URLs with permanent redirect problems (301 Redirect)

The HTTP 301 status code is returned by a server to the user’s browser if a permanent redirect is in place. A 301 redirect is utilized when a page has been permanently relocated or removed from a website. Any user who tries to access the old URL will be redirected to the new one immediately.

When redirects are used, it transfers all of the page’s ranking authority to a new URL. But your crawl budget will reduce a little bit each time you redirect a page, and it may be depleted before the page you wish to be indexed is crawled at the new URL. In addition, users can become confused by an abundance of permanent redirects. 

A 301 redirect has to be done in the right way or you could run into issues beyond poor user experience. Here’s a look at what commonly goes wrong with permanent redirects and what you can do to fix them. 

Does a permanent redirect (301 redirects) affect SEO?

The primary benefit of employing 301 HTTP codes for permanent redirects is that they communicate to search indexing bots that the transfer has been made permanent and that there will be no need to re-crawl the outdated URL in the future. Webmasters and organizations that have to replace, update, or redesign sections of their website would be wise to follow the best practices for using 301 redirects. 

When it’s done right, it makes perfect sense to use 301 redirects for search engine optimization. Doing so channels page rank to the right web pages and properly keeps search indexes up to date.

Common 301 redirect mistakes to avoid

As mentioned above, 301 redirects are beneficial when they’re done correctly. The hangup is a lot of common 301 redirect mistakes can happen. If you’re getting a 301 redirect error message you may have run into one of these common problems.

Not setting up 301 redirects between different versions of your domains 

The authority of inbound links is transferred from one URL to another using 301 redirects. To improve your rankings in the search engines, you should ensure that you configure a 301 redirect for each of the various iterations of the domain for your brand.

Not using a 301 redirect before the content migration

It’s best to set up 301 redirects before moving the content of your website. This will ensure that your website does not experience a loss of traffic throughout the migration process.

Using a 301 redirect for temporary content migration

Don’t use a 301 redirect if you’re temporarily moving the content of your website while you are upgrading or rebuilding your website. This will allow you to keep the inbound links and search rankings while changing your domain.

Linking redirects to content that is no longer relevant

Suppose you do not set up redirects from the earlier internal links on your website. In that case, you will create a negative user experience for web users who click on these older links that are not sent to a different location on your website. The previous internal link will eventually point to the new domain, although the transition could take several seconds or display a blank screen.

Redirect a page with a different intent than the destination page

This will be easy if you properly organize and maintain track of your internal linking, but you need to check that you are redirecting to the appropriate pages. To give you an example, you probably don’t want to send a user who’s seeking out your homepage to the page for your blog. Keeping this transition as seamless as possible will contribute to more effective SEO and lead to more satisfied site visitors.

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