What are 301 redirects?
A 301 redirect is an HTTP status code that is used to manage web traffic and guarantee that visitors and search engines are sent to the correct location on the internet. 301 redirects inform users and search engines that a page has been permanently moved. When a browser or user attempts to access a 301-redirected page, the server sends them to the new location.
This redirection may be beneficial in a variety of scenarios. For example, if a website is redesigned and the URLs of certain pages change, 301 redirects enable the old URLs to refer to the relevant new URLs. This avoids “404 Not Found” messages for visitors and maintains the website’s search engine rankings. It also guarantees that any link juice (SEO value) acquired by the old page is transmitted to the new one, boosting the overall SEO efforts of the website.
When to use 301 redirects?
Here are some frequent instances in which a 301 redirect may be required:
1. Changing your website’s domain name:
If you decide to change your domain name, you should use 301 redirects to redirect all visitors from the old domain to the applicable pages on the new domain.
2. Updating URL structure:
If you update the URL structure of your website, such as changing the slug or rearranging the categories, you should implement 301 redirects to ensure that users and search engines access the new URLs without encountering broken links.
3. Migrating to HTTPS:
When migrating from HTTP to HTTPS for security concerns, you should utilize 301 redirects to transfer all HTTP traffic to the new HTTPS URLs.
4. Consolidating pages:
If you have numerous pages on similar themes or with comparable information and wish to integrate them into one, you’ll need to use 301 redirects to redirect the previous URLs to the new unified URL.
5. Handling deleted pages:
Instead of showing a 404 error page when a page is permanently removed from your website, use a 301 redirect to lead readers to a relevant and existing page.
How do 301 redirects impact SEO?
Regarding SEO, 301 redirects are essential for keeping your website’s ranks and general search exposure. The benefit of employing 301 redirects is preserving the previous URL’s SEO value.
When a search engine sees a 301 redirect, it recognizes that the old and new URLs are linked, and the SEO signals from the previous URL (such as backlinks, keywords, and other ranking variables) are now moved to the new URL. This ensures your website retains all of the hard-earned SEO advantages from the previous page.
However, if you do not employ 301 redirects when changing the structure of your website or moving to a new domain, search engines will see the new URL as an entirely distinct page with no previous SEO value. Consequently, you may see a dip in ranks and organic traffic when search engines re-evaluate the new page’s relevancy and authority.