What Is a 301 Redirect?

A 301 redirect is a technical term used when you want to permanently redirect traffic from one URL to another URL.  It's the same concept as if you were moving to a new home.  You would notify the post office that any mail that's delivered to your old house, get forwarded or “redirected” to your new house.  That's all it is.

What are some examples of using a 301 redirect?

When you move your website to a new domain.  If you decide to move your website domain from “http://myoldbusinessplaybooksite.com” to “https://3bugmedia.com“, you would setup a 301 redirect so that the search engines, and your visitors know that this new domain is actually the old one with a new name.  The best practice is to do a 301 redirect of your individual web pages to their new individual page on your new site.  It's alot of work, but this preserves the most SEO value from your old website.  If you didn't do a 301 redirect in this situation, the search engines would consider it a totally new domain and you would lose all of the links and domain authority you built up with your old domain.

When you forward your “www” domain to your “non'www” domain.  It may not make sense, but technically, according to the search engines,  when you type in “http://www.mysmallbusiness1234.com” or “http://mysmallbusiness1234.com” they are considered two different websites.

Sometimes they figure it out on their own, but often times you will find the search engines indexing the websites as if they were separate.  Not good for you from a search engine optimization perspective.  Setting up a 301 redirect and having one of the URL's forwarding to the other remedies this problem.

How do I setup a 301 redirect?

You would normally setup a 301 redirect through your domain control panel, provided by your hosting company.  For simple 301 redirects, such as forwarding just a few links from your site to a new one, there are a few WordPress plugins you can use such as Simple 301 Redirects.

Before you try and fiddle with anything on your website, always….always….create a backup of your website.  This suggestion is made from experience.  If you're unsure about the process, call your hosting provider or ask someone you know that knows what they are doing before you attempt anything yourself.


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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
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