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i have over 100 urls in my website which i need to redirect:

E.g.

  • /page/how-to-bake-chocolate-cookies/ will redirect to /cookies/how-to-bake-chocolate-cookies/
  • /page/contact/ will redirect to /contact-us/

and so on...

I want to make sure search engines will catch the new url without affecting my site's quality, ranking, etc...

How can I best accomplish this and avoid users experiencing 404 errors and make sure Google will correctly index my new pages?

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Welcome to the site Joanna, what kind of webserver do you use - if you don't know, could you share a link with us? –  toomanyairmiles Feb 6 '12 at 0:01
    
I am using LAMP (apache, php, mysql, centos) –  Joanna Lancaster Feb 6 '12 at 0:04
    
just a comment. If you're doing this for SEO purposes... don't. An "SEO expert" recommended we do this a few years ago, and it involved a lot of programming changes, and doing all those 301 redirections. When finished, we still lost page rank for a few weeks, and after that, the improvements (if any) were negligible. Basically, it's not worth it for an existing site. –  Rodolfo Feb 6 '12 at 20:29
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@Rodolfo - so you're claiming that nothing is better than something? Yours is the first recommendation NOT to undertake this activity despite every search engine and search professional recommending that it IS what you should do... –  Mike Hudson Feb 6 '12 at 22:50
    
@Rodolfo You're correct, it doesn't always preserve your pagerank intact that depends on the SEO of the new site, but it does ensure that your existing users can find the site and don't just get 404's –  toomanyairmiles Feb 7 '12 at 0:13
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2 Answers 2

The best way is to use 301 redirects in your .htaccess file, the 301 code signals to google that the url has been permanently redirected.

I'd also recommend signing up for Google Webmaster Tools and submitting a sitemap to them, if you haven't already, as this will help them to understand the changes you're making to your site.

redirect 301 /old-url http://www.yoursite.com/path-to/new/page.html

This article from teknocrat and this query should give you some more information

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If possible, the redirects should be put in the server config files, as that's more efficient. –  DisgruntledGoat Feb 6 '12 at 11:30
    
@DisgruntledGoat which files are you referring to? Could you be more specific? –  toomanyairmiles Feb 6 '12 at 11:38
    
Sorry, couldn't remember which one when I posted. I've checked and it's apache2.conf, or depending on your setup another file included from there such as sites-enabled/yoursite.conf. The rules usually go inside a <Directory> section. –  DisgruntledGoat Feb 6 '12 at 12:11
    
@DisgruntledGoat got you - I plumped for .htaccess as most users on shared hosting don't have access to higher level files. –  toomanyairmiles Feb 6 '12 at 12:13
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With regard to speeding along the respidering and re-caching of the site consider running Google Adwords to the new pages (even if it’s a small budget $100/$200) – effective, usually cuts revisit time 50% or more.

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