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How Does a 301 Redirect Work?

When a company or individual moves websites, they must change the URL of their website. They could want to change websites if better domain name becomes available to them, they find a cheaper option for a domain name, or any number of reasons. Once they move URL, anyone clicking on their former one will provide an error message instead of a website.

To avoid this, companies need to use a 301 redirect. This redirect will bring users who click on your old URL to your new website. It is similar to if they had just searched for the new URL in the first place. Learning how to do this is an important part of not losing out on customers if you change websites. In this article, we will discuss how website redirects work, how a 301 redirect works and why it might be necessary, and how to implement a 301 redirect. 

how does a 301 redirect work

How Does a 301 Redirect Work?

Let’s discuss how to implement a 301 redirect and how 301 redirects work.

How to Implement a 301 Redirect

To actually perform this redirect, you first need to access your website’s control panel. Once the control panel is open, access your website’s file manager, and find a file that says .htaccess file. If you cannot find that file, you can simply create a new file with the same title. Always create backup files before you make any modifications to your website’s files. This is important, because if you make a mistake, you still have the original file on-hand.

After you have the .htaccess file pulled up, simply go to the bottom of it and type in Redirect 301. After that step, add a slash, then your old website’s URL. But, only include the portion that comes after the .com part of the URL. To finish the setup, add another slash after your previous website’s URL. Then add the complete URL of your new website. Then your 301 redirect should be complete, and people will be led to your new website. Your 301 redirect will take effect immediately.

Example of a 301 Redirect

When thinking about how a 301 redirect works, think of what happens to your mail when you change addresses. What happens if you do not update the mail service with your new address? Then, your mail will still be sent to your old one. This would result in the loss of your mail, and any important documents it may contain.

A 301 redirect works similar to this example. It is simply updating your customers and users with your new URL, or uniform resource locator. The uniform resource locator is a website’s domain name, combined with the other details required to lead you to the correct page you searched for. The uniform resource locator is a key part of how a 301 redirect works, as it leads people to the website and page they are searching for. If the website moved, then its URL must be changed to continue to lead people to the site.

This can also be described with a 301 moved permanently link, as this redirect will permanently lead to your new website, further distancing your company from the old one. 

what is a 301 redirect

What is a 301 Redirect?

For the question of what is a 301 redirect, the surface level answer is relatively simple. All it is is redirecting web traffic from an old website to a new one. If a company wants to rebrand its website and change its uniform resource locator, people may not realize and still click on the old URL.

Without a redirected 301 process, an error message would pop up on the previous website once it was clicked on. To avoid this, companies use the 301 redirect to take people over to their new website. Once the old uniform resource locator is clicked on, it will redirect the search to the new website. This is a seamless process, and the user should not even realize the process which took place. This is what a 301 redirect is.

The importance of using these redirects should be apparent for any online business. If you update or overhaul your website and customers are then unable to locate it, then all the time and money you spent on that process will be worthless. A 301 redirect makes sure customers can still access your website, even if they do not realize the URL has changed.

This is an important part of conducting business online successfully. That’s because it ensures you will not lose out on customers due to them being unable to locate your website. What the 301 redirect is, is showing your company’s website has permanently moved URLs, and making sure it is still easily accessible. 

301 moved permanently

301 Redirects and SEO

Another critical component of conducting successful online business is utilizing SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of fine tuning your website to get the most web traffic as possible directed to it. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. From choosing specific keywords to focus on on your web pages, to having the correct word count on your web pages, using backlinks properly, and many more ways. Using search engine optimization effectively is critical in gaining the most amount of web traffic possible, and giving your website the best visibility available. 

Search engine optimization is also a key factor in how a 301 redirect works, and what a 301 redirect is. If you do not have your redirect set up properly, then when a user clicks on your old website, they will get an error message. This error message will lead to the annoyance of potential customer’s and drop the search engine optimization ranking of your current website.

This is a big issue, as a lower search engine optimization score results in your website turning up lower when being searched for, resulting in fewer people visiting it. 301 redirects also give around ninety percent of link equity from the page they are redirecting you from. The more link equity your site has, the higher its search engine optimization rankings will be. All of these factors show the importance of search engine optimization in what a 301 redirect is, and how a 301 redirect works. 

What is 301 Moved Permanently? 

A 301 link moved permanently simply means that the website’s uniform resource locator has been permanently moved to a new website. That means all web searches directed to the previous website will lead to the new one when clicked on. This is a permanent redirect, and over time, the old website’s uniform resource locator will simply transition over to the new website, as more people click on it and are directed to the new website. The 301 moved permanently link is a critical part of how a 301 redirect works, as it shows the process of transitioning searches to the new website. 

301 redirect

How to Create a 301 Moved Permanently Link

After you create your 301 moved permanently link, you should leave links up from your old websites for about one year. This helps to make sure you do not miss out on any customers or information that are looking for your old website. It also ensures you do not lose your search engine optimization rankings.

A 301 moved permanently link left up over the course of a year also gives search engines time to realize your old website is obsolete. Search engines will eventually learn to automatically direct people to your new website when they search for your company. A year is a good amount of time to ensure they successfully learn to do just that. 301 moved permanently redirects are an important part of learning how a 301 redirect works, as it shows how your website is permanently moving to a new uniform resource locator, and how to direct web traffic to your new URL. 

301 redirects are a crucial part of maintaining your company’s search engine optimization ranking if you change uniformed resource locators. If a company decides to do a brand overhaul or drastically update their website, they need to understand how a 301 redirect works in order to ensure they do not lose out on any business. Once again, think of a 301 redirect as updating your address. You need to make sure it is accurate, and is left up long enough to not miss out on any important mail you may receive.

website redirect

Get Expert Help with 301 Redirects

Adding this redirect to your old website can be a relatively simple and straightforward process. However, if you are unsure about how to do it yourself, then you can bring in an expert. This ensures that the process is done correctly. All visitors to your old website will be brought to your new one. 

By doing this, you maintain the high value of link equity you receive from the redirects to your new website. This will maintain your search ranking and make your website more likely to appear when searched for. The importance of successful search engine optimization for online businesses cannot be overstated. Maintaining and or gaining a higher SEO ranking can be a complicated process.

This is why having a company who specializes in SEO, like SEO Design Chicago, can be very helpful in building your website, and leading more web traffic to it. We can tell you everything you need to know about website redirection and implement any necessary redirects for you! 

FAQs about How 301 Redirects Work: 

  • How do you do a 301 redirect?
  • When can I remove 301 redirects?
  • Why are 301 redirects important?
  • Why is my 301 moved permanently?
  • How long does it take for a 301 redirect to take effect?

 

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