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.
What is the .htaccess file? Why use it for SEO?
We will cover some of the basics in this section.
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.
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.