Have you ever experienced moving to a new house, and then once you are settled, you realized that you forgot to have your mails forwarded to your new address?

The same thing can happen whenever you update your website. You made some changes on your web pages, deleted or moved some blog posts, or you moved to a new domain altogether. 

Unfortunately, your actions lead to a 404 error.

While this may not have an adverse effect on your ranking, it can hinder your site visitors’ user experience. Thus, it is important that you have a 301 redirect set up. 

What is 301 Redirect?

Hubspot defines 301 redirect as “a permanent redirect from one URL to another.” This can be because of any of the following:
  • Your business moved to a new web domain (e.g. from www.abccompany.com to www.defcompany.com)
  • You removed an old page on your website
  • You moved an old content from one part of your website to another
When you change your website address, it will be difficult for your part to inform your customers one-by-one about it. It might also be difficult for them to transition since it takes some time to get use to typing a new URL on their browser’s address bar.

In addition, moving and removing old content on your website can lead to a dead-end (404 error). It is like someone sent you a letter to your old address, and when the mailman arrived, no one was there.

This is where 301 redirect comes in. In fact, there are various ways on how you can set up a redirect.

Why Set Up a Redirect?

Aside from what was mentioned earlier, there are other reasons digital marketing professionals opt for a URL redirect:

To Maximize Domain Authority

There are instances when an Internet user types in “https://abccompany.com” and there are those who would type in “abccompany.com.” Regardless, they still land on the same site because of a redirect. Although in this case, you can do it by modifying your website’s .htaccess file. As a result, ABC Company retains its search authority.

To Bring Your Site Visitors to Your New Website

Setting up a 301 redirect can also maintain your business’ inbound link equity in case you rename your company and website. Meaning, you can pass on whatever authority and power you got from your old web address to your new one. Not to mention that it will be easy for you to redirect site visitors to your new website.

To Maintain Your Original Website’s Authority

There are times when a company purchases a domain that is similar in name or subject matter (e.g. abc-company.com is similar to abccompany.com). This can help you generate more website traffic. But without a redirect, search engine bots will treat your domains separately.

For both scenes #2 and #3, you can install a plugin to implement a 301 redirect for WordPress sites. Otherwise, you can use a redirection service available on your website’s cPanel.
How 301 Redirect can Affect Your SEO

Before 2016, it is assumed that a page loses about 15% of its PageRank.

In case you do not know, PageRank is a formula that Google created in order to judge how valuable a page is. Although it is not the search engine giant’s sole ranking factor, it is believed that there is a correlation between a PageRank and a website’s search engine ranking.

However, Gary Illyes debunked that redirecting URLs can lose your domain’s PageRank back in 2016. This means that your new URL (aka the redirected page) should have the same power as the original URL or page.

That said, 301 redirect is a big deal!

When to Use 301 Redirects

Every page on your website is important, even if they are old and no longer provide value to your readers. That’s because these pages have accumulated traffic and inbound links to your site through time.

That said, here are some instances on when you should use a 301 redirect:
  • Every time a URL changes
  • When content was moved or removed
  • There is a change in the website’s navigational structure
Doing a redirect is important for SEO purposes more frequently than you would think. Thus, whenever you will make changes on your website, always ask yourself “Do we need to implement a 301 redirect?”

Fact: 301 Redirect is a Big Deal

According to Sophia Bernazzani, “A 301 redirect is key to maintaining a website’s domain authority and search rankings when the site’s URL is changed for any reason.”

Instead of seeing a 404 error page, your site visitors will be redirected to the right page instead. The same thing goes when search engine bots decide to visit and crawl your website. As a result, nothing will interrupt your site visitors’ user experience and search engine bots will not hit a dead end.

Keep in mind that your 301 redirect is like a traffic officer or a map. It helps direct a website visitor to the right spot.