What is a 301 redirect and why is it important?

What does 301 redirect do?

Imagine you moved house but forgot to redirect your mail. All the correspondence you’ve built up over the years; the utility bills, company letters, favourite takeaway menus, the yearly birthday cards, they will all be sent to your old address… but you’re not there anymore.

All that valuable information will get lost and you have to start again with your new address. Just like the mail forwarding service, 301 redirect migrates your old URL addresses to your new URL locations, taking with it all the valuable and detailed SEO content you’ve worked hard to build up. Essentially automatically saying to both the user and search engine, ‘hey you know that content you’re searching for? It’s now over here.’

When to use 301 redirect?

  • If you are permanently migrating your old website to a new website and have new URLs.
  • You want to update or change a page URL.
  • You want to delete a page but direct users to an appropriate alternative.
  • Moving to a new domain, (perhaps you’re rebranding?).
  • Re-organising your site.

Why is 301 redirect important?

We’ve all seen the dreaded ‘404 – page not found’ message at some point, it’s frustrating, isn’t it? It can also put a user off from attempting to continue to navigate through your page. The user experience is an important reason to use the 301 direct. Creating a seamless (unseen) transition of the old URL material to the new makes user experience effortless in them finding what they want and thus keeping customers accessing your content.

It’s therefore important to make sure all loose ends are redirected to avoid any 404 bloopers and lost SEO value. There may be pages/URLs that are no longer required on the new website or content that has changed. Best practice is to make logical redirections so that what users are searching for is honoured as close as possible.

You may notice that when searching the web on occasions the URL isn’t quite what you clicked on or typed in? You’ve just experienced a 301 redirect, clever right?

As we previously mentioned, 301 redirect is important for maintaining SEO value. The SEO you’ve hard to build will be preserved in the new location. The 301 signal code helps search engines know where the content has moved to which keeps their index nicely up-to-date.

How to use 301 redirect?

Need help? Our web development team can support your 301 needs to make sure that any changes are completed smoothly and without faults. Contact us today or complete our enquiry form for more information.