How to Use 301 Redirection Without Losing your Search Engine Ranking

Redirection is the process of sending both the site’s human visitors and search engines bots from the original URL to a new URL. This is very useful when restructuring or revamping a website. There are 3 types of URL redirection – 301 redirection, 303 redirection, and meta refresh.

An in-depth understanding of 301 Redirection

If you need to change your website address from your old URL (http://www/oldwebsite.com) to your new website (http://www.newwebsite.com), 301 redirection is your best option; it forwards 90 – 99% of the site’s link juice to the new URL. 301 redirection is the one recommended for SEO.How to Use 301 Redirection Without Losing your Search Engine Ranking

How does it work?

301 redirection informs both human visitors and search engine crawlers that your website page has been permanently transferred to a new address. Search engine will then pass this information to the crawlers, instructing them not to visit the old address anymore, but instead go directly to the new website. Also, visitors’ won’t even notice that they are being directed to the new address.
However, Note that when a page where you implemented a 301 redirection is not regularly visited by search engines prior to the redirect, then it may take some time for bots to crawl the page and discover the 301 redirection. This means that the transfer of link juice and PR to your new page will depend on how fast the bots can discover the 301 on the old page.

How does it affect your search engine rankings?

When done correctly, 301 redirection won’t have any negative effects on your current search engine rankings. Here’s why:
After implementing a 301 redirect on a page, search engines will remove your old site from their list, index your new site for future crawls and pass all link juice, the PR and everything SEO-related, to the new address.

When should you use 301 redirection?


301 redirection is ideal if:

  • •    You are migrating your site or part of your site – if you are restructuring the URLs of your site’s internal pages from this format: http://www.websitename/categoryname/postname.htm to this: http://www.websitename/postname.htm, then you should use 301 redirection. You want your visitors, both human and bots, to be redirected immediately to the new page. This also works on site-wide migration.
  • •    You have an outdated page – if you have pages with expired or outdated contents such an old service or product page, you may want to redirect users to the new and updated page.
  • •    You have more than one version of your home page – depending on how a website is structured, its homepage can be accessed in different ways:
http://websitename.com/
http://www.websitename.com/
http://www.websitename.com/index.html
http://www.websitename.com/home.html

To be able to direct and concentrate traffic into one place, you need to point all other versions of your site’s home page to the right one, which is usually the http://www.websitename.com/ one.

Final thoughts

Although 301 redirection is fairly easy to implement, there may still be some few hitches which can do significant damage to your website.  So, make sure to do some sort of test redirection first with some of your internal pages.

Image by digitalart (freedigitalphotos)

Article By: Wasim Ismail

Wasim’s a project manager at Alrayes Web Solutions along with an online SEO consultant & blogger for business at wasimismail.com, specialising in online business.


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