To define in the simplest technical definition, a 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. It is also often described as a “change of address form”. Similar to moving to new homes, you want to make sure all your mail is properly forwarded to your new address.
From a web example, if your previous website has the domain name of www.bextxyz.com and you wanted to have it changed to www.thisismynewwebsite.com, you would need to implement a 301 redirect from your old URL to the new one. The effect would be, users who typed in the old website address (or clicked on link coming from other sites) would automatically be forwarded to the new URL.
Here are some tips on how to use a 301 redirect that will help you get found by your audiences.
- Redirect between the http:// and http://www. versions of your domain name. Too much of the webmasters and website owners, the www. and non-www. versions of your site are considered as two different websites. They are actually different and hypothetically, could lead to different content. Make sure that you have a 301 redirect in place between the www. and non-www. versions of your website. By creating a 301 redirect, the Internet will see a single URL attributed to your business.
- Do Not Move to a New Domain Without Setting up First a 301 Redirect. There might be factors why would you want to move to a new website; rebranding, revamping your company, got a merger deal etc.. If so, make sure to do it the right way because without it, assumed web authority from the previous domain that was earned would be just wasted.
Even big companies make this mistake. ToysRUs made this mistake when it acquired Toys.com as an attempt to rank better for the keyword “toys”. Ironically, ToysRUs forgot to do a 301 redirect between the old domain to Toys.com. This mistake caused it to lose its SEO authority on the search engines.
As a word of advice, if you have an existing website and would want to move to another domain name, do not start from scratch, always setup a 301 redirect from your old domain to your new one so inbound links to your old domain will send the same authority to your new sites as well as helping users find your site better when links are clicked on some other websites that are pointing to your old website will forwarded properly to the new web address.