Transferring a website from one URL to another is a standard process. But in the process, the odds of your visitors getting lost in the space are high; every website owner should ensure that this doesn’t happen and that every visitor enters the right place. In the digital marketing world, this process is called a 301 redirect. In simplest terms, redirection is a way to forward one URL to a different URL.
This post highlights the importance of a 301 redirect, times when you need to use it, and much more.
301 Redirect: An Overview
As mentioned earlier, a redirect is a request that sends visitors and search engines to a new URL from the original one. There are three primary types of redirects 301, 302, and Meta Refresh. 301 (or moved permanently) redirects are mostly recommended for SEO.
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect that passes full ranking power to the redirected page. It is the HTTP status code that makes it all happen. It is regarded as the best technique to implement redirects on a website.
So, what exactly happens in the redirection stage?
Redirection is a complex process. While redirecting the page, the site owner has to ensure to maintain the SEO value, which can be well received with a 301 redirection.
With 301, the search engine gets a clear signal that the web page has been removed permanently to a new page. Not just this, but the page content or a revised version will be shifted to the new location.
A good point to remember here is that it takes a bit of time for search engines to discover a 301 redirection, identify it, and credit the new page with rankings of the older page. Further, this process can get lengthier if the web crawlers don’t visit the new site for any reason. It gets trickier when it comes to changing the content for an entire site and its domain. Spammers and abusers often cause a delay in 301s; that is, it takes considerable time to reach optimal conditions.
Now that we understand the basics of 301 Redirection let’s jump to the usage part.
When should one use a 301 Redirects?
There are certain scenarios when you should positively use 301 as a redirection tool.
- When you have to change a URL.
The reasons can be any, from a poorly optimized URL to the need to re-organize the folders structure on your site.
- When you have to recreate a piece of content.
There are times when the site owner might want to rebuild an existing piece of content on an entirely new web page, for instance, to update the page template.
This case can be addressed by implementing a simple 301 redirect from the old location to the new one. Once the transfer is done, unpublish and archive the former page.
- When you have to consolidate many pieces of content.
Suppose your website has multiple pieces of overlapping content that target the exact keywords or cover similar topics. A brilliant approach to optimize it would be to consolidate overall content. You can use a 301 redirect to ensure earned visibility isn’t thrown away with the redirection. Once the consolidation process is completed, it is ideal to set a 301 redirect from each older page to a new page.
- When you have to migrate content from one domain to another.
It is essential to redirect from old content to new one when moving your site from one domain to another. It is a relatively easy task when transferring a domain that needs to be in the same layout and structure. Just remember to choose suitable redirection choices to maintain the quality of original content and in order to retain the visibility of older site pages on the new page.
Events where you should use 302 instead of 301 Redirects
Typically, site owners prefer 301 redirects in most cases. However, there are exceptional cases that demand a 302 redirect. These cases are as follows:
- When you are thinking of a phased website launch plan.
- In cases that don’t include SEO functionalities, like login gateways or e-commerce checkouts.
- While using a temporary holding page because you don’t want to confuse search engine ranking by permanently shifting your rich content to an empty holding page.
301 Redirect mistakes to avoid
- Do not set a 302 Redirect between versions of your domains.
- Avoid setting a 301 Redirect after creating a new page.
- Avoid using a 302 Redirect while migrating content.
- Avoid redirecting links to older and outdated content.
- Do not redirect a page with a different intent than the destination page.
We hope this post makes it clear to you the importance of a 301 Redirect for maintaining a healthy site. The right application ensures the following:
- Signal both users and search engines about the content transfer to the new page.
- Aids web page to evolve its web presence.
- Keeps the user journey clear and understandable.
- Retains the visibility of search engines between iterations.
Just remember to get acquainted with redirect implementation in the existing website environment. And ensure gauge the updated website’s SEO strength, speed, and mobile-friendliness.
Tell us in the comment section if you have any further questions regarding the topic.