301 Redirects: What Are They, and Why Are They Important?

Perhaps you’ve redesigned or updated your website recently. During these changes, some of your pages may have moved or been deleted. This begs the question: What happens when a user tries to access those pages that are no longer at the web address (URL)?

If the unavailable pages are not redirected, clients may get a page like this when clicking a bookmark or by typing in the address.

To avoid sending customers to your 404 “This page cannot be found” error, it’s best to use a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect that points one URL (the old one) to another URL (the new one). To put it another way, a 301 redirect says “The page that used to exist here is now at this location.”

When users land on a 404 error page, it creates a poor user experience, search engine ranking power is lost and repeat visitors disappear. No one wants this to happen!

“301” refers to the web status code for this type of redirect.  They also impact the search engines who have indexed the original content and will continue to look for it at the original URL until directed otherwise via the 301 redirects.

How are 301 redirects put into practice?

It’s relatively easy to implement redirects. First run a “crawl” on your site to find the addresses that are missing or changed. Then take the crawl export and match new pages with the phantom pages. Third, implement the redirects on your website in your content management system or htaccess file.

With properly implemented 301 redirects you can avoid lost ranking, web traffic and customers.

If you’d like more information on 301 redirects or if you’d like webShine to take care of this SEO task, we’d be happy to talk with you at 970.315.2157, or simply send us an email.

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