Saturday, May 02, 2009

My Genealogy Site is on Geocities. Now what do I do? Part II

Geocities will be closing down later this year (2009). If you have a genealogy site on Geocities, you can take steps now so that when Geocities does close down, your site will already be moved and links around the Internet will already be pointing to your new site.

I've outlined the steps to move your Geocities site to a new web host in
My Genealogy Site is on Geocities. Now What Do I Do? Part I

Also see:

Once your site is moved, there is still more to do if you want your site to be found by other genealogists.

If you have a Geocities site, it has probably been on the Internet for awhile and has built up a fair amount of backlinks from other websites. Once Geocities shuts down, these links will become broken and will no longer point to your site.

You don't want to lose links to your genealogy site. The more sites that link to you, the better chance a distant cousin has of finding your site.

Other webmasters who link to Geocities sites will want keep their links current and will appreciate an email with the new URL to your site. If they have to hunt for your new URL, there is less chance that your link will be updated. And once Geocities is gone, other webmasters may just delete all their Geocities' links en masse.

But how do you find out who links to your site? Use the link: command in the search engine box:

  • Type link: into the Google searchbox. (This URL is made up. Please substitute your own URL)
  • Type link: tree/ into the Yahoo searchbox.
Note that there is no space after the colon and before the URL. Surprisingly, Yahoo will generally list a lot more backlinks to a site than Google.

Once you have moved your site and found out who links to your Geocities site, you can write to these webmasters. It is definitely worth the effort to request the links to your site be updated.

Go to each listed website and look for a link that says Contact me or Email the Webmaster or something similar. Your letter to the webmaster of the site that links to yours should include:

  • the URL of the page where your link appears (this is the linking site URL, not your URL)
  • Your site name
  • your old Geocities URL
  • your new URL

Giving the URL of the page your link is on keeps the webmaster from searching for your link.

Here is an example of what to write:

Dear Webmaster,

On your website on page http:www.biggenealogydirectory/links.html, could you
please update the site called Mahady One Name Study.

Old URL:

New URL:

Thanks so much

Some websites have automated the process to update a link. Look for a link that says Update your Link or a variation of that, then follow the instructions for the update link process.

Be sure to cut and paste your URLs to lessen the chance of typing errors when sending your Update Link emails.

As I write this, I realize it might be a smart idea for webmasters to list their former Geocities URL on their new site so that if someone searches for the old Geocities URL when it no longer exists, the new site will appear in the search results. I am going to add this as a footnote to my own sites so that if someone only has the old geocities URL, they can still find the new site by searching for the old URL.

Mahady One Name Study was formerly located at


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