Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Simple 301 redirect in .htaccess for apache

As a webmaster looking at my "Not Found" links under Web Crawls section of Google's Webmaster Tools I noticed there were dead links. I had already gone through my entire site to make sure there weren't any dead links but for some reason Google was finding dead links. Then it struck me, this was a domain that we purchased from someone else. The dead links were incoming links to pages that no longer existed. I want those incoming links but don't want to have to contact the webmasters of the websites with the incoming links and tell them to change their links. Even if I did, they may not change the links anyway (and what if its an old blog post from some long gone user)?

A "301" redirect is telling search engines that a page or file has permanently moved. This is good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

In comes your .htaccess file. A simple 301 redirect telling the browser, robot, spider or whatever that page A is now page B. Here is how:

Add a line in your .htaccess file like this:
Redirect 301 /oldpage.htm

Thats: "Redirect" [space] "301" [space] "/" (directory)"File"(old page thet you want to redirect) [space] "New File" (the new destination page)

This makes it so that when some goes to they are redirected

You get to keep that incoming link without having to ask someone else to update their code or having to create a page with that exact page name then do a meta refresh (I don't like those anyway).
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