Apache Redirect / Handlers

Hi everyone,

I’m having trouble finding what I need probably because I do not know what its called.
Let me explain:

The previous version of one of my websites was static and so the URLs looked like this:


A few months ago I re-did the site to be completely dynamic. There are no individual
pages for product reviews, just one which pulls the right data from a database. So now,
my URLs look like this:


Some fellow ex-googler who specialize in SEO told me that the previous URL scheme
was better for search engines because it had the product name. Of course, I have set
up redirects from the old naming scheme to the new one but what I would like to do is
have ‘review.php’ handle the request for ‘review_XXXX_YYYY.php’ without actually doing
a redirect… and do this for past and future products. I don’t want to have to actually
create all these ‘review_XXXX_YYYY.php’, there would be hundreds, just make it seem
like they exist to visitors.

Is this possible? If so, how?

Thanks in advance,


I am not an expert, but I think you need to create a url rewritting rules in your .htaccess file and enabled this service on your server.

Some reading : Comprehensive guide to .htaccess- intro

I’d recommend you do a little SEO research before you do anything, in the arms race between hackers who attempt to game search and the engines’ responses to serve unadulterated results, no single thing works, the more obvious hacks like your fellow googler aren’t likely as valid anymore and nowadays your searchability is usually built on a point system.

Recommend instead for starters:

  1. Invite search engines to crawl your site.
  2. Create special SEO files, each search engine will advise you how to do this.
  3. Link to other sites with similar topics and request they link to you (The better reputation sites you link with, the better)
  4. Use metatags

If you do the first recommendation, you probably don’t need to change your URLs.
Re-writing headers is something I usually do to enable local/remote URLs for web resources, and can put a signficant load on the machine…


Thank you for the concern.

I do trust my sources, they are experts in their fields and we all worked for Google until
recently. Relevant URLs help. This particular site is already crawled daily which helps
with the content being index

This type of optimization though is made to increasing relevance for results which is actually
pretty much separate from ranking. I won’t go at length on this but the basic idea is that such
thinks like URLs, Titles and headers help determine how relevant is a result. This is combined
with ranking to form the actual search-results and order them.

  • Itai

Yes, ‘Rewriting Rules’ is what I was looking for!

The link you mentioned does not have much on them but Google does … now that I know what to search for.
For reference, here is a site with some example: 5 useful url rewriting examples using .htaccess


  • Itai

Happy for you it does the trick. :wink:

I wouldn’t want to argue SEO with anyone who actually worked in SEO (if any of your Google compadres did so), but I would think in the hierarchy of “increasing relevance” that URLs are obviously one of the easiest ways to attempt to game (mislead).

But, the bottom line and most important principle I would think is that such guessing is problematic.
The only way to be truly productive is to follow the published recommendations for the specific search engine or pay someone who has done the research/experimentation/espionage to know what isn’t published.

For example, IMO the following are the two best links I could get (yes, I was curious) about SEO methods and their general importance… Neither of them really mentions extracting keywords from URLs…

Search Engine Ranking Factors | SEOmoz
20 SEO Terms Every Good Inbound Marketer Should Know « Sales Intelligence Blog by InsideView

Still IMO,


One more thing just to be clear. The goal of SEO is not to game anything but to make it easiest for search-engines to understand what a site is about. That is one reason keywords were invented but those were too easy to cheat with because they are invisible to the user.

Due to this many search engines now ignore keywords but instead look at things that are highly visible to users such as title tags, headings and, yes, URLs. URLs with meaningful information are important (to users and search engines) and, if you search on Google, portions that match your
query get highlighted to indicate the relevance to users.