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301 re-dir and .htaccess

Call it a case study if you will, but I was having problems with my internet directory pages not all being cached on all Googles data-servers a couple months back. I had a feeling it might be affecting my standing and rankings with Google. I attended the SES New York 2006 a couple weeks ago, and heard Matt Cutts talk about the importance of the 301 re-direct in a "lunch with Google". He was talking about all kind of things related to problems when not using the 301 re-direct properly, but a couple of the things he talked about caught my attention. One was how it could effect your standings and rankings in Google indexing you properly (well here was my caching problem) on all the data-servers. Another thing he mentioned was the importance of not dumping any old pages. If you have old pages (or have done a complete site re-design) with old content just make them 301's. (there is enough with this topic to blog about another day) So in getting back to my problem with the all of the data-servers not caching my site--Once I change my 301 re-direct in the .htaccess file in my root domain, all the data centers started caching me again and I have seen an increase in traffic from Google according to my analytics.

Here's the code:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourdomain.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

(Make sure your Apache installation has mod_rewrite enabled.)

As long as your Apache installation has mod_rewrite enabled then you should be able to use this fix on almost any host.

So in summary, I learned from Matt Cutts the importance of using the 301 re-direct on websites. I have already seen what it can do for traffic and standing with Google so I highly recommend any SEO to make sure this is high up on their priority list. Make sure this "little thing" is done properly so it does not effect your rankings in a negative way down the road.

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