How to Do a 301 Redirect for SEO

What’s a 301 redirect? That’s usually what non-webmasters will respond with when asked. A 301 is a very useful tool to make sure the links that you are getting from your website end up at the right URL address. Search engines that index the domain and pages on your website or blog have a distinct way of doing so. To a search engine, yoursite.com and www.yoursite.com are two different links. This is crucial to understand for SEO purposes. You can learn how to do a 301 redirect for SEO to keep the value of your links that are coming into your domain.

How to Do a 301 Redirect for SEO

First off, a 301 instructs your web server that the page requested has permanently moved to a new location. If sites are sending a ton of links from yoursite.com and not www.yoursite.com, someone following those links could receive a page now found error. The worst case scenario is that you don’t get the SEO benefits in the search rankings. Go for the juice. The link juice that is and make sure to 301 when you need it.

1. Server Method

You can mess up a 301 really bad if you don’t understand it. The server method is slightly complicated but should be mentioned. You can always outsource your redirection work to someone that is more qualified than you. To do a redirection, you must know what server that your site or blog is using. Your choices are Linux or Windows. Find out from your hosting company.

A Linux server can do a PHP 301 redirect. This is useful if you have a WordPress blog or your site is built using PHP pages.

If you are using a website statistics program or Google Webmaster Tools, you can find out what pages are getting errors. Use this data to input the following PHP code on those pages with errors:

<?
header(“HTTP/1.1 301 moved permanently”);
header( “location: http://www.yourcorrectwebpage.com” );
?>

It’s that simple. All links sent to the incorrect page or web address will now be forwarded to the correct domain. Running regular reports will help you stay on top of server and page errors.

2. Plugin Method

For those that want the one-click approach, there is an easy way to handle all redirects. A plugin for WordPress called Redirection is what millions of people are using. The installation takes a single click. From the admin area, you can control what pages need redirected and where they will end up. This is a fast and simple way to get rid of error pages and get back your search engine rankings if they were affected by page errors.

Alternate Methods for 301 Redirects

You might be feeling adventurous or just a little crazy and want to do the redirects by hand at the server level. You can modify the .htaccess file located on your web server if you want to give it a go. Be warned though that you can mess up your server if you don’t know exactly what to do. Here is a tutorial online that describes how to do 301 redirects¬†from .htaccess files.

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One Response to How to Do a 301 Redirect for SEO

  1. Hello, I am trying to do a 301 redirect on my web site so it will come up with the www when someone type in my url without the www. I added a wordpress blog and script to redirect my html web site to a mobile version of my website when a mobile device is detected and used. I use godaddy to host my site. when I attempt to use their tools to do the 301 redirect my web site goes offline. can anyone help. Thanks Anthony

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