Intro to 301 redirects

 

301 redirects are useful if you need to permanently route traffic from an old path to a new URL. There are several use cases:

  • Reorganized URL structure
  • Replaced or redesigned site using different URLs
  • Moved to a completely new domain
  • Secured alternative domains in case of typos
 

There are other types of redirects, such as 302 redirect which can indicate a temporary relocation, but 301 redirects are best used if you need to permanently route incoming traffic to a new URL.

Maintaining SEO ranking power with 301 redirects

As an example, an old URL has recently been replaced with a new URL (e.g. yoursite.com/old-url has been changed to yoursite.com/new-url).

When using a search engine to search for your webpage, your old URL may still show up in the search results. Any user that clicks on the old URL will be led to a 404 page.

When there is a 301 redirect set up and a user clicks on the old URL, the server will detect that attempt and route them to the specified new URL.

If there are no redirects set up, Google will eventually index your new site structure and old URLs will get updated. However, 301 redirects are a best practice, especially if you want to maintain ranking power from the old URL.

 

301 redirects and links on the web

A second consideration to make is referral links on other websites. For example, an old URL may be referenced in a blog post or a forum post.  

A 301 redirect will ensure any incoming traffic from referral sources will be rerouted to the new URL instead of a 404 page.

 

301 redirects and printed material

A third consideration to make is old URLs that have been bookmarked, printed on business cards or other materials, or typed directly into the browser. If a 301 redirect is set up, any user that uses these methods will be routed to your new URL.

 

Learn how to set up 301 redirects.