301 redirects are an important tool in the SEO field. With redirects, the webserver redirects requesting browsers and crawlers from the originally called URL to another destination URL. The HTTP status code 301 transmitted by the server indicates that the forwarding is permanent (in contrast to a temporary 302 forwarding).
Such a redirect has the advantage for the site visitor that he z. B. does not end up in a 404 dead end despite entering an outdated URL, but finds the desired content automatically at a new address.
In this article we want to show you what advantages 301 redirects have from an SEO perspective. You can find out how to set up 301 redirects with an .htaccess file in this article .
SEO benefits of 301 redirects
301 redirects tell Googlebot and other crawlers that the redirect is permanent. Search engines therefore remove URLs with status code 301 from the search engine index.
One of the most important advantages of 301 redirects is the avoidance of duplicate content. Google defines duplicate content as “extensive blocks of content that correspond to or conspicuously resemble other content in the same or a different domain”. From an SEO perspective, duplicate content should be avoided, since several websites with the same content make it very difficult for crawlers to determine the relevance of the page.
This can result in fluctuations and significant losses in the ranking. Tip: You can use the Siteliner online tool to check whether there is duplicate content on your pages.
Another important advantage of permanent redirects: important SEO potential (“link juice”) that the old page has acquired from search engines is also retained on the new page. So Transfer the keyword rankings of the old page to the new URL. Since 2016, the PageRank – i.e. the evaluation of a page based on the number and quality of its links – has been taken over 100% for the new page.
By the way: With 302 redirects, i.e. temporary redirects, the link juice is not transferred to the destination URL. Therefore 302 redirects should only ever be used for temporary forwarding.
When should you set up 301 forwarding?
Permanent 301 redirects should be set up:
- When a website has been migrated to a new domain (e.g. from http://www.seogearup.com to http://www.freshlivenews.com
- When switching from HTTP to HTTPS.
- After a website relaunch in which the URL structure of the individual pages has changed (URL redesign).
- If either the entire website or individual sub-pages can be reached under different URLs, e.g. B. at a www address and a non-www address. How to avoid duplicate content.
- If a certain article of a webshop has been removed from the range and page visitors should be directed from its URL to an alternative article. Such a redirection should be created via 301 redirect if the new article is very similar or equivalent to the old one.
What is in setting up redirects to Note?
Always use 301 redirects precisely. An old URL should always be redirected to a page whose content corresponds to or is at least very similar to the original page (e.g. an updated text or text supplemented with individual information).
Redirects that are not thematically or in terms of content are treated by Google as soft 404 errors and result in loss of ranking and user jumps.
When moving to a new domain, it is not enough to redirect all old pages to the homepage of the new website. Only a precise or content-specific forwarding of each individual page guarantees a good user experience and enables search engines to clearly index and understand the site structure.
Only then will the link juice of the old page not be lost and unnecessary ranking losses avoided. Incidentally, from an SEO perspective, there is no upper limit for the maximum number of 301 redirects.
Plan complex redirects carefully
When moving or redesigning a URL, you should first carefully plan the redirects based on the old and new page architectures. It is very helpful to capture the page structure with an SEO spider-like Screaming Frog . Depending on the content and page type, redirects can then be used precisely and e.g. B. 404 errors (broken links) can be avoided.
Avoid redirect chains
With every change, revision and move of a site, the probability of redirect chains increases. These arise e.g. B. from internal links and 301 redirects, if an internal link of the new site refers to an old page (e.g. http://www.alteseite.de/info) and then via 301 redirection back to a page the new site is managed (e.g. http://www.neueseite.de/info).
You should avoid such redirect chains. The best forwarding is a direct one without intermediate steps – not only to avoid losses in page speed. With 4 to 5 links in the chain, there is also a growing risk that the crawlers will no longer follow the redirects. More information can be found here in the comments by ex-Google man Matt Cuffs on the YouTube channel for Google Webmasters.
So check your website for redirect chains; Tools such as the BulkRedirect Checker Tool or the Redirect Checker from Visio Spark are suitable for this . Pay particular attention to forwarding loops. These arise when the actual landing page itself is redirected to one of the intermediate steps, which triggers an endless redirection.
Update internal links , Broken Links remove
You should also check the internal links when changing the domain, changing the page structure, or redesigning the URL. Correct links are essential for on-page search engine optimization. Ideally, the internal links of your new site do not point to the old URLs, but directly to the new destination URLs. This not only avoids unnecessary 301 redirects but also minimizes the potential for redirect chains or broken links.
Broken links should be avoided because visitors end up on 404 error pages, which often leads to the exit. Our tip: Tools like Screaming Frog or Dead Link Checker are also very helpful for link analysis and finding broken links .
- How to improve your SEO ranking of a website
- How to earn money on internet through digital Channels in 2020
- 7 simple steps of SEO to launching a new website in 2020