404 pages are the best way to lower search engine rankings and scare visitors away from your site. In many cases the content is still available on the site only the location changed. Tridion eliminates the number of broken links within your website if your content editors make correct use of component linking. Component linking makes it very easy (and tempting) to change the location of content within a website.
Unfortunately inbound links and search engine content is not managed out of the box by Tridion which results in the dreaded 404 pages being served to visitors and crawlers. The solution is simple: Redirect (301) the crawlers and visitors to the new location of the content yourself. To do this you need to:
- Extend the Tridion Broker with the old information of the Link_info table in the broker DB. I called my table Link_Info_History.
- Add some logic to your 404 handler. It needs to check if the URL, the visitor requested, exists in the Link_Info_History table.
- Construct a component link using the information from the History table and retrieve the new location of the content.
- Redirect the visitor to the new location.
Cost: 8 hours of implementation time
Benefits during the entire lifespan of your Tridion managed websites:
- Increased search engine rankings (inbound links are valuable if they do not land on your 404 page).
- Reduced number of 404 pages.