Simply put, a 301 redirect is a method by which you send search engines and web visitors to a different URL of your website than they had originally requested. 301 redirects let search engines know that these URLs have “permanently” moved/changed.
When we moved our website from HTTP to HTTPS, we needed to set up a 301 redirect to let Google and other search engines know that our website URLs have permanently changed. That’s right, changing from HTTP to HTTPS in considered a change in URL for all web pages within a website. Using a 301 redirect is perhaps the single most important step in the HTTP to HTTPS migration process.
Why Use a 301 Redirect?
Setting up 301 redirects when your website URLs change can minimize the number of “broken links” from within your website pages as well as those inbound links from external websites. Also, if you have a long established web page for which you recently changed its name, a 301 redirect will ensure that search engines and visitors find the newly renamed web page, rather than get a 404 missing page error. This is particularly helpful when you are trying to maintain page authority for your established web pages.
Thus, 301 redirects also enable you to retain your website’s domain authority, page authority and organic search rankings.
Examples of URL changes where a 301 redirect can be used
http://example-domain.com to https://example-domain.com
http://example-domain.com/blue to http://example-domain.com/red
http://www.example-domain.com to http://example-domain.com
http://example-domain.com to http://different-example-domain.com
How to Implement a 301 Redirect
Perhaps the most common way to implement a 301 Redirect is by using the .htaccess file for Apache servers (Apache is open source and the most commonly used web server software). We won’t go into the nuts and bolts of the specific commands for various redirect scenarios in this article. Should you need assistance with a 301 redirect, you can contact the expert team of web designers here at Prominent Web Design.