The Importance of 301 Redirects for Your New Domain’s Traffic Levels
Website redesign & changing domains are both demanding tasks, and applying a 301 redirect is imperative in order to safeguard the previous site’s organic traffic levels and take them to next level.
A 301 redirect sustains the performance level of a website by seamlessly instructing search engines to relay an overwhelming proportion of the link authority and trust from the old URL to the new one, meaning your new website doesn’t have to start from scratch in its pursuit of organic authority and a sizeable client base.
Following the successful execution of a 301 redirect strategy, users who search for the past URL will be automatically sent to the new URL. On top of this, search engines will pick up on your 301 redirect during crawling, de-index your old URL and replace it with your new one. Any credit derived from inbound links and other ranking factors are then transferred to your new site, upholding its reputation.
If, however, you choose to overlook a 301 redirect strategy when moving URLS, your old pages will yield 404 not found pages, causing your site to be de-indexed completely by search engines over a short period of time, losing all its authority and valuable backlinks.
The importance of a rock-solid 301 redirect strategy cannot be stressed enough, so much hard graft can be flushed down the proverbial toilet during website migration if one isn’t implemented, and all the coverage you’ve strived for your brand to attain will count for nothing if that site authority isn’t transferred.
Behind the scenes of a 301 redirect
To understand this, it’s worth knowing how a web page is shown to a user. Your browser/search engine have a relationship with a server, whereby your searches cause the browser to contact the server requesting a particular webpage. The server then loads the page in question and before the content appears, the server sends a status code in the running head to instruct the browser what type of page is being displayed.
The general status code of 200 OK from a server denotes a legitimate web page and your browser will then display the content. However, when a 301 permanent redirect is deployed, the server will send a status code reading ‘301 Moved Permanently’ along with the URL of the new page location.
Any users & crawlers seeking to access the old site will then be permanently redirected to the new URL, with the latter also informing search engines to de-index the old URL and replace it with the new URL. The vast majority of link authority and organically built-up trust will also transfer to the URL, and your traffic levels won’t plummet throwing your brand into disarray.
Unfortunately, 301 redirects cannot be conjured out of hats, their many benefits can only be obtained through a proper amount of devotion and diligence. Taking the time to develop an airtight strategy will help massively in this process.
Jill Kocher’s 2-part guide on how to execute a successful Redirect Strategy – http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/63034-For-Redesigns-Protect-SEO-with-301-Redirect-Strategy- – is a fantastic reference point for anyone seeking a comprehensive insight on the matter.