301 redirect: what you need to know about it

Basic Guide, about 5 min of reading

After reading this material, you will understand what "301 redirect" is about, when and why it can be used. Well, for those who are already familiar with 301, it will be useful to refresh their knowledge on this topic.

 

Let's start with description: redirect 301 is the HTTP response code used to redirect users from the initially requested website address to another (primary) one. For search engine robots, a 301 redirect is an indication that the website has moved to a new address. Accordingly, the old website address is no longer relevant.
When to use 301 redirect?
1. A classic example of using 301 redirect is when two website names that differ only in the presence/absence of www, and for a person seem to be exactly the same addresses. But for search engines, they are considered as different. If you do not use 301 redirect in such a situation, the impact on search results can be extremely negative due to the duplication of content and redistribution of the website authority.
In this case, the 301 redirect of the site is used to glue different URLs and re-calibrate website authority indicators. We believed that you could save from 90 to 99% of the externals URL’s reference weight.
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2. 301 redirect from one page to another are often used if the address of one or several of them has been changed for some reason, but you do not want to lose the position of the old URL in the search results.
 
3. 301 redirect a website when it has been moved to another domain. In this case, that action is necessary to make. In addition to this, you will transfer the whole past external URLs weight and authorities, accumulated already indexed search traffic and existing database of your clients who might add your old website address to Favorites and Bookmarks.
4. If there is duplication of content on the website, a 301 redirect page may be a pretty good solution to it. The easiest way, of course, is to remove non-unique materials, but nobody forbids using a redirect to another page. In this case, the search engines will index only one copy of the content. That is an excellent option to avoid search engine penalties and complaints about duplicate content.
 
5. If you don’t want to delete broken URLs, you can use 301 redirects function (URLs leading to nonexistent pages will no longer mislead visitors and search engines).
How to set up a 301 redirect. Available options are:
1. The easiest way is to set up a 301 redirect directly in the website code, which you want to be redirected to a new address. To make it happen, you need to insert the following line at the very beginning of its code:
 
<?php
header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);
header(“Location: http://www.newdomain.com/newpage.htm”);
exit();
?>
 
This method is suitable if you have a small number of redirected pages.
2. Another option for making a 301 redirect is with the .htaccess server configuration file. To install a 301 redirect from one page to another, it uses the following commands:
 
Redirect 301 /old.php /new.php
or
Redirect permanent /old.php /new.php
 
3. Through .htaccess using mod_rewrite. If this module is enabled, for example, to redirect from WWW to an address that does not contain WWW, 301 redirect will look like this:
 
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ˄www.domain\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ˄(.*)$ http://domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
In addition to the above example, this option is used in cases where it is necessary to perform larger-scale actions such as redirection:
•         all addresses with the “/” symbol at the end to the same without it and in the opposite direction;
•         files in case of changing their extensions;
•         the entire website with all its resources.
Bottom line:
Correctly configured 301 redirect page will help you get rid of a large number of possible problems in the form of:
•         loss of external URLs references and weight;
•         loss of web traffic when moving to a new site address;
•         issues with duplicate pages;
•         positions downgrade in the search results when changing the page address;
•         broken links, etc.
 
When do you use 301 redirect? Use the comment box below this article to share your experience with other readers and us!

Glossary:

(click on the links to learn more)

 

URL redirection by Wiki - also called URL forwarding, is a World Wide Web technique for making a web page available under more than one URL address. When a web browser attempts to open a URL that has been redirected, a page with a different URL is opened. Similarly, domain redirection or domain forwarding is when all pages in a URL domain are redirected to a different domain, as when wikipedia.com and wikipedia.net are automatically redirected to wikipedia.org a list of pages of the website.

 

.htaccess - (hypertext access) file is a directory-level configuration file supported by several web servers, used for configuration of website-access issues, such as URL redirection, URL shortening, access control (for different web pages and files), and more. The 'dot' (period or full stop) before the file name makes it a hidden file in Unix-based environments. 
 
Duplicate content  - is a term used in the field of search engine optimization to describe content that appears on more than one web page. The duplicate content can be substantial parts of the content within or across domains and can be either exactly duplicate or closely similar. When multiple pages contain essentially the same content, search engines such as Google and Bing can penalize or cease displaying the copying site in any relevant search results.

 

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