Forum Topic: Best redirect method that keeps SEO and page rank

Forum: .htaccess Forum : Redirecting • Posted by Jamie Kelley • Post Date:

Noobee on this whole subject area. I would like to move my website that has a page rank of 5 to a different domain name. Is it possible to to do using htaccess redirect WITHOUT losing SEO points and page ranking.

Thanks?

Jamie

7 Replies to “Best redirect method that keeps SEO and page rank”

Jeff Starr
Posted by Jeff Starr

Hi Jamie,

The .htaccess side of moving your site is straightforward, something like this (place in root .htaccess on your old domain):

Redirect 301 / http://example.com/

But there's much more to consider, as described in this guide:

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=83105

Also, I recommend signing up for accounts at both Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Web Tools, as each provides useful information, guides, and tools for ensuring a successful move (from the perspective of the search engines).

I hope this helps, good luck moving your site!

Posted by Jamie Kelley •

Thanks Jeff for spelling this out. I think I really just wanted you to hold my hand.

Mucking with my .htaccess file simply freaks me out.

Jeff Starr
Posted by Jeff Starr

You're welcome!

I'm here to help anytime, just let me know :)

Posted by Greg Miller •

Jeff,

I'm researching available information where performing a site-wide redirect for a high ranking ecommerce site is too risky. The two sites are identical except for the domain name. Have you had an issue where this has come up and could recommend doing only page to page redirects (and not site-wide redirects)? The total number of products being sold is 15-20 thousand. I want what's best for the customer; but I will be the one identifying the pages and that makes me a little ill at the prospects.

Jeff Starr
Posted by Jeff Starr

Hi Greg,

The underlying redirect method shouldn't matter at all.. as long as each page is redirected to the correct location, search engines and visitors have no way of knowing if the redirect code is set up one way or another.. Unless I'm missing something here.. do you recall where you had read about this?

Posted by Greg Miller •

Jeff, My coworker is unconvinced that any redirect is safe for SEO, as he has found evidence of an article and other accounts where it might not help SEO. The following article from three years ago is one example.

http://www.stateofsearch.com/301-redirects-not-so-good-for-seo-after-all/

I think your method of combining Webmaster tools of both Google and Bing will help to accomplish a larger redirect effort. I have little experience in this area but hope to learn from your best practices.

Jeff Starr
Posted by Jeff Starr

I see the concern, and would agree in general that it's best to avoid redirects (i.e., changing URLs) whenever possible. But, when something does change, and redirects are needed, then you have two choices:

  1. Redirect
  2. Don't redirect

Of these, redirecting is better for SEO, always. If you don't redirect, visitors won't be happy and traffic will suffer. If you do redirect, using a 301 status tells Google and other search engines that the change is permanent (i.e., 301 = permanent, 302 = temporary).

Given this logic, it's important to add that search engines, bots, and other visitors have no way of knowing the underlying code mechanism by which the redirect occurs, such that it's totally safe to either redirect each URL separately or redirect them all at once. The search engines cannot tell the difference.

This is a great topic, Greg, and some great questions. Let me know if I can elaborate on anything, glad to do so.