301 Redirect: Definition & Best Practices

event

Published

event_available

Updated 2/5/2024

Learn about the 301 redirect, a crucial tool in maintaining seamless user experience and preserving SEO rankings when changing URLs.

301 featured image

301s, or redirects, are essential for website management and SEO. This quick guide covers the basics of 301s and how to use them on your site.

What is a 301?

A 301 redirect is a way for websites to redirect traffic from an old URL to a new one, ensuring that users and search engines are directed to the correct location.

When a user requests a page or resource from a server, the server can respond with different status codes that provide information about the request. A 301 redirect is used when a URL has permanently moved to a new location, and all requests for the original URL should be redirected to the new location.

Importance

301 redirects are important because they help preserve a website’s search engine rankings and avoid broken links.

When users click on a link to a URL that no longer exists, they typically see a 404 error message. This can frustrate users and negatively impact a website’s search engine rankings.

Examples

Here are a few examples of when a 301 redirect might be used:

  • When a website changes its domain name, all URLs on the old domain must be redirected to the equivalent URLs on the new domain using 301 redirects.
  • When a product or service is discontinued, all URLs associated with it may be redirected to a page with similar content or a relevant category.
  • When a website’s page structure is updated, all URLs associated with old pages that no longer exist will need to be redirected to equivalent pages.

Best Practices

Here are some tips for using 301 redirects:

  1. Only use 301 redirects for permanent changes. For temporary redirects, use a 302 redirect instead.
  2. Redirect users to a relevant page, not just the website’s homepage. (When available.)
  3. Update internal links on the website to avoid creating additional redirects and potential issues.
  4. Use a redirect checker tool to ensure that the redirect is functioning properly.

Redirect Tools

Several redirect checker tools are available, both free and paid, that you can use to check the HTTP status codes and redirects on your website. Here are a few:

  • Screaming Frog: Popular SEO tool that can crawl your entire website and identify redirect chains, loops, or errors.
  • Ahrefs: Monitor your redirects and manage your pages accordingly.
  • Redirect Path: Free browser extension that allows you to check the HTTP headers and redirects on your website quickly.
  • Yoast SEO: Premium version offers a useful redirect tool for WordPress sites.

These are just a few examples of the many available redirect checker tools. The tool you choose will depend on your needs and the size of your website.

Further Resources

Here are some additional resources on HTTP 301 redirects:

Bottom Line

Use 301 redirects when you change the location of content or pages. Use 301s when you delete pages and want to direct your users to a new place on your site. However, not every deleted page needs a redirect. Keep user experience in mind and manage your site accordingly, ensuring your audience and search engines can navigate it easily. ?

Topics

Get Powerful Templates

Streamline your content management
with dynamic templates and tools.