The lucky number of a search engine professional is 301. This is the server header status code for a type of redirection that carries out many critical functions for natural search performance.
What is a 301 redirect?
Imagine that you are lost. You do not know where you are, but you have to go to your destination. And it would be nice if other people did not get lost in the future.
Then you meet the nicest stranger in the world. It stands just at the right time when you feel the most lost. It shows you where to go and makes sure no one gets lost again by coming this way.
This stranger is the 301 redirection. Translated to the world of technology, the 301 redirection captures requests that a server receives for a page that has been moved to a new URL and instantly transmits that request – that this either a human or a bot – at the new location.
A 301 redirect sends a special message to search engine robots that interpret the 301 status code as a "permanent redirect". In response, the bots associate the link back authority that this redirected page has collected with the new URL, which gives the new page the power to assume the performance of the old page rankings. , more or less.
… the 301 redirect captures queries that a server receives for a page that has been moved to a new URL and instantly transmits that request – that's it. act of a human or a bot – at the new location.
Finally, the 301 redirect prompts search engines to deindex the old URL, leaving only the new page in the index to rank and generate natural search traffic.
But 301 redirects do more than just benefit from SEO. They also help your customers access the content they're looking for on your site, instead of ending up looking at a 404 error page. The redirects give you a better chance of making a sale.
When to use 301 redirects
You need a 301 redirect each time a URL changes, whether the content is moved or deleted, or that you change the architectural or browsing structure of your site. All of this has an impact on the existence of a page on your domain and on its URL.
301 are needed for SEO much more often than you think, so it's important to train yourself to think, "Do we need to redirect that?" Whenever you move or delete pages on your site.
All of this is important because your URLs are the point of collection of all the value that search engines associate with your site.
Imagine that every page is a cut. The value of this page of content – how many links point to it, the quality of those backlinks, and the relevance of that content over time – can only be found within this section. When the URL disappears, the cup is reversed and its value is lost on the site. If the URL changes – even if it's only one different character – it's a totally different URL for search engines. That means it's a new empty cup that has to start collecting new values, unless you can fill it in by 301 redirecting the contents of the old cut from the URL to the new one .
How to create 301 redirects
Typically, your developer team will need to create 301 redirects. Certainly, it can be difficult to work with developers because they sometimes speak a technical language that many marketers do not understand. Fortunately, 301 redirects are one of the simplest technical changes to document, request, and execute – for everyone involved.
Your task will be to identify the pages that need to be redirected and associate them with the new URL. Next, create a simple two-column spreadsheet with one line for each URL, like the one below.
|Old URL||New URL|
It is important to note that some servers use 302 redirects by default, which are temporary, when a new redirect is created. So, make sure to specify that you need a 301 redirect, which is permanent. This sounds like an insignificant difference, but the 302 redirects do not pass the link authority and do not prompt for de-indexing. They redirect only the user agent. Essentially, 302 redirects do not offer any of the SEO benefits of 301.
The stage of execution comes from your team of developers. It's a simple task, not a complex project. That said, the 301's are a little tedious and tedious to write and test.
When to remove 301 redirects
Last step in the life cycle if a 301 redirect is to know when to delete them. They use additional server resources because the server must respond twice for each redirected page, once to redirect the new page, and once to load the new page. This double hit takes microseconds. But this can slow response times and add to your resources if there are enough in place.
The most optimal answer to the question of when to remove 301 redirects is: "When the old page has been de-indexed." When there is only a handful of 301 redirects to test, checking for indexing is simple. query in Google But if you have thousands to process, it is not possible to check the indexing of each of them.
A relatively safe rule of thumb is to give redirects six months to be explored and exploited by search engine robots. After six months, if the page that provides the 301 redirect has not been explored, it's a safe bet that it was not very important to search engines and that it was not important. Was not a lot of link authority to convey.
For added security, create an XML sitemap of URLs that will be redirected and upload them to your Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. This will entice search engine bots to crawl your old URLs, where they will find the 301 redirects, and begin the process of transferring link authority and deindexing the old URL.