By now, you know that to rank well in the Search Engines, you need to have the keyword in your URL's directory name and filename, if not in the domain name as well.
So, if you want to target a keyword, say, ‘Woolen Socks', the best way to do it is (a) to have a domain name that contains the word ‘woolen socks’ in it (like: BuyWoolenSocks.com), (b) place the information page in the ‘woolen-socks’ directory and (c) write the filename as ‘woolen-socks.html’. So the URL should look like:
This definitely gives you much better chance to rank well in search engines with the keyword ‘Woolen Socks’. There are other aspects too which help you to rank well, but inserting the keywords in domain name, directory and file name definitely give you a boost.
It's not always possible to have a separate domain name for each and every product. But, you can easily change the directory name and filename to match with your keywords.
But you are afraid to change the alrealy popular URLs for three reasons: (a) you have to manually insert the redirect code in every page, (b) a standard 404 page may lead visitors nowhere or disinterest them and (c) annoying search engines with the constant 404 error page codes so much so that they might ban the site.
But there is no need to worry. Internet has enough provisions to meet every technical need. The only thing you have to know where to look. You can change the filenames without disturbing anything by simply changing one single file.
USE 301 REDIRECT
A 301 redirect is the most efficient and spider/visitor friendly strategy around for web sites that are hosted on servers running Apache (check with your hosting service if you aren't sure). It's not that hard to implement and it should preserve your search engine rankings for that particular page. If you HAVE to change file names or move pages around, it's the safest option.
A 301 code inteprets ‘moved permanently’.
HOW TO DO IT?
Locate a file named . htaccess in your public_html folder (home page folder). If it's not there, just open Notepad (or any text editor: which saves files in . txt mode) and write the following line for each filename change:
redirect 301 /OldFolder/OldFilename.html http://www.you.com/NewFolder/NewFilename.html
Obviously you need to replace ‘OldFolder', ‘OldFilename.html', ‘NewFolder', ‘NewFilename’ with your own old and new filenames.
For example: if you had a page whose URL is: http://www.YourDomain.com/wp-01.html and the new page's URL is: http://www.YourDomain.com/Woolen-Socks/Woolen-Socks.html write the following code in your . htaccess file:
redirect 301 /wp-01.html http://www.YourDomain.com/Woolen-Socks/Woolen-Socks.html
If you had a page whose URL is: http://www.YourDomain.com/wp/wp-01.html and the new page's URL is: http://www.YourDomain.com/Woolen-Socks/Woolen-Socks.html just write the following code in your . htaccess file:
redirect 301 /wp/wp-01.html http://www.YourDomain.com/Woolen-Socks/Woolen-Socks.html
The line is written like this: ‘redirect 301’ + ‘one spacebar space’ + ‘old file directory/filename’ + ‘one spacebar space’ + ‘new file URL’ + ‘[Enter]'
You can write as many lines as you wish!
If you already have . htaccess file in your folder, write these lines AFTER all other codes already existed there.
Save the file. Check that the filename has not become: . htaccess. txt. If it's so, rename the file to . htaccess and upload it to your public_html directory.
Now, open your browser (Aren't you using FireFox? Oh boy, you're missing a lot!!) and browse to your old filename. You got redirected to the new page location!!
Search engines read your old filenames as 301 code and not a 404. Eventually they should drop the old filenames and index new ones.
Your visitors seamlessly visit your new page following the old filename.
You save lots of time if you have really huge files to change.
Great. Isn't it?
Subhendu Sen is the owner and webmaster of http://www.IndHosts.Net/hosting.html — A Low-Cost Web Hosting Service Provider with Apache Server — and is in the business of web hosting since 1998. He also owns other sites of interest : http://www.TheWebContent.com — An Article Directory and http://www.PopAccount.com — A Free Email Address directory.