Why is 301 Status Code Important for SEO?
301 redirects are crucial for SEO as they provide an effective way to redirect traffic between web pages. This method plays a significant role in improving the SEO performance of your website. In this article, we’ll discuss what 301 redirects are, what to consider when implementing them, and how to address issues related to 301 redirects.
301 redirects were a favorite of Google’s algorithm until 2014. While their prominence has diminished, they still play a vital role in the algorithm. Although Google no longer directly uses the values created by the PageRank algorithm for ranking, it’s acknowledged that PageRank is still considered in conjunction with other factors. John Mueller, who has worked at Google for many years, mentioned in 2020 that PageRank is still being evaluated. While 301 redirects were associated with PageRank, this changed after 2016, according to Garry Illyes.
What is Status Code 301?
A 301 status code is the process of redirecting a specific URL on your website to another URL. This action redirects content and traffic from the old URL to the new one, signaling to users and search engines that the old URL is no longer in use and is now valid. These redirects are also known as permanent redirects.
This practice is essential when updating URLs for SEO because search engines follow permanent redirects, adding the new URL to the index and removing the old one.
What is the Purpose of a 301 Redirect
Implementing 301 redirects is crucial for enhancing the SEO performance of a website. Websites require various strategies to rank well on search engines, and managing URLs and their redirects is one of them. Changing or removing URLs without proper redirection can negatively impact a website’s search engine ranking.
301 redirects preserve traffic from old URLs to new ones, preventing a drop in SEO performance when URLs are modified. Backlinks directed to old URLs are also redirected to new ones, improving the overall quality of backlinks. As a result of an incorrect 301 redirect, visitors encounter a non-existent URL. This results in a 404 (page not found) result for users.
When performing 301 redirects, avoiding confusing the new URL with a non-existent one is essential. Also, please ensure content alignment between redirected and new pages so that you can help search engines understand the new pages better.
How to Detect 301 Status Code
Tools like Screaming Frog, Semrush, and Ahrefs can help identify URLs with 301 redirects. The 301 HTTP status code, which is a permanent redirect, is to avoid having redirected URLs in it. It is also essential that all clickable fields work with the 200 code.
When you redirect a URL, Google keeps track of old and new links. One of the links becomes the canonical URL, which depends if it is temporary or permanent. The other URL becomes an alternative name. Alternative names are different versions of the canonical URL that users see as trustworthy.
How to Implement Status Code 301
If you’re changing domain names and opening a new site, you can achieve this in two steps. First, change the domain name, and second, make necessary changes to affected pages due to the URL change. Redirecting all URLs individually to the new domain is crucial to preserving traffic and backlink sources.
For WordPress, you can use plugins like Redirection to easily manage 301 redirects without editing the .htaccess file. Similarly, Cloudflare provides an option for 301 redirects through Page Rules in the account settings.
WordPress 301 Redirect: How to Do It?
Implementing a WordPress 301 redirect can be much simpler through plugins than editing the .htaccess file. Various plugins, such as the “redirection” plugin, are available.
- First, add the new plugin, Redirection, to the plugins section.
- After installing the plugin, click on the “Start Setup,” “Continue Setup,” and “Finish Setup” buttons.
- To create a new redirection, click the “Add New” button.
- Enter the old URL in the source URL section and the new URL in the target URL section.
- Subsequently, your website’s pages will open with a 200 status code instead of a 301 code. This way, you’ve addressed how to do a WordPress 301 redirect.
First, we must add our new redirection plugin to the plugins section. After installing the plugin in our WordPress theme, we must click on the “add new” button to make a new redirect. Then, the old URL is written in the source URL section, and the new URL is written in the source section. Thus, from now on, the pages on your website will be opened with the 200 code, not the 301 code. Thus, you complete the WordPress 301 redirect.
Cloudflare 301 Redirect: How to Do It?
Some third-party SEO tools are commonly used to monitor traffic to a website, with Cloudflare being one of the most popular and user-friendly choices. If your website uses CloudFlare SSL, you can perform a 301 redirect without coding. Follow these steps:
- Log in to your CloudFlare account.
- Select the appropriate Cloudflare account for the domain where you want to add URL redirection. (Choose your site.)
- Click on the “Page Rules” application.
- On the opened page, there will be a Rules page. Click on the “Create Page Rule” button.
- In the box at the top of the page, enter the old URL address you want to redirect.
- Choose “Forwarding URL” from the section labelled “Then the settings are.”
- Click on “Select Status Code,” select “301 Permanent Redirect,” and press OK button.
- Enter the desired URL.
- To complete these steps, click the “Save and Deploy” button.
If you only want to use SSL, meaning you want to redirect from HTTP to the newly activated HTTPS, select “Always Use HTTPS” and click “Save and Deploy.” This way, you’ve answered how to perform a Cloudflare 301 redirect.
Permanent 301 HTTP redirects are a powerful tool for removing or changing old links on your website. When done correctly, they maintain your website’s ranking while enhancing user experience. However, improper implementation can adversely affect your site’s ranking and user experience. Always ensure that 301 redirects are executed accurately to reap their benefits. You can contact us anytime for questions about technical SEO topics such as 301 redirection.