.htaccess,redirect,seo,sitemap,google-webmaster-tools , Redirects required for pages no longer in sitemap


Redirects required for pages no longer in sitemap

Question:

Tag: .htaccess,redirect,seo,sitemap,google-webmaster-tools

I have a relatively new site that has just started to pick up a bit of traction in the SERP's. My problem is that I have published it and had it indexed with PHP URL extensions, as follows:

www.example.com/page.php
www.example.com/product.php

And so on. Obviously it is a fairly easy matter of editing the .htacess file to remove these extensions. So I will end up with:

www.example.com/page
www.example.com/product

No problems there.

Because the site is still quite small, I can easily change all the links manually to drop the .php extension, and then update the sitemap. So Google, and all users, should have no way of reaching the .php pages, although of course they still exist if you were to manually type them in.

But, because Google has a 'record' of these pages existing (even though there are no direct links to reach them now), do I need to implement 301 redirects from the .php pages to the new non-php pages? I.e. will Google try to crawl those pages that are no longer in the sitemap, but once existed? In other words, since you can still reach www.example.com/page.php , even though will be no link on the site or in the sitemaps that will take you there, would I get penalised for having duplicate content - are 301 redirects basically required when doing this kind of thing, even if there are no links to the content anymore?

Thanks very much.


Answer:

It is better to have 301 redirect for some time(month or two) even though you can change all your links to nonphp urls. This way any residual URLs(will always be there) that are hanging out there will be taken care and google will index nonphp urls from your 301 redirect. Once you are sure from Logs(depending on your system) that there are no more OLD urls coming in, you can remove the 301 redirects. This is little easier way of moving all your old URLs instead of abruptly throwing 404s. 301 helps to transfer SEO values of old URLs to new ones.

Another item to look out for is using rel="canonical" if you want your .php and nonphp pages to coexist. This signals that they are not duplicates.


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