Correct 301 Redirect Usage?

I'm changing the file extension of my main index file from .html to .php, therefore I've chosen to use a 301 redirect for SEO purposes, so that I don't lose my current PageRank, backlinks, etc.

So in my .htaccess file I would use:

Redirect 301 /oldindex.html http://www,domain,com/newindex.php

Now, am I supposed to delete the old index file once I create the new one? OR do I keep the old index AND the new index in the same directory?

Also, how long should I keep the 301 redirect active? I've read from some people that it should be kept active forever, but wouldn't common sense tell us that it's safe to remove the 301 redirect once the search engines replace the old index with the new one?

Thanks.
lightmatrixAsked:
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ravenplCommented:
After the redirect works, You may remove the old file.
There's no suggestion how long You should keep the redirect in place. Forever seems to be safest ;)
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Robin HickmottSoftware DeveloperCommented:
If the redirect works the old page will NEVER be accessed as apache will simply kick them onto the new page and not serve it so its safe to delete.

As for how long thats entirely up to you. Theres no harm in leaving it active, once the search engines have updated their records requests for the old one will vanish but general sense says there is always some search engine nobody has heared about who will use it at one point or another.

You *can* always use a rewrite so that that a request for x.html will serve up x.php if you use a dynamic page indexing system such as page.php?action=y then search engines end to favour a url of x.htm rather than the former.


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