Sk*rt, the social network geared towards women, has rebranded as Kirtsy. Sk*rt, originally at www.sk-rt.com, is now at www.Kirtsy.com. I suspect that one of the reasons they rebranded was that they were not affiliated in any way with Skirt! Magazine (at www.skirt.com), the “Women’s online resource for opinion, poetry, fashion, resources, fun and irreverence.” I fully applaud the rebranding effort from Sk*rt.com to Kirtsy.com. However, from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, they have committed SEO suicide by not redirecting to the new site the right way.
If you go to www.sk-rt.com (or any URL on the old site), you’re going to be greeted with a “splash page” on the sk-rt.com domain telling you that they’ve rebranded as Kirtsy. 5 seconds later you’re redirected to the new URL. The only problem here is that this is not being done properly. A 301 Permanent Redirect needs to be used–I never ever recommend using a meta refresh to redirect visitors. In fact, using a meta refresh to redirect visitors will almost certainly screw up the site’s search engine rankings.
Currently, the sk-rt.com domain name is enjoying 133,000 pages indexed in Google. And there are only about 2 pages indexed of the kirtsy.com domain name indexed in Google.
More importantly, the sk-rt.com domain name currently is showing over 754,000 links according to Yahoo!. If Kirtsy continues to use a meta refresh to redirect visitors from the old sk-rt.com domain name to the new kirtsy.com domain name, they will not receive any “credit” or “brownie points” for those 754,000 links. That’s right. You absolutely must use a 301 Permanent Redirect when changing URLs or you will soon lose just about all of your traffic you’re getting from Google’s organic search results.
To make sure that the search engine properly reindex the new site and pass the appropriate link credit and Google PageRank to the new Kirtsy site, Kirtsy needs to ditch the meta refresh tag and set it up 301 Permanent Redirects to the new URLs. Most likely, the best way to do this would be to set up the 301 Permanent Redirects from the old site to the new site. And, when visitors land on the new URL (e.g., when they’re redirected from sk-rt.com to kirtsy.com), the “notice” that they’ve been redirected shows up on the kirtsy.com site and not on sk-rt.com.
By not using 301 Permanent Redirects, they’re essentially creating pages of duplicate content, as well. If you go to pages on the old sk-rt.com site you’ll notice that same page, which then redirects you to the Kirtsy.com home page. Those old pages should be redirecting with a 301 Permanent Redirect to the new pages.
After some further investigation, I found that the “story pages” have, in fact, been redirected properly with 301 Permanent Redirects. For example, take a look at this page and you will see the proper 301 Permanent Redirect. However, this should be set up for all of the other pages on the site, including the home page (the page that everyone links to). That meta refresh needs to be turned off, and any notice that Sk*rt has changed to Kirtsy should be put on the new domain.
What’s the bottom line? If you change domains or change URLs for any reason, you need to use a 301 Permanent Redirect to redirect from the old URL to the new URL. In this case, when Sk*rt rebranded as Kirtsy, they started to use the 301 Permanent Redirect but didn’t institute on the home page of the site, the most important page. The sk-rt.com domain has a lot of backlinks–and using a meta refresh (not a 301), that data will not be passed to the new kirtsy.com domain name.