What is a 301 Redirect? A 301 Redirect is an HTTP status code which is used to redirect users and search engines from one URL to another. It is the most commonly used redirection code and tells the search bots that any link equity and signals associated with the URL being redirected are forwarded to the destination URL.

What are the Benefits of 301 Redirects?

  1. Improved Website Usability – A 301 redirect helps streamline the user’s navigation through your website by sending them to the proper page. This improves the overall user experience, as well as helping them find the information they’re looking for faster.

  2. Increased Page Ranking – Utilizing a 301 Redirect from an outdated page to a new page (or from an old domain to a new domain) can help preserve page ranking. This makes it easier for search engines to recognize which page should be displayed for certain searches.

  3. Maintained SEO Efforts – Because page ranking is transferred from the old page to the new page, your SEO efforts are retained across the redirection. This makes sure your SEO campaign is not seen as starting from scratch on each page.

  4. Easy To Implement – Many new CMS (Content Management Systems) make it extremely easy to implement a 301 Redirect. All you have to do is enter the old and new URLs into the CMS platform and the redirect is automatically applied.

When Should You Use a 301 Redirect?

  1. When You Rename or Move a Page – A 301 Redirect comes in handy when renaming or moving pages on your website. By using a Redirect, you can maintain page ranking and send visitors to the new page seamlessly.

  2. When Phasing Out Products – When you are no longer selling a product or service, use a 301 Redirect from the product page to the most relevant replacement. That way the customer can still find what they’re looking for and you can retain any link equity and SEO efforts that were on the original product page.

  3. When Switching to a New Domain – Whenever you make the switch to a new domain, use a 301 Redirect to automatically send users and search engines to the new location. Again, this helps direct visitors as well as preserve the link equity and SEO efforts of the old domain.

What to Watch For When Implementing a 301 Redirect?

  1. Use Absolute URLs – Make sure to use absolute URLs when implementing a 301 redirect. This should include the full URL protocol (http[s]://) as well as including the first forward slash from the domain.

  2. Don’t Redirect Everything – Even though it’s easy to do a blanket redirect for all of your pages, this is not recommended. If you have multiple pages or content that can be redirected, pick and choose the pages you redirect so as to not slow down the user’s visit to your website.

  3. Check for Errors – While most CMS platforms make it easy to implement a 301 Redirect, mistakes can still happen. Use a tool like Screaming Frog to check for any errors in your 301 Redirects once they’re all in place.

  4. Set a Canonical URL – When redirecting multiple pages to the same URL, you should set a canonical URL. This tells the search engine which URL should be prioritized and which pages are duplicates. This isn’t required, but could potentially help when it comes to duplicate content.

A 301 Redirect is an important part of maintaining a website. It helps improve user experience, maintain search engine ranking, and make sure all SEO efforts are not lost when renaming or moving pages. With that being said, it’s important to make sure you pay attention to the setup of your 301 Redirects to ensure there are no errors. If you stick to the above tips, you’ll be able to make sure your users, search engines, and SEO efforts are all taken care of properly.

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