If you changed your home or office address, you would probably ask the post office to forward your mail to your new location. Otherwise, your mail would get returned with a message saying, “no forwarding address available.” The same type of thing applies when you change any of the web addresses on your site. By using 301 redirects (a permanent redirect from one URL to another), you are letting the digital post office (A.K.A. search engines like Google) know where to send your visitors.
Let’s say you refresh your website and change the name of some of your pages. You decide to rename your “Meet the Team” page to “About Us.” Chances are, the URL of those pages will change as well:
You’ll need to use a 301 Redirect to let search engines (and humans) know where to find your content! You are essentially forwarding your web traffic to your new address. When a customer types in the old website page address or URL without a 301 redirect, they might reach a broken page link or a “website not found” message. However, if a 301 redirect is functional and in place, the old URL will automatically forward any traffic directly to the new page. This help your visitor end up where you want them, and not at a dead end.
This is useful for many parties: real people searching for your company and products online, as well as search engine “bots” that crawl the internet to create your website search rankings.
- When you change a domain that affects the URL of your page.
- Example: changing www.redorangedesign.com/about-us → www.redorangestudio.com/about-us
- When you are reorganizing or moving pages around in your new website navigation.
- Example: www.redorangedesign.com/history/timeline → www.redorangedesign.com/timeline
- If you delete or consolidate pages on your website that your customers visit often.
- You can redirect traffic from deleted pages to the new place with the same information.
- If you purchase a vanity URL to drive traffic to another URL with random numbers and symbols.
- Example: www.redorangestudio.com/home-20a8_k!%81# → www.redorangestudio.com
- To boost SEO by pointing different versions of the same page to a single URL.
- Example: https://redorangedesign.com/blog/ and redorangedesign.com/blog
How we help our clients with 301 redirects
When our clients want an updated URL or navigation for their website, we work closely with them to determine the redirection strategy. We then help them identify the old URLs and match them up to the new URLs. Our development team uses this information to create seamless 301 redirects before the launch of the new website. We also review existing internal links to check that 301 redirects are working to create a positive user experience. Though this step during website maintenance is not difficult to do, it can make a big difference for a brand.