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301 redirect

Definition

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another, typically used to ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct page. This helps with SEO by consolidating link equity and ensuring that old URLs don’t result in 404 errors.

Explanation

A 301 redirect is a way to permanently redirect one webpage to another webpage. This is often used when a website changes domain names or when pages are moved to new URLs. When a user or search engine crawler tries to access the old URL, they are automatically sent to the new URL without even knowing it. This helps maintain SEO value and prevents users from encountering broken or missing pages.

In terms of SEO, using 301 redirects correctly is crucial for maintaining the ranking and traffic of a website. By redirecting old URLs to new ones, the website preserves the authority and credibility it has built up over time. Search engines like Google also understand 301 redirects and transfer the ranking signals from the old page to the new one. However, improper implementation of 301 redirects or excessive redirect chains can negatively impact SEO performance by creating confusion for search engines and users.

Examples

Example 1: Company A recently rebranded and changed their domain name from companyA.com to brandnew.com. In order to ensure that their SEO rankings and traffic are not negatively impacted by this change, they implement 301 redirects from all the old URLs to the corresponding new URLs. This allows them to maintain their search engine rankings and ensure that users are still directed to the correct page.

Example 2: An e-commerce website notices that a specific product page is receiving a lot of organic traffic but has a high bounce rate. After analyzing the page, they realize that there are several similar products scattered across different URLs. To consolidate this traffic and improve user experience, they decide to implement 301 redirects from the other URLs to the main product page. This helps to consolidate the link equity and improve the overall performance of the product page in search results.

Best practices

When implementing 301 redirects, it is important to ensure that you are redirecting the old URL to a relevant page on your website. This will help maintain the SEO value of the original URL and ensure that users are directed to a page that is most likely to meet their needs. Additionally, it is recommended to use a server-side redirect rather than a JavaScript redirect, as search engines can more easily interpret server-side redirects.

Another best practice is to update any internal links on your website to point to the new URL. This will help signal to search engines that the old URL has permanently moved to a new location and ensure that users are not met with broken links. Regularly monitoring your website for any broken links and implementing redirects as needed can help maintain a positive user experience and ensure that your website is effectively passing on SEO value to relevant pages.

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