What’s A 301 Redirect And Why Do I Need To Use Them?
When you move house, you notify all your service provides, banks etc about your new address in order for your mail to arrive at the correct address and not your old one.
The same goes for your website, if you change your sites URL (address) it is vital to setup a 301 redirect. Many people ask “what’s a 301 redirect?” and “why should we set it up?”.
A 301 redirect notifies all search engines i.e Google, Bing that a page that was previously on a certain URL is now on this new URL and will stay on this URL for the unforeseeable future. This means that all your pages and posts will not be lost and will be directed to your new URL when people go to search for them in Google.
If you don’t setup a 301 redirect and change your page / posts URL, when people search for your page on Goggle and click on the link to your page, the will get what’s called a 404 Error or Page Cannot Be Found.
This in Google’s eyes is bad practice and can result in Google penalising your site which in turn could effect its rankings.
If your site is built on WordPress, thankfully there a lot of plugins that will make setting up a 301 redirect a very simple process.
One such plugin is called Redirection and can be found on the WordPress repository, click here. Once installed, go to the plugins settings which can be found in Tools / Redirection. From the settings menu, click on Groups, create a new Group and call it Redirects.
Then click on the Redirects tab and you will see something similar to this.
All you have to do is enter the old URL in the Source URL box and then enter the new URL in the Target URL box and click Add Redirection and thats it.
Now when someone searches for you in Goggle and click on the link to your page, it will take them to the correct URL (address) of that page.