It is a method of redirecting user from the old page url to the new page url. 301 redirect is a permanent redirect and is helpful in passing the link juice from the old url to the new url.
Put just; a 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another.
Example, if we needed to redirect www.example.com/ to www.example.com/new, we’ would need to perform a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one. Once this redirect has been implemented (which I will go on to explain), someone typing in www.example.com/old would land on www.example.com/new via the 301 redirect. The HTTP response status code 301 Moved Permanently should only be used for permanent redirection, meaning any links featuring the URL that the 301 Moved Permanently response is received for should be redirected to the new URL provided.
Why Set Up a 301 Redirect?
The reasons marketers might set up a 301 redirect are:
1.To associate standard web conventions (http://, www., etc.) with one URL to maximize DA (Domain Authority)
2.To rename or rebrand a site with a different URL.
3.To deliver traffic to a website from other URLs owned by the same organization.
When and Why Should You Use 301 Redirects
It is essential to remember that changing even the smallest aspect of a pages URL structure could cause said page to drop out of the search results only, which is why a 301 redirect is necessary for maintaining the traffic/rankings that page may have been generating before the change in its URL structure. Indeed, the examples I have provided so far center around moving a page from one URL on your site to another. However, 301 redirects can be used in some other scenarios, including:
- Moving to a new domain (example.com )
- Cleaning up changing URLs and redirecting them to shorter search engine friendly versions
- Preventing duplicate content problems caused by www and non-www versions of your pages, along with other common causes of duplicate content
It surprises me how many people don’t set up a 301 redirect between the http:// and the http://www versions of their domain. It is a little-known fact outside of the SEO industry that http://example.com and http://www.example.com are technically considered two different websites due to the addition of ‘www‘ within one of the versions of the page. It is imperative, then, to ensure you have set up a 301 redirect between the http:// and the http://www versions of your website.
If you’re thinking on developing a new website in the future, then it’s worth bearing in mind that 301 redirects are required in a new website migration project, especially when moving to a new domain. It is very likely that pages on your current site will have created inbound links over the times. Therefore you need to ensure you carry this weight across to your new URL’s if they are going to be replaced due to a site redesign. It might be reassuring at this point to reiterate the words of Google’s head of webspam (Matt Cutts), who states that “301 redirects can carry an identical amount of PageRank as that passed on by a link“.
How To Set Up 301 Redirects
In the large majority of cases, a web server’s response is configured using what’s called a .htaccess file. This is an innocent text file that sits in the root directory of your website. The purpose of performing a 301 redirect, you will need to place a .htaccess file in your root directory -if one doesn’t already exist. You can create/edit a .htaccess file using any plain-text editing tools like Notepad or TextEdit – before naming the data you have created/edited ‘.htaccess.’
To explain the text that should be contained within your .htaccess file, I will start by using a simple example such as renaming a page on your website. For instance, if you wanted to change a pages URL from:
To ensure the old page redirects to the new page, you would need to add the following code to your .htaccess file:
redirect 301 /old http://www.example.com/new
Here’s an example of what the code above means:
“redirect 301,” tells search engines and browsers that your page has been moved permanently.
“/old” – provides the old location of the page.
“http://www.example.com/new” – is the new location of the page you’re telling the server to redirect visitors to. This part of the code requires the entire URL to work correctly.
It is important to note that if you are moving multiple pages, you will need to include a redirect statement for every page you’re driving. Having a single line for each page is what I would recommend is the safest path if you want to confirm that your commands are pulled up by search engines.