How to Use the Yahoo! Store Page Redirect Manager

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to Use the Yahoo! Store Page Redirect ManagerPage Redirect Manager is a relatively new feature which is designed to assist Yahoo! Store owners with their search engine optimization (SEO) and site management efforts through 301 redirecting. Using this feature, Yahoo! Store owners can now easily create, edit, and delete page-level 301 redirects for their websites.

How to Use the Yahoo! Store (301) Page Redirect Manager

Page Redirect Manager is a relatively new feature (launched in September, 2011) which is designed to assist Yahoo! Store owners with their search engine optimization (SEO) and site management efforts through 301 redirecting. Using this feature, Yahoo! Store owners can now easily create, edit, and delete page-level 301 redirects for their websites. In addition, one does not need access to hosting nor have programming knowledge to use this tool. I cannot begin to explain how happy this update has made me.

A number of logical reasons exist for why a Yahoo! Store owner would wish to permanently redirect one page to another. However, up until this release, store owners were not able to do so. In fact, not being able to implement a 301 redirect was, in my opinion, one of the biggest shortcomings of the entire Yahoo! Store platform. As an Internet marketing professional who happens to specialize in Yahoo! Store development, I'm sure you can imagine just how frustrating this was.

The Page Redirect Manager is available for all Yahoo! Merchant Solutions and Yahoo! Store accounts. Users can create specific rules for handling 301 redirects either through the redirect table - a friendly, easy-to-use interface - or by uploading a CSV file containing their redirect rules. Page Redirect Manager can be used to create a maximum of 50,000 redirect rules, which should be sufficient for most Yahoo! Store owners.

Before I jump in and begin my tutorial on how to use the Page Redirect Manager tool, I think it might be best if I first outline some of the basics.

What is a 301 Redirect?

A redirect is exactly as it sounds... directing something to a new or different place than where it was originally intended. In this case, I am referring to an Internet user. There are many reasons as to why a website would choose to redirect its visitors, but the most common reason is because a page has either moved or been removed.

A 301 redirect is considered a "permanent redirect". On the surface, a 301 redirect will seamlessly move website visitors from an original location (old page) to a newly specified location (new page). However, below the surface, a 301 redirect informs search engines and other server crawlers that a specific page will no longer be available, and to begin referencing the new URL instead of the old.

Why is Using 301 Redirects Important?

A 301 redirect is extremely important to website owners. A 301 redirect will help to transfer site visitors from point A to point B with little effort and error. In addition, as I alluded to above, a 301 redirect signals to search engines that a switch is being made. Search engines will take this as a queue to remove the old page from their index and direct users to the new URL.

Furthermore, and more to the bigger picture, search engines will also pass along any and all search engine value that the old page has accumulated on to the new page. This includes age merits, value from inbound links, and search engine rankings. Therefore, even though a page might be brand new, through 301 redirecting it can have all the benefits of an already established page.

When to use a 301 Redirect

Once again, a 301 redirect should only be used when the original page location will never be available again. We're talking a permanent redirect from one page to another. While I am sure there are numerous reasons for why a Yahoo! Store owner would wish to use a 301 redirect, the 3 most common examples seem to be:

Example 1: A store owner wishes to optimize their page URLs for better search engine placement thereby recreating an established page so that its URL now includes keywords. Assuming the old URL is already indexed by search engines and ranks well, a 301 redirect will ensure that all previous page value is passed along to the new URL.

Example 2: A store is selling a product that has now been discontinued. If this particular product page has accumulated search engine value and currently ranks well, store owners might opt to transfer this value to a similar product, rather than simply deleting it.

Example 3: An online merchant wishes to transfer their website from their current content management system (CMS) onto the Yahoo! Store platform. If their current pages receive significant traffic and already rank well within search engines, a 301 redirect would help to retain its overall value when moving the website over.

The Yahoo! Store Page Redirect Manager can be used to create 301 redirects to assist with each of these efforts, and others.

How to Use the Yahoo! Store Page Redirect Manager

Creating 301 redirects with the Yahoo! Store Page Redirect Manager is easy. Follow these 6 steps to create a single redirect, one at a time.

Step 1: Navigate to Page Redirect Manager

After logging into your store control panel, locate and click "Page Redirect Manager". This link is located within the "Site Settings" column.

How to Use the Yahoo! Store (301) Page Redirect Manager

Step 2: Create a New Redirect

Locate and click "Create New Redirect". The button is located above the redirect table, on the left side of the screen. When clicked, a new row will open at the top of the redirect table, where users can create your page redirect.

How to Use the Yahoo! Store (301) Page Redirect Manager

Step 3: Enter "Old Page URL"

Locate the "Old Page URL" field within the redirect table. Enter the URL of the page you wish to redirect.

How to Use the Yahoo! Store (301) Page Redirect Manager

Step 4: Enter "New Page URL"

Locate the "New Page URL" field within the redirect table. Enter the URL of the page you wish to redirect to.

How to Use the Yahoo! Store (301) Page Redirect Manager

Step 5: Save Redirect

Locate and click "save". The button is located on the right side of the New Page URL field. Once saved, the newly created page redirect will appear in the redirect table.

How to Use the Yahoo! Store (301) Page Redirect Manager

Step 6: Publish Redirects

Locate and click "Publish". The button is located above the redirect table, on the right side of the screen. Follow through by clicking the "Yes" button when a confirmation box appears.

How to Use the Yahoo! Store (301) Page Redirect Manager

Additional Things to Know

Yahoo! has created an excellent FAQ guide to address commonly asked questions regarding the Page Redirect Manager. In addition, I took the liberty of including the following 4 troubleshooting tips to which I found to be quite helpful in my 301 redirect efforts.

Redirects CAN Be Uploaded in Bulk

In the event users wish to redirect a large number of URLs at one time, a CSV template can be downloaded, edited, and uploaded to create a maximum of 50,000 redirects.

Redirects MUST Be Published

It is important to note that page redirects must be published (Step 6) before they take effect. Simply creating a redirect will not make it live.

Redirects MUST Be Absolute URLs

It is important to note that when entering values for the Old Page URL and New Page URL that they are absolute URLs. Relative URLs (ex: index.html) will not work.

Old Page URLs MUST Already Be Deleted

It is important to note that Old Page URLs must first be deleted prior to setting up a redirect. Redirects will not work while Old Page URLs still exist on the site.

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