Tuesday, 30 July 2013

How to Implement a 301 Redirect

'301 redirect' is the most efficient and search engine friendly way of moving your website. There could be many reasons why your website has changed:
  • Redirecting an old website to a new domain address.
  • Your website design has changed and has been recoded to adapt to the changes
  • Implementing canonical redirect which involves redirecting from one website version to another version of the same website
  • You own multiple domains and host duplicate copies of the same site
The most important thing to remember is that 301 redirects is used for permanent redirects i.e it should be used only when you are migrating permanently and not ever coming back. Moreover, 301 redirects have to be implemented properly to ensure that your site can maintain high search engine page ranking (SERP). In fact, not having proper redirects can result in your disappearance from SERPs! So let’s look at some important tips for implementing 301 redirects properly.

Implementation of 301 Redirects Properly

Check the new URLs
- Before you start redirecting, make sure that the new URLs for 301 redirects have been configured properly and are live on the internet. If you don’t do this, you would end up redirecting people to error pages.

Use the Right Strategy - The next step is to point the old domain to the new one with proper 301 Redirects. In a Youtube video, Matt Cutts says that the common practice is to put 301 redirects to go to the root of the domain when you are moving from one site to another. Cutts points out this will not help people who are looking for a specific page. He recommends performing the redirect from the old page location to the new page location on the new site.

If you are redirecting to the root domain, you can redirect the entire website at once. But if there are changes to other URL parts such as a new folder structure, you would have to do the redirects one by one. If your site has a massive size, choose the pages you want to redirect. Running a report in Google Analytics or any other relevant platform would help you find all the landing pages that take people directly to your site. If these URLs have changed, use '301 redirect'.

Another way is to look for the pages that Google has indexed. If their URLs have changed, you should 301 redirect them as Google has to know where to find these pages. Google’s Webmaster tools can give you accurate results for Google Indexed pages.

Check Whether the Redirects Are Working - Test whether the old URLs are automatically redirecting to new URLs after implementing 301 redirects. Take a sample of URLs from old sites and put each one in HTTP or HTTPS Header Check tool. The tool will tell you whether there is a '301 redirect' from the old page to the new one. You can also do a Google search and see if each link is going to the right place. For example, enter 'www.viralseoservices.com' into Google and you can find the indexed pages as shown below.

If MOS SEO Services is migrating permanently, then these pages should be 301 redirected. Google’s Webmaster tools can give you accurate results for Google Indexed pages.

Create Sitemaps and Inform Search Engines - After testing, create a XML sitemap with all new URLs for the new site. You should then inform the search engines about the sitemap. Use Google Webmaster Tools such as Fetch as Google with Googlebot or tools from Yahoo Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Center for this.

Wait for some time to see the results. The '301 redirect' will transfer 85%-90% of authority from old URL to new one and this process takes time.

301 Redirects Limits

Is there any limit of using 301 redirects, you may wonder. Cutts says it’s fine – and even advisable - to do redirects from every old page to every new page on your new website. Google will crawl all these pages. However, there are some limits you should know about: multiple redirects can be a problem. If you start with redirecting one page and then keep performing redirects so that you get five or six, in a row, the chances are high that Googlebot would soon stop following these redirects. So Cutts recommends that the best way is to do it in one step because you won’t leave people confused.

Implementing 301 redirects can be somewhat complicated. So the best way to gain maximum search engine optimization benefits from your new URLs is to seek help of a professional SEO company for a smooth transition to your new site.

No comments:

Post a Comment