Closing forum but avoiding Error 404 - what's good SEO?

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colinb
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Closing forum but avoiding Error 404 - what's good SEO?

Post by colinb »

I'm closing one of my phpBB3 forums and intend to remove the pages + database from the server and archive them. However, it's well indexed and is constantly visited by search bots. I want to remove the forum but I don't want a long list of 404's in my logs and - ideally - I'd like to do something positive with the traffic. Ideally I'll redirect all the requests to a landing page containing an explanation of why the forums are closed and suggest other links.

Of course, putting 301 Redirects onto static pages is easy (I have lots of these, too), but with dynamically-generated forum content it's not as simple.

I've tried adding this to my htaccess file but to no avail - it still ends up at the 404 page:

Code: Select all

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/forums(.*)
RewriteRule ^(.*)$  http://www.mydomainname.ext/forums-closed/? [R=301,L]
The "forums" directory is where phpBB is installed and I'm applying a suggestion from a unix user who suggests the wildcard to catch all requests below the forums folder level. "forums-closed" is the Wordpress landing page to which requests should be redirected.

Any ideas? The problem I have is that the 404s are accounting for a large proportion of the stats and it doesn't make sense to leave as it is. I need to exploit the incoming requests properly.

Advice gratefully received!

Colin
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Lumpy Burgertushie
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Re: Closing forum but avoiding Error 404 - what's good SEO?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

301 redirects work just fine for dynamically generated sites. I think you just did it wrong.


http://www.webconfs.com/how-to-redirect-a-webpage.php

robert
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colinb
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Re: Closing forum but avoiding Error 404 - what's good SEO?

Post by colinb »

Robert

Thanks for your reply.

I think there's a conflict somewhere because nothing I'm used to doing will work. Mind you, I've never had the problem of re-directing all possible dynamically-generated forum pages to a single static page before.

It can't be that difficult, surely?!

Colin
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Lumpy Burgertushie
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Re: Closing forum but avoiding Error 404 - what's good SEO?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

colinb wrote:Robert

Thanks for your reply.

I think there's a conflict somewhere because nothing I'm used to doing will work. Mind you, I've never had the problem of re-directing all possible dynamically-generated forum pages to a single static page before.

It can't be that difficult, surely?!

Colin
you don't have to. all you have to do is redirect all attempts to the main directory
the fact that it is a 301 makes the links work for google etc.
I'm baaaaaccckkkk. still doing work on donation basis. PM your needs.

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colinb
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Re: Closing forum but avoiding Error 404 - what's good SEO?

Post by colinb »

Robert

So what would you recommend as being the most straightforward way of doing this? (This is where my expertise starts running thin..). Some kind of wildcard, as per my example above, in htaccess or something else?

Colin
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Re: Closing forum but avoiding Error 404 - what's good SEO?

Post by wired076 »

colinb wrote:Robert

So what would you recommend as being the most straightforward way of doing this? (This is where my expertise starts running thin..). Some kind of wildcard, as per my example above, in htaccess or something else?

Colin
Colin,

If you have cPanel you can set up a redirect for the domain in question and then type in the redirects to the webpage.

Tick redirect with or without www if not already selected and then tick wild card redirect and click add.

This will then put a permanent 301 redirect in place.

If this doesn't work or you don't have cPanel you can always ask your host for help on how you do this in their control panel.
colinb
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Re: Closing forum but avoiding Error 404 - what's good SEO?

Post by colinb »

Wired

What a star you are. That did it! You've saved what hair I have left from being pulled out.

I'd forgotten about that option in CPanel.

Thanks very much indeed for your help.

Colin
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Re: Closing forum but avoiding Error 404 - what's good SEO?

Post by wired076 »

colinb wrote:Wired

What a star you are. That did it! You've saved what hair I have left from being pulled out.

I'd forgotten about that option in CPanel.

Thanks very much indeed for your help.

Colin
No problems.

Glad I could help you out and save that precious hair of yours! :P
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