Why you might need 301 redirects if you're relaunching your website

If you’re about to relaunch your website you might want to consider whether you’ll need to setup 301 redirects. But what are 301 redirects, and why might you need them?

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect which informs search engines that a URL has changed. This is important in helping maintain rankings and link authority. Dead links will stop ranking, and users visiting them will be unable to find the desired content. Likely becoming frustrated in the process.

Website URLs and structures can get amended during a relaunch or rebrand. That can result in broken links and 404 errors. However websites may be relocated on an entirely new domain, which is common when a rebrand includes a name change.

For example, let’s say your old websites team page was www.yourwebsite.com/about/meet-the-team/.

However, on your new website the navigation has changed and the team page is now found at www.yourwebsite.com/team.

If that previous team page was indexed in the search engine results, it’s now going to return a 404 error when clicked. In order to fix the broken link and get the user back to the content on the new website you need a 301 redirect.

Creating a 301 redirect

There are a couple of options for creating redirects. If you’re using WordPress then you could opt for a plugin like: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/.

A more tradition approach is to edit the .htaccess file. There’s a good post on CSS Tricks about this: https://css-tricks.com/snippets/htaccess/301-redirects/.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions about setting up redirects let me know.

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