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301 Redirect - Sanity check

 1:51 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

I am just about to implement an .htaccess permanent redirect on the same domain, and I'd appreciate a sanity check before I break anything. I'm particularly concerned about losing our top positions in G.

I need to achieve two things:
1. The directory structure is too deep and being reduced a level

From: http://www.example.com/folder/product/
To: http://www.example.com/product/

For this I have the rule:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^folder/(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

We are also renaming a product (and thus directory) because of copyright issues

From: http://www.example.com/folder/oldproduct/
To: http://www.example.com/newproduct/

For this I have the rule:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^folder/oldproduct(.*)$ http://www.example.com/newproduct/$1 [R=301,L]

(I assume actually the rules would need to be the other way around to ensure the 'NewProduct' rule is hit first)

Whilst we don't have to remove all references to 'oldproduct' immediately we may as well start the process.

I am concerned about two things here:

1. What G would say if I didn't redirect immediately and it found almost identical content in /folder/oldproduct/ and /newproduct/

2. We have heavy inbound links and PR to the /folder/oldproduct/ of which some referrers we just won't be able to get updated, I just wondered if anyone has any thoughts?



[edited by: pageoneresults at 1:59 pm (utc) on April 24, 2006]
[edit reason] Examplified URIs [/edit]



 1:24 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Your code is OK, just be aware that as written, it will only apply to requests to example.com, and will have no effect on www.example.com.

We don't deal with ranking details in this forum, but generally, simple is best; Install the 301 redirect and be done with it. Google will transfer PageRank to the new URLs over time. However, it is best to get as many of the incoming links as possible pointed to the new URLs, but to leave a few pointed at the old redirected URLs so that the search engines will 'see' the 301 redirects.

If you need more information on specific search engine behaviour, ask in the engine-specific forums.



 2:32 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

...so that the search engines will 'see' the 301 redirects.

What time frame can we expect for the page ranks to migrate? Are we talking days, weeks or months?


 3:23 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Weeks or months for PR to transfer -- It depends on how often these URLs are re-spidered, and whatever PR update schedule Google decides on. I'd allow 90 days if you are making promises to anyone, and longer for PR3 URLs or below.



 9:14 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thank you Jim.

I am wondering why one would have to ask referring websites to update their links to my site.

Isn't the 301 telling the spiders what site to award the link to?


 12:12 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Because passing rank credit through a 301 redirect adds a dependency of your site upon a search engine's back-end processing that mostly works, but sometimes doesn't. And though the majors usually do, not all search engines handle it completely correctly.

SEO hint: Neatness counts. ;)

Best practice is to get as many of those links updated as possilble, leaving just a few pointing to the old URL to be sure that the 301 gets picked up by all search engines. Based on the worst I've ever seen, Inktomi, leaving a few old links in place for two years is not unreasonable.



 2:49 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

many thanks!


 11:33 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that JD,

After doing some more research, I found that fortunately Google was linking to the path "/folder/product/" rather than "/folder/product/file.html", so in the end I decided to use:

RewriteRule ^folder/product(/)?$ http://www.example.com/product/ [R=301,L]

The idea being that I can leave all the old URLs there if referrers link to a specific file, but the Google links to the / will return a 301.



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