Redirecting traffic from deleted Help Center articles Follow

Important note: The solutions contained within this article may affect Google search rankings since they contain Javascript redirects. For this reason, they may not be suitable for long-term or large-scale deployment.

If you've deleted articles from your Help Center, you may have noticed that users occasionally still attempt to access the URLs associated with these articles. No matter the source of such traffic, you can automatically redirect users visiting these URLs to more useful pages.

This article includes several solutions that, in most cases, should help you redirect traffic:

Accessing Your Help Center's Custom JavaScript file

In order to implement any such solution, you must first access your Help Center's JavaScript file:

  1. Signed on as an admin, open your Help Center.
  2. On the top admin bar of your Help Center, click General > Customize Design .
  3. On the left-hand sidebar that pops up, expand the Theme box, and click Edit Theme .
  4. Click the "JS" link on the grey bar that appears above the black text editor area. We will be editing the text in this file.

Example: Redirecting a set of deleted articles to new article equivalents

Here's an example in which a Help Center has a set of old, deleted pages, each of which corresponds to a new page to which we are redirecting.

Within the first few lines of the JS file, you will see a line reading:

$(document).ready(function() {

Insert the following code directly above that line:

  var oldIds = ["217352077", "216552968"];
  var newIds = ["216553098", "216552958"];

  for (var i = 0; i < oldIds.length; i++){
    if (window.location.href.indexOf(oldIds[i]) > -1) {
      window.location.href = 'https://YOURSUBDOMAIN.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/' + newIds[i]; 
    }
  }

You'll need to customize a few things about this script before you can save. Let's take a look at those below.

The first part of the code you'll edit is here:

  var oldIds = ["217352077", "216552968"];
  var newIds = ["216553098", "216552958"];

This is a list of the old article IDs and new article IDs. You are going to have to add your own article IDs here. In order to find an article ID, just view the article in your browser (or the URL from your analytics platform). The URL will look similar to this:

https://[YOURSUBDOMIAN].zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/203664386-Help-Center-guide-for-agents-and-end-users 

In this case, the article ID is "203664386".

In order to redirect properly with this solution, they must be at the same position within the array. So in this case, an article whose URL contains "217352077" will now redirect to "216553098". And an article containing "216552968" will now redirect to "216552958".

Be sure to keep these IDs wrapped in quotes, as seen above, and separated by a comma in each case. So if you added a new set of redirects, it would look like:

  var oldIds = ["217352077", "216552968", "216552902"];
  var newIds = ["216553098", "216552958", "216552944"];

Second, you will have to edit the URL in this line:

window.location.href = 'https://YOURSUBDOMAIN.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/' + newIds[i]; 

Make sure that you use your subdomain, or alternately, use your entire Help Center URL as normally appears in your Help Center if it is white labeled to your own URL. Do not remove the end of the line, where it reads "+ newIds[i];". This is how the loop appends your new article ID to your URL. The code will fail without it.

Example: Redirecting untranslated articles to an existing language

Here's an example in which you have Help Center content in multiple languages. Let's say all of your contents exist in English, but only some of it exists in French and German. When a user tries to access those articles in French or German, they'll get an error page. This code allows redirects them away from the error page back to the existing English-language article:


var notDefaultLanguage = window.location.href.indexOf('/en-us/') == -1;
var isArticle = window.location.href.indexOf('/articles/') > -1;
var isErrorPage = $(".error-page").length > 0;


if ( isArticle && notDefaultLaugage && isErrorPage ) {
    var newURL = window.location.href.replace(/(.*\/hc\/)([\w-]+)(\/.*)/, "$1en-us$3");
    window.location.href =  newURL;
}  

In this example, there's only one bit of customization that needs to be done. If your default Help Center language isn't English, you can replace that language. In the code, you'll see "en-us" appear in two places:

var notDefaultLanguage = window.location.href.indexOf('/en-us/') == -1;

and

var newURL = window.location.href.replace(/(.*\/hc\/)([\w-]+)(\/.*)/, "$1en-us$3");

You'll replace "en-us" in these two lines with your default language code. Find your default language code in the URL for any of your main articles. For example, a URL for a French-language Help Center page will look like

https://[YOURSUBDOMAIN].zendesk.com/hc/fr/articles/214943538 

with "fr" representing the country code.

Example: Redirecting all deleted articles to one specific page

Here's another example in which a Help Center redirects all deleted articles (note: not including community posts) to one specific article.

Within the first few lines of the JS file, you will see a line reading:

$(document).ready(function() {

In this case, insert the following code directly below that line. Important note, inserting above (as with the previous example) will not work for this example:

if ( window.location.href.indexOf('articles') > -1 && $(".not-found").length > 0 ) {
window.location.href = 'https://[YOURSUBDOMAIN].zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/216553068-error-redirect';
}

You'll need to customize the URL in this script before you can save. Make sure to replace it with the URL of the article you want your Help Center to redirect to.

This solution will only work if we make sure that a ".not-found" class exists in your error page. So let's add one.

On the grey bar where the "JS" link appears, click on the "Home Page" link. Find and select "Error page" in that dropdown. In the error page, you'll find an area starting with the code {{#is error 'not_found'}} . It will look something like this:

{{#is error 'not_found'}}
<h2>{{t 'nonexistent_page'}}</h2>
<p>{{t 'mistyped_address_or_moved_page'}}</p>
{{/is}}

You will want to add a new class to the h2 element (or any element within the 'not_found' #is tags), so that it looks like this:

<h2 class="not-found">{{t 'nonexistent_page'}}</h2>

Now you have all the elements in place that you'll need for a general deleted article redirect.

Example: Generalizing or specifiying which articles (or community posts) redirect to one specific page

You can get more specific or general with this solution by customizing the if statement. For example, to redirect from any deleted article or community post, change the if statement to:

if ( $(".not-found").length > 0 )

Alternately, to only redirect deleted articles that have the word "buttermilk" in the title, change the if statement to:

if ( window.location.href.indexOf('buttermilk') > -1 && $(".not-found").length > 0 )

Unlike the first solution presented, these solutions will first breifly show the error page, then redirect to the new page. This is due to the fact that we are using JS to search for an element within the page, and in order to do that, we must first wait for the page to load.

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Comments

  • 0
    Edited by Joe Fedric
  • 0

    Is there a non-Javascript method to control redirected traffic? Javascript assumes that users have JS enabled. This also doesn't seem very scalable to manage content long-term, because we have limited ability to see the redirects, for control and for analytics.

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