A 301 redirect lets search engines know that www.yoursite.com and yoursite.com are the same website. It is a simple process to due a 301 redirect and is also very important. Talk to your web developer today about making sure your website has a redirect. Proper redirecting is something that far too many web developers and website owners fail to address. When you need to change URLs or SEF URLs on your page or remove your content, most people just remove the old URL to handle the job. The problem is that at some point Google and other search engines have already indexed that URL. When search engines realize that your indexed URL leads to a 404 error, it penalizes your organic rankings, which can severely hinder your rankings. To help solve this problem, it is absolutely crucial that you implement 301 redirects on your website.
How 301 Redirects Work:
By implementing a 301 redirect on a defunct URL, you automatically push the user to a new URL that is currently working. Additionally, search engines understand the purpose of a 301 redirect, which is to say that the URL has been permanently moved. In most cases, all of the SEO power that has built up in your old URL is then pushed to the new URL, and you can continue on with your SEO strategy as initially planned.
Several people attempt to use 303 redirects to redirect users and search engines around their website. 303’s say that a link has been temporarily moved to a different URL, where 301 redirects say that this change is permanent. If you plan on using the old URL again, then 303 redirects work find, but if you’re not going to use that URL anymore, then you want to definitely use 301 redirects. Not doing so will, again, hinder your organic rankings and ultimately affect your organic traffic.
How to Implement 301 Redirects:
There are generally several different ways to implement 301 redirects on your website. The most common way to do so is through your .htaccess file located on your ftp. Blog templates like Wordpress and Joomla have plugins that allow you to properly redirect both users and search engines.
Again, it’s important to mention that when possible, you should not eliminate content or change URLs on your website. You’ll never fully recover your SEO power after doing this, especially if your pages end up at a 404 error (Page Not Found). If you absolutely need to do redirects, then taking action with 301 redirects are going to be your best bet to maintain the SEO work that you’ve put into your website before the change was made.