com/? [R=301,L]

You should do this for every page on the old site if you know what the old URL’s were.

Doug, you’re a marvel.

No, the old site was a proper mess, put together by someone who didn’t know what she was doing by all accounts*. I will try what you suggest. Even if it only redirects the home page we’ll be so much better off! (The old site has gone to the great internet in the sky, I’m afraid, and the server has been closed down too)

(*Not that I claim to be a genius either, but at least my sites work!)

Okay: so the top link on Google is https://www.lilnutter.com/AboutLil.aspx

So the second line should read

[RewriteRule ^AboutLil.aspx$ https://www.lilnutter.com/page-3] - yes?

That will take you to the About page on the new site?

And just to be clear, I need to put a different .htaccess file in each of the relevant folders relating to each page (where I have the old URL?)

EDIT: OMG it worked. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Before you do this, you should really name your pages appropriately. Instead of “page-3”, this page’s folder should be named “about” or “about-us”, etc. Once that’s done and republished, you can add the appropriate rewrite rules.

You can put all the rewrite rules in the main .htaccess file in the site’s root folder. Rules in that file can affect sub pages. It’s much easier to maintain with only one .htaccess file.

I knew you’d say that…! Yes: I will rename the pages - you’re quite right after I was complaining about the previous “designer”

Thank you so much for your help. It’s very much appreciated.

You could “catch” anything from the old site (I’m assuming the old site all uses .aspx). You said the aboutLil was the number one hit. So simply two rules one for the about rules:

RewriteRule ^AboutLil\.aspx$ https://www.lilnutter.com/aboutus? [R=301,L,NC]
RewriteRule \.aspx$ https://www.lilnutter.com/? [R=301,L,NC]

The first Rule will catch the about page and redirect it to aboutus folder (assuming you change the names). The second rule will redirect anything else that ends with aspx to the home page.

I also add the NC flag since it looks as if the old site used upper and lower case.

All done. I renamed all the folders, deleted the whole lot on the server, reuploaded everything and set up the .htaccess file in the root, and it’s working. Thank you once again.