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301 Redirects Link Strategy

Are you rebranding your site and moving existing content to different pages? Or, perhaps, have you had the need to switch to a different domain address? The truth is as long as you run a website, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to discard a page but still retain its content. In this case, you'd be needing an effective 301 redirects link strategy.

This is all the more so if you’ve been operating your site for a long time. But did you know? Without a redirect strategy, such above scenarios pose a threat to your site’s SEO. How? That’s because your visitors won’t know right off the bat that your page has moved.

As a result, they’ll keep visiting your previous URL and encountering the 404 error message common in many websites today. Confused, they’ll leave and that will negatively affect your rankings and traffic. Because of this, many brands have gotten around to using the 301 redirect link strategy. What is that? Does it help to direct your visitors automatically to your new site? This article answers these questions as well as how to effectively use a 301 redirect.

301 Redirects Link

What Exactly Are 301 Redirects?

Redirect links

301 redirects are status codes sent to a browser from the server hosting a website. They signal that a particular link to a web page has been moved or removed from a website.

Usually, when a customer clicks on a link that has been removed from your website, they get an error 404 message, showing 'page not found.' To prevent your clients from getting this error message which can sometimes be inconvenient, you can use a 301 redirect link to redirect your clients to the page they wish to visit, even though the URL has been transferred. Therefore, the server forwards entries from the old link to a new one.

Note that a 301 redirect link is different from a 302 redirect link. 

A 301 redirect tells you that the webpage or link has been permanently moved to a new link or URL while a 302 redirect is a status code that tells the browser that the link or page has been temporarily moved.

When you implement a 301 redirect on a webpage, the process of navigation is usually seamless and may be barely noticed by the visitor, unless the client is using an extension (web tool) that alerts them when they are about to be redirected to a new link/page.

Besides keeping your visitors on your website and helping them locate the content they searched for (without getting error messages), a 301 redirects strategy has other useful purposes. It is very effective for SEO.

How so?

301 redirects can be used to notify search engines when a particular link has been moved to a different location on a website. This helps in maintaining your web rank and rating, as well as driving traffic to your site.

Now that you know what 301 redirects are and how they function, you might wonder when to use them and how to implement a redirect strategy on your website. Let's find out.

When Should You Use a 301 Redirect?

You will agree that having knowledge without knowing how or when to use it is quite pointless. 301 redirects is an effective strategy and knowing when to use it makes it even better. You can use a 301 redirect when:

  • You changed a URL

  • You are recreating existing content on a new page

  • You want to combine various contents on one page.

  • You want to move content to another domain

To make your strategy easier to implement and effective, you may choose to use a redirect plugin.

7 Tips for an Effective 301 Redirects Links Strategy

There are various ways 301 redirects can be carried out on your website and this article will consider seven (7) key tips to implement. Provided below are some strategies on how to effectively carry out 301 redirects:

1. Consider the Size of the Site

The first thing you need to put at the back of your mind when carrying out your 301 redirects, is the size of your website. For instance, your website contains hundreds of pages, keep in mind that redirecting each page requires some work on the website developer's end.

2. Sort According to Relevance

Next, you need to review your links to know which one is relevant to redirect or remove. For instance, if your website is an e-commerce platform, ask yourself: which page/link generates the most revenue? Which content do I need to update (modify, move, or remove)? It is important to answer these questions before you embark on this form of site maintenance to avoid paying unnecessary amounts of money to your developer. Another reason why this is important is to avoid redirecting pages unnecessarily. For example, tools like Google Analytics, Backlink Checkers, and Bing webmaster tools are useful for collecting and analyzing data from your site.

3. Review of Site Data

Reviewing the data from your website can also help you in sorting out your links according to relevance. After obtaining data using the tools highlighted in Step 2, you need to review this data carefully to be able to identify which page generates revenue for you; this in turn will positively influence your decision on which page to redirect.

As you know, SEO is very important when you want to increase traffic on your site therefore, while considering which link to redirect, bear in mind the content your clients want to see. Note that the page or link with the most views most likely has the most interesting content and gives you the most traffic, therefore, these links are precious to you. When you can identify which links are relevant, you can more effectively carry out 301 redirects.

4. Mapping

Mapping is also an effective way to effectively organize your redirects. What you need is to create a spreadsheet of the links you intend to redirect after sorting them based on relevance, then place them into two categories. For example, URLs to be removed can be placed under the heading 'Old URLs' while the new links you want them (your clients) to be redirected to, can be placed under 'New URLs'. This system of mapping your redirect links will make it easier to implement.

5. Create Patterns

You can create patterns for your redirect links. For example, if you want to move a link - “” you can replace the '%' in this example with a '/,' which will then make the new link become “” You can use this example as a pattern for all other links having ‘%’, by changing it to ‘/.’

6. Redirect to Main Links

Another strategy to use is to redirect links with similar characters to the main link. For example, consider the main link - "". Any link with similar characters e.g “” can be highlighted and redirected to the main link. It is necessary to highlight such links for the mapping to be more organized. This will also make the work of redirecting, easier to carry out.

7. Redirect To Canonical URLs

URLs on your HTTP protocol can be redirected to your HTTPS protocol or sub-domains that begin with www can be redirected to domains that do not begin with www.

Final Thoughts

Your visitors’ experience when using your site plays a crucial role when they decide to return. If you have a lot of broken links and error messages, it’ll leave them frustrated. That, as stated earlier, will reduce your SERP rankings and traffic.

That’s why you should take the time to implement a 301 redirect link strategy if you’re planning to switch domains but retain existing content. That way, you’ll leave your visitors satisfied and successfully move to your new URL.


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