Launching a new website is exciting.  If you’re a developer, you’ve probably spent months perfecting it.  Once you launch, you sit back, happy with a job well done.

Except…you forgot to 301 redirect the old site pages to their new URLs.

If this is you, don’t panic.  Here’s how to 301 redirect pages after you’ve launched.

1. Run a Google search for your site

In Google search, type “site:www.yoursite.com.”

Find 404 pages by typing site:www.yoursite.com into Google

You should see pages of results.

2.  Open all results as new tabs

Manually, this will take a long time.  Instead, add a Chrome extension called “LinkClump.”  It lets you quickly open all the links on a page as new tabs by holding down shift while you click and drag a box over the links (as shown below).

Use LinkClump to quickly open pages as tabs to find 404 pages

3. Close all the tabs that aren’t 404 errors

We only want 404 pages because they need to be redirected.  Therefore, close all non-404 pages.  Then click the second page of results, open all links as tabs, close the non-404 pages and keep going until you exhaust all the results and only have 404 pages open as tabs.

4. Copy all 404 page URLs

Instead of manually copying 404 URLs, use another Chrome extension named “Get Opened Tabs URL.”

After you add it, click its icon in your toolbar (1) and it will grab the URLs of all the open tabs. Then click “copy to clipboard” (2).

Use "Get Opened Tabs URL" extension to easily copy 404 page URLs

5. Open a spreadsheet

Open a spreadsheet in Google Docs or Excel and paste the copied 404 URLs into the A column, labeling it as “Source.”

Title your B column “Target.”  In this column you will add the URLs of your site’s live pages that are most relevant to your 404 pages.

6. Find Live Pages with ScreamingFrog

Use ScreamingFrog to quickly find and export all your new site’s pages as a spreadsheet.  Here’s a ScreamingFrog guide to help you figure it out.

Once you segmented your exported spreadsheet by HTML and PDF pages, paste them into the B column.

7. Match 404 pages with closest URLs

Now you just have to match the 404 source URLs with the closest live URL.  Sometimes the closest relevant page is an overview.  In that case, redirect the old page to the overview page.  In extreme cases where you can’t redirect to an overview page, redirect to the home page.

When you finish, save the spreadsheet as a “Windows Comma Separated” file.

8. Upload your 301 spreadsheet

If your site is built on WordPress, follow these steps to bulk add your 301 redirects.

  1. Add the “Redirection” plugin

  2. Once it’s added, mouse over “Tools” in the left column and click “Redirection”

  3. In Redirection, click “Options”

  4. Scroll down the page to “Import”

  5. Click “Choose File”

  6. Select the redirect spreadsheet, and click “Upload”

That’s it!

I know we got technical, but following these steps will help you 301 redirect a site after you launched and thought all hope was lost.

If you have any questions, please ask away in the comment section below.