What are 301 Redirects and How can They Help Your Website?
Redirects are important for the flow of a website but managing them can be confusing to learn at first. Here, we will discuss everything you need to know about redirections, their importance, and how to create a 301 redirect.
What is a Redirect?
A redirect is what allows a website to move from one location to another. In other words, redirects allow for users and search engines to be taken to a different URL than they originally requested. Without redirects, a webpage would not be available under more than one URL address.
There are different types of redirects, and each redirect has a status code such as 301, 302, 307, or meta refresh. All of these redirects have a different function or purpose.
What is a 301 Redirect?
A 301 redirect is a specific type of redirect. “301” refers to the HTTP status of the redirect type.
In short, 301 redirects allow for a page to be permanently moved under a different URL. It is different from other redirects in that it creates a permanent redirection, as opposed to a temporary one.
This type of redirect is extremely important because it allows the domain authority and search rankings to remain the same even if the website’s domain is permanently changed for any reason.
Essentially, a 301 redirect causes a person or search engine to be sent to a different destination than what was originally clicked. So, when you click on a website link, the redirect automatically takes you to a different site or page than what the link originally showed.
Why Pages are Normally Redirected
Here are the most popular reasons for a redirect:
- The site or page is not active
- A URL is faulty
- A page needs to change its URL (i.e. “domain.com/about” to domain.com/about-our-company”)
- A website migration was recently performed
Why are Redirects Important?
Redirects are important for a number of reasons. Firstly, they allow for a company to still have online exposure even if a website is broken, inactive, or under maintenance. In other words, the redirect keeps the Google or Bing indexes up-to-date so that the website is still usable.
For this reason, 301 redirects allow for a website’s SEO and search rankings to remain the same even if the main URL is faulty, under construction and its content has been updated.
Secondly, redirects allow for your customers to land on functioning sites, which will improve your client base. Without redirects, you could easily find that customers are constantly landing on dead or overcrowded pages, which discourages customers from viewing or purchasing your products.
How Do You Create a 301 Redirect?
There are several ways that you can create 301 redirect URLs. If you’re using Shopify, one of the easiest ways is through the app Easy Redirects App. This app allows you to easily implement one or many 301 directs while simultaneously managing other errors like 404 errors (when a webpage is not found).
The Easy Redirects app takes away a lot of the stress and research that normally goes into implementing redirects. More specifically, the app will help you with the following:
- Remove issues involving manual redirects
- Create smooth transitions with no traffic loss
- Maintain current site rankings
- Migrating to Shopify
- Maintain sales
- Prevent customers from landing on broken links
- Eliminate page errors
- Import bulk URL redirects from a CSV file to Shopify
- Automatic 404 tracking
- Automated alters
- Tracks and resolves 404 error pages
- Easy install
If you’re on a different platform like Wordpress, there are a few ways. Either using a plugin, or have your developer add these in manually via the .htaccess file (which is essentially what a plugin does, just without the plugin and unnecessary code!)
Redirects and SEO
Redirects greatly improve SEO so long as the redirect is done correctly. Poorly implemented redirects can result in a loss of organic traffic or rankings. So, it is imperative to implement redirects correctly so that they boost your SEO, not hurt it.
Implementing Redirects for Site Migrations and Redesigns
In order for site migrations or website redesigns to run smoothly, all previous pages need to be moved to the new location. If not, the pages will not enhance traffic, and search engines may view the new site as a different site from the original, creating duplicate content or simply directing users to an old website or one that doesn’t exist any longer.
When migrating your site, it is imperative to correctly redirect your URLs. If the redirection is not implemented properly, you will most likely experience a loss in rankings and revenue.
Avoiding Redirect Chains and Loops
When implementing redirects, you should avoid chains and loops.
- Redirect chains: Redirect chains occur when URL “A” redirects to URL “B,” which redirects to URL “C.” It is best to redirect URL “A” to URL “C,” and cut out URL “B” entirely.
- Redirect Loops: Redirect loops are when URL “A” redirects somewhere else but ends up back at URL “A.” You can check for redirect loops using a redirect chain report.
301 redirects allow you to redirect a page to a completely new URL without losing rankings or domain authority. If you're migrating your site, or redesigning it and want to discuss and/or implement this, don’t hesitate to contact us!