A Beginner’s Guide to 301 RedirectsAuthor: Jamie | Filed under: Search Engine Optimisation
In this article I’ll look at a technical aspect of SEO every website owner should know about.
Here’s my beginner’s guide to 301 redirects.
What is a 301 redirect?
A 301 redirect is the process of redirecting a page on your website to a new page if it’s moved permanently.
This could be if you’ve decided to merge two different pages on your website or have had your website redesigned and changed the URLs (web page addresses) or the domain name.
Why are 301 redirects useful?
301 redirects have two main purposes. First of all, it’s useful for users to be redirected to a relevant page rather than being faced with an error message.
The second reason is for SEO purposes. A permanent 301 redirect is said to pass 90-99% of the previous page’s reputation to the new page. So if you’ve spent a lot of time adding new content, getting incoming links and achieving good Google rankings, you’ll obviously want that to transfer to the new page rather than having to start again from scratch.
How do I implement them?
I won’t go into the technical part of how to implement 301 redirects yourself. To be honest, I’m not technically minded and I think it would only serve to confuse you if I had a go at explaining it here.
My advice would be to speak to your web designer to ask if they can do it for you. If you’ve designed your own website and want to give it a go, then there are resources like this one which explain it better than I ever could.
What happens if I don’t use 301 redirects?
I know plenty of small business owners who’ve changed their websites and had no knowledge of 301 redirects so never implemented them.
The main problems associated with this are: if you’ve built up lots of links on other sites, any traffic from those may end up being faced with an error page rather than the one they were looking for.
The second reason which was mentioned earlier is you’ll lose any positive reputation with Google you’ve built up for each page. That means when your new pages get indexed, your search engine rankings will take a dive as you’ll be starting again with brand new pages in Google’s eyes.
For more information on redirects I can recommend http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/redirection