What Is A 301 Redirect: As you know Unique Resource Locator, or URL as it is popularly known is the unique address that each and every page on the web has. URL structure is a very important aspect of On-Page SEO. But unfortunately, many bloggers still do not give enough importance to it and end up creating a mess in their website. What happens in the process is that they have to change the URLs and make them SEO friendly later, in the future. For many reasons, changing the URLs later is not a good practice. If not done properly, it will impact the traffic and the overall authority of the website as well. It is, therefore, very important that you set your URLs in a manner that is user-friendly and SEO-friendly at the same time.
But even if you follow the SEO-friendly URL structure, there will be times when you come across other issues that are related to URLs. For example, you might have multiple URLs for more or less the same content. Or you might have to delete a certain page from your website, let’s say, a product page that is not there anymore. Or maybe, you will have to change the URL of a page for some other reasons. What to do then? This is where the concept of Redirection comes in. In this article, we will deal with one particular type of Redirection, called the 301 Redirect. Read on to find out.
What Is A 301 Redirect?
Let us take the following three scenarios:
Scenario 1: Content Has Moved To A New URL
You have a page that explains what is a 301 redirect. The URL for that page is, let’s say, https://domain.com/301-redirect/. At some later point in your blogging career, you write a more elaborate article on the same topic. The URL for this new article is https://domain.com/301-permanent-redirect/. Now you want people to land up on the second URL and not the first one. But you do not want to lose out on traffic and backlinks that the first URL is getting.
Scenario 2: A Page Has Been Deleted
You had a product that doesn’t exist anymore. So, you decide to delete the particular product page. But it is still showing in search results. Many other pages too have linked to that particular page in question. Now, when users are clicking on that link, they are landing up on a 404 Error page which is not good. You want them to another page that is related to the old product, maybe an advanced version of it.
Scenario 3: The URL For A Page Has Been Changed
For whatever reason, you change the URLs of certain pages that were published long back. But search engines are still pointing towards the old URLs and users are getting 404 Errors. Also, there are many pages where the old URLs still exist, in the interlinks and it is not practical to go on to each and every article and change them. So, people who are clicking there too are seeing a 404 Error.
So, what to do in the above-mentioned scenarios? These are inevitable for any website and must be addressed.
The answer is 301 Redirect.
So, What Exactly Is A 301 Permanent Redirect?
A 301 Redirect is a permanent redirect that will redirect both users and search engines to the new URL. This means, if you redirect URL A to URL B using a 301 Redirect, users who go to URL A will land directly on URL B. Even if URL A is deleted or modified but it is showing on search results and has been linked to from various other pages (both internal or external), users will land up on URL B. Even search engines will add URL B to their index.
Advantages Of Using 301 Permanent Redirects
Using 301 Permanent Redirects has many advantages:
- Links pointing to the previous URL will contribute to the traffic of the new URL.
- It can be used to point users to a page in another domain (cross domain redirects).
- According to Moz, using 301 Redirects passes more than 90 percent of the Link Juice or Link Equity to the redirected page.
- Cases of bad user experience due to landing on a page that doesn’t exist will not occur.
How To Implement A 301 Redirect?
There are various methods to set up redirections, like .htaccess method (301 Redirect HTACESS, by editing the .htacess file on server) and PHP method (301 Redirect PHP). However, for budding bloggers who are using WordPress, I would suggest you use various free redirection plugins available for WordPress. I personally use the Redirection plugin as it is easy to use.
Just go to Tools >> Redirection. You will land on the following screen:
Enter the old URL in the “Source URL” field and the new URL (the URL to which you want to redirect) in the “Target URL” filed. Click on “Add Redirect”.
Having said that all, because of redirection, you will lose all the social media shares.
I would also recommend not to implement this for URLs that are driving very high traffic.
I hope I have been able to explain what is a 301 Redirect. If you have any question regarding what is a 301 Redirect, drop your comments below. I will get back to you at the earliest.