301 redirects play an important role in the health of your website. It's perfect for fixing links after reorganizing your old sites. Especially when your site has expired content and you want to avoid sending visitors to a 404 error page by creating a redirect instead. Let's find out what a 301 redirect is and how to use it through this post!
What is 301 Redirection?
Simply put, a redirect is a way of sending website visitors to another URL when the original one has been replaced. The redirected website URLs often contain similar, related, or more adequate information to the original ones.
Currently, there are two main types of redirects: temporary and permanent. A temporary redirect usually happens for a short period of time, for example, when your website is being updated and repaired. In contrast, a permanent redirect means that users will always be redirected to another URL. It can be used in the cases where you change the domain or the links permanently, which we will talk about in detail in the following part. Then, a 301 redirect the name of those permanent redirects.
Creating a 301 redirect tells search engines that the requested URL has moved permanently and that the content can now be found on the destination URL.
Benefits of 301 Redirects?
Improve the Retention and User Experience
301 redirect keeps visitors engaged in your site.
In particular, after you have changed the links of posts or pages, users will get a 404 error when accessing the old URLs. This will negatively affect their experience of the site and could cause them to become frustrated and leave.
Then, the solution is using another post or page which has the same content and redirecting users to there. Thanks to such redirects, users can still find the information they need through your website. And certainly, reading those related content is better than reading an error message. This way, the user experience will be improved and your site will not be dropped from the search engine index.
That is exactly what the 301 redirect does for you.
It’s important to note that anytime you move a page from one URL to another without redirection, it will take time for the search engines to notice the change and re-score your website if any. To avoid that, using 301 redirects is the best solution.
Furthermore, since 301 redirects significantly improve the retention rate and user experience for your website, it helps improve SEO ranking a lot. The goal of doing SEO for a website basically is to have better user experience. So when you have it, your website ranking will automatically increase.
In addition, you can also easily optimize URLs for articles or websites without any negative SEO impact thanks to 301 redirects. For example, if your post doesn't include keywords, you can edit the post and add a new URL. Then use 301 redirects to direct readers to the optimized URL.
How to Set Up 301 Redirects in WordPress
Method 1: Use Code to Create 301 Redirect
We’ll use the htaccess file on the server in this first method and it requires a little bit of coding. Depending on your requirements of how to redirect, the code will be customized accordingly.
In my opinion, this method is more suitable for people who are technical or have knowledge of code. Therefore, I will talk about this method in detail in a later article. Today, I am going to show you an easier method that is suitable even for beginners.
Method 2: Use a Plugin to Create a 301 Redirect
There are numerous useful and free plugins for this on wordpress.org, which take the coding element away from creating a 301 redirect. These plugins allow the user to input the old URL then the new URL, and snap – you’ve got a 301 redirect. This makes the process of implementing redirects simpler and quicker, often cutting out the need for developer involvement. One of the most friendly and easiest to use is Redirection. So, let’s start creating 301 redirects with Redirection in this tutorial.
Step 1: Install and Activate The Redirection Plugin
In the admin dashboard, go to the menu Plugin > Add New. Search for the Redirection plugin, then install and activate it.
Step 2: Set Up The Redirection Plugin
Once activated, you could not use this plugin immediately for 301 redirects. Instead, you need to set up this first.
In the list of installed plugins on your website, click Settings right below the name of the Redirection plugin to go to its settings page.
Then, select Start Setup on the setup page.
As you can see, there are several options that appear here. Choose the one that suits your needs, then go to Continue Setup > Finished.
Now, you are able to create redirect links.;
Step 3: Create a 301 Redirect for URL you want
As you can see in the Tools menu, the Redirection submenu appeared.
Click on it > Add new to create a new redirection.
There will be a new window. Please pay attention to the 2 most important fields which are: Source URL (the old URL) and Target URL (the new URL that you want to redirect the user to). Please fill in the URLs there.
There is also an option named Group that helps you categorize redirections. It will be useful when you have too many redirect links that can be classified into different groups for better management, searching, or editing.
Beside that, there are other setting options that Redirection plugin provides you:
- Group tab: this is where you create groups and edit their information.
- Site tab: It has the Relocate Site feature, which is useful when you change the domain of your website. All you need to do is click on it and everything (except the WordPress login and admin pages) will be redirected to the new domain. Furthermore, the Site Aliases feature on this tab also helps you redirect another domain to your site whenever you want. It's so easy and convenient!
- Log tab: It allows you to check if someone changed your redirect.
- 404s tab: this tab shows you which links on your websites are having 404 errors.
Step 4: Check The Result
Let's see whether your 301 redirected links work or not. This is the one I created.
As you can see, it worked successfully on my post, which is so fast and easy.
Through this article, I hope I have helped you better understand 301 redirects and how they work. Let's try it out and let us know the results. Don't forget to follow our next articles to get more useful knowledge. Good luck!