A personal note before you dive in:

My goal is to provide a guide that will help you understand how you can use the .htaccess file to impact your website’s search engine optimization.

When I first started building websites the .htaccess file was an enigma. This was because I was in deep over my head on many levels. I did not understand the Apache webserver. I did not understand RegEx (regular expressions).

Between the two of these knowledge gaps I did not comprehend much of anything in the .htaccess file that came with my CMS.

Because of my ignorance I searched for information. I found that there was a lack of resources that break things down simply.

Years have passed. I have learned more than I ever thought there would be to learn.

I hope you find this information helpful. It would not be possible if it were not for the developers and SEOs who freely shared their insights and knowledge with me.

Sincerely,

Daniel Morell

Sections

What is the .htaccess file? Why use it for SEO?

We will cover some of the basics in this section.

Knowing when to use the .htaccess file is almost as important as knowing what you can do with it! Learn the valid uses of the .htaccess file and when you should use alternatives.

One of the issues most SEOs are called upon to address at some point is the redirect chain. In this section I will show you how to fix the three variations every URL can have (www, https, and the trailing slash) with a single redirect.

In this section you will learn what a SEO-friendly URL is, and how to solve common problems the .htaccess file. I even explain how to convert your URLs to all lowercase.

One of the great things that the .htaccess file can accomplish is setting canonical HTTP headers on static resources like images or PDFs. You will learn how to do so in this section.

Learn how to deploy the x-robot-tag HTTP header on your website to tell googlebot what it can crawl and index.

In this section I will show you how to set custom error pages. This will allow you to show valuable information instead of just sending the error response header

Every SEO knows that speed matters. In this section we will look at different ways to change your server configuration with the .htaccess file to make your site load faster.

Every site is unique. As such I understand that addressing https, www, and the trailing slash with a single redirect will look different for many sites. I have included several versions for different situations.

Learning never ends. But guides do. Enjoy a short summary of what is in this guide to .htaccess for SEO.