Published: 28th Feb 2019 | Words: 632 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
What is a 301 Redirect?
A 301 redirect tells a browser or search engine that a page has moved permanently to a new address (URL).
From /old-page-url to /new-page-url
It is a “permanent” redirect meaning the page has moved for the foreseeable future. There is also another form of redirect; a 302, but this instructs that the page has only moved temporarily.
A 301 redirect should point to a page similar to the page you want redirected. If you can’t find a similar page, then usually falling back and redirecting to your home page will do.
How to find pages to 301 Redirect
There are 2 good ways to find a list of 404 pages that need 301 redirecting.
- 1. Use an automated crawling tool like screaming frog
- 2. Use the index coverage report on Google search console
A tool like screaming from will crawl all your entire website pages and generate a list of pages that have 404 (page not found) status codes that need 301 redirects.
Google search console has the advantage of showing you Google related information such as when the page was last crawled by Google.
Search Console > Coverage > Excluded > Not Found (404)
How to set up 301 Redirects
If you are using a CMS (content management system) there may be the option to set up 301 redirects. Many CMS frameworks these days come with packages installed or that can be installed.
You can add 301 redirects to a server .htaccess file, but this would require a developer. This is usually the best option as the redirect occurs at the server level and doesn’t hit your website application.
You can add 301 redirects using PHP, but this also requires a developer.
How 301 Redirects improve SEO
If you remove a page from a website you would want all the rank that page has accumulated to transfer over to another, either a replacement page, or something similar. 301 redirects help you achieve this. Proper use of 301 redirects can result in a seamless transition from one URL to another for a page, or it can ensure page rank is passed to another page in the eyes of search engines.
Whenever a page is removed from a website you should provide a 301 redirect to improve your SEO.