What are 301 Redirects? Here’s the explanation

Email forwarding is an important step in any information transfer process as it ensures you don’t lose any valuable information sent to you.

The same thing can happen to your website. If you are moving a website from one URL to another, you will need to take the necessary steps to ensure your visitors are directed to the right place. In the tech world, this technique is called 301 redirects.

Here, we will discuss what 301 redirects are and why you need to use them, as well as how to redirect URLs through HubSpot or WordPress.

What is a 301 Redirect?

301 redirects are status codes that are sent from the server to your browser. This is one of many possible status codes, some of which you may have heard of, including 404 – Not Found, 403 – Forbidden, and 500 – Server Error.

When you visit a web page and then the server loads the page normally, the status code attached to the page is 200 – OK.

You can think of 301 redirects as using email. After you move some content from a specific URL, anyone trying to visit it will receive a 404 – Page Not Found message. This is completely normal and often unavoidable.

However, if you just change or delete the page without doing anything, you will have problems doing so. You need to place a redirect to stop any visits to that page.

301 redirects are permanent redirects that redirect users (and search engines) to a new URL when the original page no longer exists. You can use a 301 redirect when there are no plans to revert the changes.

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Why Should You Use 301 Redirects?

There are many reasons why you should use 301 redirects. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the uses for using 301 redirects.

1. To move a web page to a new URL permanently

There are times when you change the name of a product being sold and need to update it. Or suppose you are starting a project to better categorize the pages of your site into topic groups, or have other reasons entirely.

301 redirects will ensure that users are redirected to the new URL and the search engines index the new page and maintain the ranking position it holds.

An example is from https://www.website.com/old-page-name/ to https://www.website.com/new-page-name/

2. To delete a web page

There is often confusion about what best practices you should take when deleting pages from your site.

Should you do a 301 redirect to another URL, or should you let it be a 404 page? Or even give him 410 status?

The answer is it depends.

However, should you do 301 redirects to a page that has a 404 or 410?

The 404 or 410 error is of course not something site visitors want to see. Likewise with Google. Search engine bots don’t want to visit web pages that are currently in the 404 and 410 status codes.

The first question you need to ask yourself is do the pages you deleted have in common with other content on your site?

If the answer is yes, the best option for you is to implement a 301 redirect. Conversely, if the answer is no, you need to find out the best form of treatment for dealing with it. This depends on the reason why you need to delete the page.

If there really is no alternative page to redirect to, it will need to be deleted. The best option is to implement a ‘410’ header which tells browsers and search engines that the page has been removed.

If a 404 error occurs, it means that the content cannot be found, while the status code 410 specifically says that the content or site page has been removed.

3. Move your site to the new domain

Online businesses sometimes need to change their domain name for several specific reasons. For example, a business website changes their domain name from .com TLD to .co.id ccTLD, or has changed branding and needs to move to a domain name that reflects the new business name.

To overcome this, 301 redirects are required when switching from one domain name to another using Google Search Console tools.

4. Change your site structure

You may need to change the structure of your site to improve your overall SEO performance and make it easier to categorize content so Google can understand how your pages relate to one another.

The same concept applies to changing the structure of the subfolders on your site, whether it’s a blog category, an e-commerce category, or some other folder.

5. Move URL from Non-WWW to WWW

While there is no direct benefit to SEO, you need to consistently ensure that your site uses non-www or www URLs.

If you find that your site is accessible with both non-www and www URLs, 301 redirects from one to the other, based on your preference, should be used to eliminate duplication issues.

6. Switch from HTTP to HTTPS

If you redirect URLs from HTTP to HTTPS, you need to use 301 redirects to make sure Google can index the new protocol properly, and that users can be redirected to the correct page instead of the 404 page.