Sk-rt Social Network Rebrands as Kirtsy, Fails to Follow SEO Best Practices

Kirtsy Home Page 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.

Sk-rt Splash Redirect 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.

133k pages indexed 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.

Kirtsy 2 pages indexed 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.

Sk*rt 754,000 links 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.

  • Bob Smithwick

    Hey Bill- Thanks for your insightful piece. I worked with the kirtsy (formerly sk*rt) chicks on the switchover and appreciate the best practices you pointed out. One comment — you mention that we did a permanent redirect on the posts, but I wanted to clarify that we did a permanent redirect on all resources except the home page. On that we implemented the meta-refresh and chose that method due to the very short amount of time that it will be out there. Our plan is to replace it with a full redirect in a couple days, but you’re probably right about how that could have been more effective. Thanks again for your attention and recommendations, and best regards.

  • Thanks for your explanation and comments. The problem is that there’s really no reason to ever use a meta redirect to redirect visitors from one page to another or from one site to another; the search engines have problems with that type of redirect.

    Because Sk-rt.com has so many high quality links (over 1000) to its home page, even putting up a meta redirect for a short period of time will cause problems.

    I understand the idea of putting a “splash page” on Sk-rt.com to tell users about the new domain name. However, a better choice would have been to use the 301 Permanent Redirect and use Javascript (or PHP) to identify the referrer. Based on the referrer you can have a similar popup come up, explaining the change. Another option would be to run a 728×90 banner ad at the top of the site for a period of time explaining the new branding as Kirtsy.

    I will be definitely be following the search results to see how the search engines handle the redirects.

  • Missy

    This would most likely explain why my recent blog platform transfer screwed my Pagerank, Alexa, and god knows what else.

    I recently transferred my small blog (Groovy Chicago) from blogger.com to WordPress. Now my stats all sit at zero. Jeez!

    Can a 301 Perm Re-direct still be instituted, or is all lost?

    Missy.

  • Missy, if you still have access to the old domain name then you would want to set up a 301 Permanent Redirect from the old URLs to the new URls. That should fix the problem.