Managing 301 redirects effectively for SEO on your website

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Through our SEO Agency Optimize 360

on the theme Technical SEO

The 301 redirects are essential for managing the development of your website and guarantee user experience optimal.

In this guide, we'll explore the basics of 301 redirects and explain how to set them up correctly on your website.

301 redirects

What is a 301 redirect?

A 301 redirect is a technical method used to indicate to browsers and search engines that a page has been permanently moved to a new location. URL.

In other words, when a visitor tries to access an obsolete or moved page, they will automatically be redirected to the new address without encountering any errors or navigation problems.

301 redirects play a crucial role in maintaining SEO continuity and the quality of the website.user experience when you make changes to your website. Not only do they enable you to retain existing traffic, they also transfer some of the SEO value of the old page to the new one.

Why use 301 redirects?

There are several reasons why you might need to use 301 redirects on your website:

  • Change of URL : When you change the address of an existing page, it is essential to use a 301 redirect to direct visitors and search engines to the new URL.
  • Deleting a page : If you delete a page or pages from your website, you can redirect users to a similar page or to another relevant resource using a 301 redirect.
  • Merging content : When you merge several pages into one, 301 redirects ensure that existing traffic is redirected to the new single page.
  • Change of domain : If you decide to change the address of your website, 301 redirects will help preserve the SEO ranking of your old pages while correctly routing traffic to your new site.

How do I set up 301 redirects?

There are various ways of implementing 301 redirects on a website, depending on the technology used and the level of access you have. Here are a few common methods:

Modifying the .htaccess file

For websites hosted on an Apache server, 301 redirects can be easily managed by modifying the .htaccess. This method requires FTP access to the server where your website is located. To create a 301 redirect, simply add the following code to the :

Redirect 301 /old-page.html

Replace /old-page.html by the obsolete part of the URL and with the full address of the new page. You can add as many 301 redirects as you need by creating a new line for each URL.

Use of CMS plugins or extensions

If your website is based on a content management system (CMS) such that WordPress, Joomla or DrupalYou can use dedicated plugins or extensions to manage 301 redirects. These solutions make the process much easier by simplifying the addition and modification of redirects directly from the CMS dashboard.

Here are a few examples of popular plugins for managing 301 redirects:

    • WordPress : Redirection, Simple 301 Redirects
    • Joomla : ReDJ, Redirect-On-Login
    • Drupal : Redirect, Global Redirect

Modifying server files for Nginx and Microsoft IIS

For sites hosted on Nginx or Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) servers, the changes required to set up 301 redirects generally need to be made in the server configuration files or via the administration interface. We recommend that you consult the official documentation or ask your web host for help with instructions specific to your environment.

Common mistakes and pitfalls to avoid when using 301 redirects

Here are some common errors and tips to ensure that your 301 redirects work properly:

  • Avoid chain redirects: Setting up several successive redirects for the same URL can slow down page load times and harm your SEO. Make sure that each redirect leads directly to the new target URL without any intermediate steps.

  • Update internal links: When you set up a 301 redirect, don't forget to update all the internal links pointing to the old URL in order to avoid unnecessary redirects and improve the user experience.

  • Check redirects regularly: We recommend that you regularly check your 301 redirects to detect any problems or errors. You can use online tools such as Screaming Frog or Ahrefs Site Audit to identify broken or faulty redirects.

  • Pay attention to URL parameters : If your site uses URL parameters to offer different versions of content (e.g. sort, filters, pagination), make sure that your 301 redirects take these variations into account and do not interfere with the normal operation of your site.

In short, 301 redirects are an essential part of ensuring a good user experience and maintaining your website's SEO quality.

By managing your redirects correctly, you can avoid common errors and ensure that your visitors and search engines access the most up-to-date and relevant version of your content.

About the author

Frédéric POULET is the founder of the SEO Agency Optimize 360 After 20 years in large groups, he founded Optimize 360 to put the know-how of large groups to work for SMEs.
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