301 Redirect: What is it? When to do it? How is it done?

301 Redirect: What is it? When to do it? How is it done?

When creating a website it is normal to publish entries and pages to show the content you want to offer to the user, which is accessible from unique URLs that ideally will not be changed.

In fact, changing URLs is something that is rarely thought about, so rarely thought about that usually those interested in improving their SEO usually purchase link building and outreach services to highlight, applied to such specific URLs.

However, sometimes situations arise that need to be changed, and that is when a 301 redirect should be seriously considered.

What is a 301 redirect?

The 301 redirect is an HTTP status code that indicates that a web page has been permanently moved to another location. It is essentially a change of direction for search engines and users.

When a 301 redirect is implemented, the search engines recognize that the old URL now permanently redirects to the content of the new URL, automatically and seamlessly.

This technique is crucial when you decide to change the structure of a web page, move content to a new location, change the name of a domain or delete specific pages.

It ensures that visitors and search engines are automatically directed to the new location, preserving the SEO value accumulated by the previous page, which is quite positive.

When is it recommended?

The 301 redirect is recommended in several situations to maintain consistency and visibility in search engines, and we will point out a list of common cases where it is advisable to implement it:

  • Domain change. When changing the domain name of your website, it is crucial to implement 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones in order not to lose traffic and search authority.
  • Site restructuring. When you decide to change the structure of your website, either by modifying the hierarchy of pages or by moving entire sections, it is necessary to implement redirects to avoid broken links and loss of position in search engines.
  • Updating URLs. If you decide to change the URL of a specific page, either to improve readability or for SEO reasons, the 301 redirect ensures that visitors and search engines are automatically redirected to the new location.
  • Page deletion. When you decide to remove pages from your website, instead of letting users encounter a 404 error, it is preferable to redirect those URLs to relevant pages or to the home page.

How is the 301 redirection done?

The implementation of 301 redirects can be carried out in different ways, depending on the needs and preferences, one using plugins and the other manually from the hosting:

Use of plugins to redirect

  • WordPress. For sites built on WordPress, plugins like Redirection or Yoast SEO offer user-friendly interfaces for setting up 301 redirects. You only need to enter the old and new URLs in the fields provided.
  • Other CMS. Different content management systems, i.e. CMS, have their own plugins or tools for redirects. Do your research and select one that is compatible with your platform to make this task easy.

Manually from the hosting

  • The first thing you have to do is log into your hosting control panel and look for ‘File Manager’.
  • Go to the folder of the website where you want to make the changes and look for ‘.htacces’, then hit edit.
  • In the field, at the end of the lines of code you will place the following: redirect 301 urlvieja.com urlnueva.com, replacing the old URL with the new one.
  • Once the redirection has been configured, save the changes. The 301 redirect will now be active, and to check it you only have to enter the old URL and see that it redirects to the new one.

Implementing 301 redirects is essential to preserve the integrity and visibility of a website and this must be done correctly, one way or another.

Whether changing domains, restructuring content or updating URLs, 301 redirects ensure a smooth transition for visitors and search engines, while maintaining authority and SEO rankings.

With the right tools, either through plugins or manual configurations, this process becomes accessible to any website owner.