I recently re-designed website for a business and apparently a lot of the users had bookmarked pages that no longer exist. For example, the previous designer had a page called
flashschedule.html and now the page is just
What is the "correct" way to re-direct these non-existing pages to their new equivalent?
(Also, as an aside, is there any way to tell Google to re-index the site?)
A 301 redirect in your root .htaccess file is all you need to do for each affected file and will also update people's bookmarks. Downside: lots of work.
I got some easy-to-understand examples from this site and a few other posts they linked to: http://www.bloghash.com/2006/11/beginners-guide-to-htaccess-file-with-examples/
For Google (and also to avoid having to do all the .htaccess work): create an updated sitemap.xml file that you submit to Google in their Webmaster Tools section. http://www.xml-sitemaps.com is my favorite free resource. And you can make one for Yahoo too (do they still exist? haha). That will most likely resolve any issues with old pages remaining in search indexes.
You want to also recreate that sitemap as an HTML page, and preferably incorporate it into your 404 error page (another must), so that people reaching this page from an old bookmark can easily find the new equivalent and update their bookmarks.
You should be doing a 301 redirect on the pages. How you do that depends on what server you are running.
As for getting Google to re-index, it will get there eventually, particularly if you have a sitemap set up. You could try to Add your URL to Google again though.
If you have access to the web server config, I recommend handling the redirect there. You should use a method that allows you to issue a 301 return code. This will tell spiders that it is a permanent redirect and (some say) help preserve your search rank.
This page may be of some use to you:
The best way would be to set these in your web server.
For the Google part of Q: your site will get picked up eventually (not too far in future). But you could exclude old links to your redirecting pages by incuding them in