Why 301 Redirects are Important for Retaining Search Engine Rankings
A 301 Redirect informs search engines that a site owner’s webpage has been moved to a new location permanently. While there are numerous methods of redirecting web users to a new page, a 301 Redirect is the most SEO friendly option. This redirect is seamless to browser users and search engines retain that particular page ranking as opposed to requiring the site owner to start again from scratch.
A website owner may move or rename his or her web pages, or is planning to redevelop the site. If so, they should ensure that the web developer installs the correct 310 Redirects in place for the web pages that have already been indexed by search engines. Failure to do this could result in the loss of Google rankings promptly and unnecessarily.
Getting the web pages of a site indexed by Google requires a period of time. It will also take an extended period of time for the applied SEO methods on the website to take effect. The site owner will then target specific key phrases and keywords in order to improve his or her site’s search rankings. This painstaking and lengthy process means that it is imperative to retain this index with the search engines for the specific URLs once you have achieved it.
If a website owner is getting his or her site revamped, redeveloped or restructured, there is a strong likelihood that their content specific to these key phrases or keywords would be located at a different address. The site domain name would remain the same but the specific full page address could be different.
To a search engine, http://www.example.com and http://example.com are two separate items. As a matter of fact, a search engine views multiple access points as websites that are entirely distinct. If a website owner has several homepage URLs, www and non-www versions of his or her site, it can result in duplicate content across sites and cause confusion for the search engines.
If a website owner has found out that he or she has multiple ways of accessing their website, this is the point where a 301 Redirect comes to their rescue. The site owner should work with their webmaster to choose one of the URLs as their preferred domain. They will then set up a 301 redirect from the remaining sites to this preferred domain so as to be credited fully for the site’s content. By setting up a 301 Redirect, these duplicate contents will be corrected together with the issues of having multiple access points. Confusion for search engines will thus be cleared.
A 301 Redirect is like a free shuttle service that transports your customers from your old office space to your new location. By eliminating the effort for them to locate you, it provides a pleasant customer experience that could potentially turn into sales.
Be it rebranding or revamping, it is imperative to set up your 301 Redirects before moving to a new domain.