What is a 301 Redirect and why is it important?

We now make sure that all of our client have current 301 Redirects standard on their hosted domains.  Why should someone use a 301 redirect? 301 redirects tell your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc) and search engines that a page has been permanently moved from one URL to another.

Top reasons to use 301 Redirects

  1. Making sure that the search engines see only one site.
    If you don’t identify to the search engines that your primary domain is
    www.yourdomain.com they will think you have two domains for the same
    one when someone enters yourdomain.com.  A simple redirect code added
    to your server makes sure that the search engines give you credit for
    just one domain instead of two being in conflict.
  2. Moving your current site to a new platform.
    This is the most popular and frequently used application for the 301
    Redirect. When you move your site to a new platform the number one
    thing to consider is what happens to the pages that are currently
    indexed or bookmarked. Without telling the browsers the page has moved
    they will get a 404 or Page not Found error. Luckily, in our system the
    404 Error still displays the sitemap so the user can still navigate to
    the page they were looking for. However, using 301 redirects can help
    avoid the “page not found” errors altogether which is the best case
  3. Renaming a page on your current site.
    Maybe you misspelled a URL and didn’t catch it for a few weeks/months
    after the site launched (it happens). Now you want to correct it, but
    you don’t want to disrupt any links that might exist to the previous,
    incorrect, version of the URL.  Make sure you use a 301 Redirect even
    if the misspelled URL was only there for a brief time. Chances are
    Google already knows about it and has it indexed.
  4. Changing your online strategy.
    Many times we need to change the structure or focus of our websites in
    order to direct people down the path that will lead them to convert
    into a sale/lead. Sometimes this change means creating new pages or
    just restructuring the navigation of your website. When we restructure
    navigation, it is good to remain consistent with the menu name and page
    name. This means that your URL will more than likely change in the
    restructuring of your site.  When you change the URL you need to
    remember that the current URL is indexed and people may continue to
    visit it, so don’t forget to add a 301 Redirect just in case.
  5. Traditional Advertising.
    When you run an ad in a newspaper, magazine or on the radio, you may
    want to give it a unique URL (i.e. “yourdomain.com/SaveNow”). For most
    of these ads you will probably want to create a new page, but there
    could be circumstances where you want to use an existing page. If you
    already have a page created and you don’t want to duplicate or share
    the content between the pages, then a 301 Redirect would work perfectly
    to redirect your ad traffic.

It may be time to add 301 Redirects to you Todo list. They are
crucial to making sure your site changes come off without a hitch. Contact a consultant to take advantage of our feature rich CMS today.

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