Website Redesigns and 301 Redirects

by Joe B on July 26, 2011

301 redirectWe are often asked by people who have had a website redesign why their customers see a 404 Page Not Found error when trying to access their website. We have to tell them that the person who did their website redesign did not implement 301 redirects.

For those who don’t know, a 301 Redirect is a web server function where an old URL is redirected to a new one. A 301 Redirect is a “permanent” redirect status indicating that the resource has moved permanently. A 301 Redirect tells a browser that a webpage that was located at yoursite.com/a is now located at yoursite.com/b.

Often when websites are redesigned, the URL’s of some or all of the website’s pages change. This could be due to a change from an html system to a content management system or any of a number of reasons. When this happens, you need to use a 301 Redirect for a couple of reasons: 1) the old URL may have some Google juice (i.e. it may rank for certain terms) and you don’t want to lose that, and 2) there may be links to the old URL and you don’t want to lose those either.

By using 301 Redirects, you let Google and web browsers know that a page has moved to a new URL. That way the new page will be delivered when searched for or linked to; otherwise, the web browser would display a 404 Page Not Found Error. It is very important for maintaining a website’s search engine optimization.

Many web designers either don’t know the importance of 301 Redirects in website redesigns or just don’t include them. Be sure to ask your website designer if she will be including 301 Redirects with her redesign of your website. If not, you may want to consider a different website designer.

(Note: URL = the www.yoursiteaddress.com)

 

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