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In my last post titled “When and why to use 301 or 302 redirects”, I talked about why you might use these redirects and briefly explained the differences between the two. It would be a good idea to read the last post if you don’t know what a 301 or 302 redirect are because today I’m going to discuss ways to implement them.
So, you have decided that your site has a need for a SEO friendly redirect. The good news is that they are not too hard to setup on most server configurations, If you are using Apache or IIS, the tools you need are already installed and ready to go.
Since I’m a pretty big Linux fan I tend to focus on Apache, but we can’t ignore the popularity and power of IIS, so I will go over that configuration on my next post. Today though we will focus on Apache.
Many of the clients I talk with have an understanding that a Google sitemap is a way to positively impact your natural rankings. This of course is not true, the Google sitemap merely allows you to tell Google that you have the following web pages within your domain and that you would like them to be crawled. You have the ability to set how frequently the page is updated: Daily, weekly, or monthly. The last option you have within the Google sitemap is the option to set the priority of the page.
This is the webmasters way of telling Google which pages are more important than others. For example the home page would be more important than page to showcase links so it would receive a higher priority. Google will then access the Google sitemap you have uploaded and see the listings of pages and information you have provided. This will result in Google being able to find and index those pages faster and get a basic understanding of the structure of the website. This is not to say that Google wouldn’t find the pages of the website on there own, but it facilitates Google finding them faster.
How many times have you gone to your favorite search engine, typed in your keywords and been shown an entire web site as a result? The odds are, never. More and more often I find myself explaining how it’s not your whole site that is indexed, but it’s a bunch of individual pages on your website that are being indexed. This may seem like an insignificant difference or just a wording issue, but I assure you the distinction is an important one to understand and I promise I am not just splitting hairs.
I would think that most people agree that the general function of SEO is “to help web sites rank higher in the search engines”. I submit a more accurate statement would be “to help the pages of a site rank higher in the search engines”. The pages of a web site are indexed and ranked individually, based primarily on their own merits. There are very few factors in the search algorithms that when changed effect a web site on a global scale.