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Using Blogger missing files host to maintain traffic after conversion

Move your blog to Blogger and keep your traffic

I recently had to help out with a blog that was migrated to Blogger. Afterward, the search engine traffic dried up because the URLs all changed. Combining a 301 permanent move response with a missing files host solved the problem.

The designers of the web had the forethought to realize that web content would evolve over time and that the location of files would change. The solution of the problem is a response code 301 which means the page was moved permanently. Steven Hargrove has a good article on implementing 301 redirects.

All of these methods are fine, but none of them are easy to implement in Blogger. If you have your own domain, Blogger offers a feature that allows requests that would result in a 404 not found to be forwarded to another site for resolution. This is configured on the "Publishing" tab.

Combining these ideas, I created a sub-domain for another site I have (most hosts allow unlimited subdomains) and added 301 redirects in the .htaccess file for the subdomain. The old and new values were provided by the blog conversion program so I didn't have to retype them (yeah!). I then pointed the missing files host for the blog to the new subdomain.

This worked so well that I moved one of my own sites to Blogger.

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