My parents moved recently and like most of the older generation, my Mum turned to her pen and paper and immediately sent out Change of Address cards to let us, and everyone else she wanted to stay in contact with, know where they now were so that no contact was missed. No missing birthday cards, no lost party invitations, no disappointed guests showing up for an unannounced cup of tea.
Imagine you have rebuilt your website, your website designers have recreated your site and it looks perfect. Your previous website had been live for years and had a good Google ranking, so the new one should follow suit and direct your potential customers to your new look website, right? Not quite.
Google will have each of your old pages indexed, and if the new website has slightly different URLs for each page, then Google will start directing users to your 404 Page Not Found page a lot, which will start seeing you fall down the rankings. So how do you tell Google where your new pages are? We achieve this by setting up 301 Redirects on your domain / site.
A 301 Redirect is a permanent redirect line of code which links one URL to another. They will guide the user and search engines to the chosen URL from the one they typed, had bookmarked or stumbled across in the search results.
It allows Google to maintain the ability to crawl your pages without hitting 404 dead-ends. It maintains the user experience to make sure and old internal links do not appear broken.
There are a handful of reasons a web developer would use 301 Redirects, but mainly they would be used for:
1) To direct website traffic from a changed or removed domain name to a new URL on the same domain – the use of a 301 Redirect is a key factor in maintaining the power of inbound links.
2) During a Company / Organisation takeover or rebrand, where a new name (and subsequently domain name) is used, and traffic needs to be re-routed to the new domain.
3) Directing traffic to the preferred domain (http:// or https:// etc)
It is simple to create 301’s in several ways (in an .htaccess file, using a WordPress Plugin, using Shopify built in tools etc.). If you have moved / migrated a site recently or created a new one, it is essential you check you have your redirects set up to maintain your Google presence. If you have any questions we would be only too happy to advise.
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