Have you ever clicked on a link to a website, only to see that link change in your address bar as the page loads? That’s a redirect. So, what is a 301 redirect? And does that mean there are multiple kinds of URL redirects?
In fact, there are five types of redirects: 301, 302, 303, 307, and 308. But we’re here to focus in on 301. This redirect ensures that online traffic will reach the most recent version of a URL.
Let’s say you created a page for your spa’s amazing manicure services, but then updated it and made an entirely new one. What’s going to happen to your backlinks then? If you don’t have a 301 redirect in place, they’re just going to take potential clients to an error page. By now this is starting to sound pretty important. But how do you work with these redirects?
Behind the Scenes
It’s a good idea to start this discussion with what’s going on behind the scenes on a web page at an HTML level. When you enter a URL into an address bar and click “enter” there’s an HTML code that runs while your browser collects that page to present to you.
Entering a 301 redirect into this code is what you must do to facilitate the right communication when gathering your web page. It’s kind of like filing a change of address form when you move. What does this code look like? Something like this:
Redirect 301/out.html http://www.mywebsite.com/new.html
It’s pretty simple in its statement of redirect type, old page, and new.
And what if the page wasn’t moved but deleted entirely? If you have links to it anywhere online, you’re going to want to put a 301 to the next logical page so you don’t lose that valuable SEO!
When Should I Use Them?
There are a few instances where it’ll be useful to take advantage of 301 redirecting. If you’re moving your entire website to a new domain, it is especially useful. Or, if you know that there are multiple variations on a URL your clients might enter when searching.
For us at LinkNow Media, users who type in linknowmedia.com into their browser will automatically be taken to linknow.com.
This code is also great for cleaning up lengthy dynamic URLs. Want to link to that page but don’t want to post a massive URL that looks like spam? 301 is your answer.
Essentially, by employing 301 redirects, you can make sure you’ll never lose valuable traffic because you wanted to rebrand or update areas of your website.
A URL is a URL, and if you change it even a little you lose the guarantee that it will work properly. By using 301 redirects throughout your website, you can make sure you don’t lose any of your linking power when you make website changes.
301 redirects offer a permanent answer for redirecting, not to be confused with the temporary redirection of a 302. However, when you layer redirects it can get messy.
If you’re uncertain about HTML, the best way to ensure your redirects are working the way they should is to partner up with an experienced web development company like LinkNow Media! We’ll make the whole process easy.