What is a 301 Redirect and and why are they important for your website?
Tuesday 28 January 2014
301 Redirects play a vitally important role in website SEO and are used by webmasters extensively. In fact, due to the wide use of open source CMS systems that automatically handle redirects behind the scenes, many webmasters are making use of 301 redirects without any knowledge of them.
But what is a 301 redirect and why is it so important?
What is a 301 Redirect?
A 301 Redirect is a simple HTTP status code. It's a directive returned by a web server to your browser when a page is requested. However instead of returning a page of content, the web server simply returns a new URL, or web address, for the browser to go and request instead. The browser then 'redirects' the user to the new URL.
What are 301 Redirects used for?
The main purpose of a 301 Redirect is to tell the browser that a page has permanently moved to a different address. This differs from other redirects that may used to indicate temporary page redirection.
As well as allowig a browser to cache the redirect, a 301 also allows search engine crawlers to update their databases with the new page address.
Why are 301 Redirects so important for SEO?
301 Redirects are especially important for SEO when making major changes or redesigning your website. The simple reason is that it allows search engines like Google and Bing to find the new addresses for your equivalent pages and index them.
Failure to use 301 Redirects when relaunching a website can lead to an SEO disaster if your old site was reasonably well ranked in the major search engines. The search engines fail to find your new content and the search value of your old content is lost forever.
By deploying a 301 Redirect, the search engines can pick up your new content faster and the value of the old content is not entirely lost.
It's also important if you rename a page and the URL changes, that you make sure the old URL is mapped to the new one with a 301 Redirect, so any links to the old page get put through to the new one.
Managing Site Launches Effectively with 301 Redirects
At Lucid Crystal whenever a new site is launched we ensure that it's part of the project to determine and map any lost page addresses in the transition. Many web agencies simply deploy open source technology without understanding the fundamentals beneath, and can miss this vital step.
If you're launching a new website and you have invested a lot of time and money into your SEO and search engine ranking of your important pages then be sure that this is not wasted by asking your web agency to map your old page addresses with simple 301 redirects.