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Site Redesign - New Urls

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4 replies to this topic

#1 kashyap_rajput


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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:55 AM


We have currently redesigning our client's website, The existing website has html pages and now we are redesigning it with php extension, The site is old and its all pages are crawled in major search engines.. The following queries are there

1. When i change current page name from eg abc.html to xyz.php.. i need to give them 301 redirect in htaccess file.. now 60% of pages are new page names.. so should i need to include every single old page name to new in htaccess file?

2. How quickly major search engine takes this change and apply credit to new pages.. and is it vast drop in traffic?

3. we will submit new sitemap.xml, urlist.txt for search engines.. any other way i can inform search engines for new changes to take effect soon to loose search engine traffic ?

Please help me


#2 1dmf


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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:55 AM

Randy is you best bet for mod-rewrite info, as i'm IIS nor *nix, but here's my penny.gif

1. You need to 301 all pages which have changed, it's possible to use a mod re-write and perhaps a regex to do this for you, but if not all pages have changed, you may need to to each one individually.

Alternatively you could just change the others to .php extention and do a global mod-rewrite to change all incomming trafic to a .php extention, which would be easier and quicker.

2. it varies, but it's not an issue, the old pages will show and get re-directed, and for the time being the old pages are indexed and carrying the weight of the PR, the only time it can be an issue is if the new pages are indexed without the old ones having been recognised as 301. therefore you now have two pages with the same content , so one won't carry weight or even show due to the dupe content filter, but it doesn't matter because the old page is still showing and carrying weight and will 301 redirect when someone click the link. eventually it will all sort itself out.

It's only an issue if you fail to 301 redirect correcly.

3. Yahoo & G! generally look after themselves, no need to 'resubmit' pages, ok I do maintain an XML sitemap on GWMT and when I make a change I resubmit my XML site map, but that's all i do and many will tell you it's not even worth doing that!

#3 rolf


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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:07 AM

Changing the names of highly ranked pages can be somewhat risky no matter what approach you take, but if you're using Linux/Apache it's a fairly simple process to tell the server to process html pages with php, so it's entirely doable if you don't have another reason to change them (although I would still refer you to Randy for instructions on how to do that). I'm sure this would also be possible with other server configurations too.

If you HAVE to change the names of the pages then I agree with 1dmf's advice.

#4 1dmf


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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:25 AM

nice one rolf, of course if you can tell the server to parse html through the PHP interpreter, there's no need to change the extention.

d'oh, I do that for HTML and SSI, but the penny didn't drop!

#5 Randy


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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:50 AM

1dmf and Rolf already hit all of the points I would.

1. You can have the server parse .html extensions as if they carried a .php extension. This would be easiest, especially for those pages that aren't going to experience a filename change. Whether to use this method or not kind of depends upon what your needs are. Doing it is simple. The .htaccess instruction would look like:

AddType application/x-httpd-php .php .html

You can of course add any page extension to instruct the server to process those files as if they were php.

It's much easier to set up redirects if only the extension is changing. So unless there's a really good reason to have totally new filenames for those 60% of the pages I'd encourage you to try to keep the base filename the same. Better to do that now before it gets released than have to deal with it after the fact.

When the filenames are all staying the same, but the extension is changing, there are several ways one can do it. The simplest is probably

RedirectMatch 301 (.*)\.html$ http://www.yourdomain.com$1.php

The above makes use of apache's mod_alias module. If you wanted to use mod_rewrite the simplest version of that would look like:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^(.*)\.html /$1.php [R=301,L]

If you're going to need to change the file extensions and some filenames as you've laid out you could use just mod_alias (since RedirectMatch does allow some Regex statements) or you could use a combination of mod_alias and mod_rewrite. With either approach the trick will be in how you arrange the redirects in your .htaccess, remembering that they're processed from the top down. Basically your specific page redirects should come first, followed by a blanket redirect for those 40% where only the extension is changing In this situation you'd need a RedirectMatch line for each file where the base filename was changing.

So as an example using mod_alias' RedirectMatch if the old pages were file1.html and file2.html, and these were changing to page1.php and page2.php respectively, but file3.html and file4.html were going to file3.php and file4.php respectively you could end up with an .htaccess that looked like

RedirectMatch 301  /file1\.html$ http://www.yoursite.com/page1.php
RedirectMatch 301 /file2\.html$ http://www.yoursite.com/page2.php
Redirectmatch 301 (.*)\.html$ http://www.yoursite.com$1

Or if you wanted to use mod_rewrite for the blanket match statement that would look like

RedirectMatch 301  /file1\.html$ http://www.yoursite.com/page1.php
RedirectMatch 301 /file2\.html$ http://www.yoursite.com/page2.php
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^(.*)\.html /$1.php [R=301,L]

As a general rule mod_alias' RedirectMatch is going to be a bit easier on server load than mod_rewrite's RewriteRule, though not a lot in this case. How much difference it'll make depends upon how many pages you need to redirect.

As far as the timing of how quickly the search engines will catch up, it depends upon several factors. First is how many pages are changing. The second main factor is how often and how deeply the search engine spiders crawl your site.

If you're talking 10-20 pages and the spiders do deep crawls often it'll happen pretty quickly. Usually a week or two to get everything updated. If you're talking thousands or 10's of thousands of pages it can take weeks or months before everything is switched over. As a general rule however the old .html pages should stay in the index until the new pages are discovered. So you're normally only looking at a few days to a week of fluctuation for each page when things are a bit up in the air.

Moving this one to the 301 redirects section since it fits better there.

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