What Is a 301 Redirect?
A 301 redirect is a directive given to crawl bots to permanently redirect all incoming traffic from one page, or folder(s) to another page, folder or domain.
Why are 301 Redirects Important?
301 redirects are essential for good SEO because they ensure that you don’t undermine UX (User Experience).
If an end user clicks on your link wanting to discover more information about products and services and is met with a 404, they’re not going to be happy.
Equally, broken links or bad external linking can lead to websites receiving a drop in traffic.
This can see websites missing out on business, or even worse, may prohibit crawlers from crawling and indexing vital pages.
301 redirects can also help websites avoid publishing duplicate content, which typically get flagged up and potentially lead to a Google penalty.
When Should You Use a 301 Redirect?
There are a few different scenarios when you should implement a 301 redirect, including:
- When your URL location has been altered
- You have a new website that you want to redirect traffic to
- Websites linking to you have written your URL incorrectly
- Your web page or its content has been deleted
What to Avoid With 301 Redirects?
301 redirects are a great tool that helps you maintain link equity and page ranking when you have changed your site’s architecture or fixed linking issues. But, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing 301 redirects.
1. Choose a 301 Over 302
302 redirects should only be used for temporary relocation, whereas 301 should be used for a permanent redirection to a new location.
2. Don’t Forget About Your Old Internal Links
You’ll leave end users in the dark if you don’t redirect old internal links. This can lead to a higher bounce rate and less dwell time.
3. Don’t Jump the Gun With a New Domain Before Using 301 Redirect
This can be dangerous and result in your website losing traffic and lead to a drop in your SERP ranking.
301 Redirect Best Practices
You should follow a few best practices when it comes to 301 redirects.
- Make sure you remove pages that have been assigned a 301 redirect from your sitemap. This will ensure that you don’t waste crawl budget
- Amend redirect loops. These are bad for the bot and the user, and will send both in a circle back to a particular URL in the chain
- Redirect 404’s with a 301. This will boost UX and send the user and crawler to a relevant page, rather than a dead end
- Ensure that the 301 redirects HTTP to HTTPS
- Make sure you don’t 301 redirect to a dead page. This will have the exact opposite effect than the one that you are seeking, so watch out
Redirect Checker Tools
Here are some tools to help you identify redirect loops and check and analyze your redirect chains.
How Can We Help?
Got a complex web of pages that require redirects and don’t know where to start? Contact us and we could pair you with a team that will put a fresh pair of eyes onto your plans.
If you reckon you’ve got it covered, our training courses are worth a look for when you want to get ahead of the competition regarding your whole SEO strategy.