Have you ever wondered why your website is ranking on the second page of Google rather than the first? The answer could be that 301 redirects are missing from your site.
It’s essential to 301 redirect your old URLs to new ones so that search engine crawlers know which page is the current one. But when do you need a 301 redirection?
What is 301 Redirect?
301 is an HTTP status code that a web server sends to a browser. 301 signals a permanent redirect, which means all users who access an old URL will be automatically redirected to the new URL. Redirecting to a live page that is relevant or similar to the one that is no longer needed will provide the best user experience for visitors and ensure that any backlink value is directed correctly instead of being lost on the old page.
A 301 redirect is similar to a mail forwarder. When you move a piece of content away from a specific URL, anyone who attempts to visit it will receive a 404 – page not found error.
When should you use 301 redirects?
You should use 301 redirects when a page is no longer helpful, relevant, or removed. They can also be used for rebuilding sites, where URLs are rearranged into cleaner, more organized pages. Redirecting any old URLs that won’t remain the same after a website rebuild is significant. Use 301 redirects when:
- Change of domain
- Making dynamic URLs search engine friendly by redirecting them to shorter URLs
- Avoiding duplicate content issues; for example, if you have several blogs on the same topic and want to aggregate them into one post
Benefits of 301 redirects for SEO
301 redirect are of great importance for search engine optimization and can make or break a site rebuild. The benefits include:
- Keep visitors engaged with your site: If visitors click on a link and get a 404 page, they may become frustrated and leave the site. 301 redirects make it easy for visitors to land on the site and navigate, engaging with content that could potentially turn them into customers or followers.
- Taking old URLs out of a search engine index: When a search engine spider encounters a 301 redirect, it indicates that the old URL be removed from their index and replaced with the new one instead. Thus, the search engines will eventually replace the old page with the new one in their index – and the old URL will redirect visitors to the new URL whenever they try to access it.
Search engines will receive a 404 Not Found error code if you do not implement a 301 redirect whenever you remove a page from your site. This can result in it being completely dropped from the search engine’s index over time.
- Link equity: According to SEOs, 301 redirects pass around 90% of link equity from the redirected page to the redirected page, making them the preferred choice over 3xx redirects. In contrast, 302 redirects are temporary, so search engines may not pass on the link equity they should to the new URL.