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understanding 301 redirect

subpage is gone transfer visitors to main page

     
1:54 am on Jul 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

Today I was thinking about the way I use 301 redirect in .htaccess.

I know if I changed my directory structure on my webserver - for example to move related pages to a directory with a name that makes sense, that I can tell search engines where the page can be found now and keep my page rank for those pages.

Sometimes google reports about a missing sub page (404) sub.html, which I removed ages ago because it did not contain relevant information.
To avoid that visitors receive a 404 I redirect them to the main page with a lot of information and well ranked.

But actually, am I not telling google now that the info that was on sub.html is now on main.html? Will google replace the info?

If people get 404 on my site, they receive a page that contains a link to the home page and a search box.

Thanks for any help.

Jos
2:01 am on July 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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are all requests for missing pages redirected to the home page or only a specific and finite set of urls?
7:41 am on July 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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You should not redirect to the home page. You should redirect to a page with similar content. If there is no such related page, you should return 404 and the error page should contain links to the most relevant parts of your site.
8:29 pm on July 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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If there is no such related page, you should return 404

Wouldn't a 410 be more appropriate? It need not make any difference to humans-- you can use the same physical page for both-- but a 410 at least tells search engines "Yes, I know it's not there, I removed it on purpose."

:: memo to self: figure out best Forum to raise intriguing question of what proportion of our htaccess now exists solely for the use of search engines ::
8:37 pm on July 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes, 410 is likely better than 404 when the page really is gone forever.
9:41 am on July 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Sorry. 410 is the way it has to be done. Could have found that out myself.