While working on the optimization and promotion of the site, the question arises of setting up a 301 redirect. Let's look at what a 301 redirect is and how to properly set it up.
What is a 301 redirect?
A redirect is a script that forcibly redirects the site user from the page he has chosen to another. That is, by typing one address in the address bar of the browser, you get to a completely different one. But this does not mean at all that the content of the page will necessarily be different. However, this happens on many low-quality sites.
When to use 301 redirects for your website
When creating a new website, altering your company or brand name, your domain name, merging with another firm, or for other strategic reasons, redirects are crucial to utilize. They avoid dead ends and the 404 error message, which negatively affect user experience (users are more likely to abandon your site when they can't locate the material they're looking for).
Additionally, redirects make sure that sites are still indexed by search engines even though the URL has changed, so you will continue to show up in search results for pertinent searches.
In a sense, redirecting can push traffic to your website.
When 301 hurts your site
One of the biggest issues with redirects is that each time one web page with redirect loads, another web page also has to load, taking time away from Google's ability to crawl the content of the page. You want Google to crawl as much of your page content as possible, even if it takes milliseconds, and Google restricts how much of your website material it will crawl at once (also known as its crawl budget).
The most valuable material on your website is what customers come to it for and what you want to be recognized for. Therefore, you want Googlebot to spend every second it spends crawling it and exploring that.
301 redirects are also detrimental to SEO when they appear as lengthy chains of redirects and redirect loops and when they account for the bulk of the links on a website (for instance, when websites contain a high number of redirects and few pages with useful, pertinent, and distinctive information).
- Redirect chains occur when there are several redirects, such as when a page reroutes to a page that reroutes to another page, which is strongly discouraged. At that point, alter the redirect to go to the final page, thereby getting rid of any "intermediate" redirects.
- Pages redirecting to one another are known as redirect loops. The crucial aspect of this is that all redirects must be thoroughly vetted and limited to two pages (the start page and the destination page that the original page redirects to).
- Because 301 redirects are permanent, they shouldn't be utilized to construct temporary websites (302 redirects are what you need).
Difference between redirection and domain parking
Most often, the 301 command is used when changing the domain. Sometimes you can come across an opinion that for this, it is better to use domain parking, which is carried out in the hosting control panel and allows you to buy domain redirect traffic.
However, these are different things - when redirecting, the user will be redirected by replacing the address in the address bar, but this will not happen when parking domains.
301 repair with .htaccess file change
If you need to transfer a resource to another domain or change individual page addresses, the ability to configure the 301 commands depends on the technical features of the hosting.
For Apache servers, for example, the .htaccess file is used. This is the most convenient way and requires the inclusion of special mod_rewrite and mod_alias modules in the php.ini file. The "redirect" command in the mod_alias module is great if you only need to redirect a few pages because you need to name each one separately when redirecting.
For large sites with thousands of pages, this approach is not suitable. If there are a lot of outdated URLs, it is better to use the RedirectMatch function, which will redirect from such addresses regularly.
If you are wondering how to set up a 301 redirect, use special web services for this, which are many on the Internet. They allow you to generate simple redirects, and they are also easy to use.
You need to substitute your domain names in special boxes, and at the output, you will get a ready-made command.
To redirect or not?
We recommend you examine the general feel of your website and whether there is a strategic justification for this. When it makes sense, such as when introducing a new product that merges existing items, you can redirect pages if the majority of your website's pages provide useful, high-quality material that your consumers find valuable, along with links to relevant subjects and content that is comparable to it.
Redirects are crucial in various use scenarios, such as when starting a new website, consolidating websites, and more, since they preserve part of the original page and/or domain's (albeit not all) search engine authority.