GreenBerry | What is a 301 redirect and why should I use them?
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What is a 301 redirect and why should I use them?

Search engine friendly 301 redirects are one of the most important but frequently overlooked aspects of any eCommerce migration project.

Get them right and your business won’t suffer any loss in organic search engine traffic but ignore them completely and your business could suffer from a drop in rankings and traffic.

The 301 redirect has two functions, it tells the search engine spiders a page has moved but it will also redirect a customer from an old page to the corresponding new page.

One of the main reasons why a business rules out moving to another eCommerce platform is the concern about a drop in search engine traffic which could affect sales and turnover. This is especially the case with clients with older websites who enjoy high levels of organic traffic.

Moving to another platform will most likely mean the page names on your website will change URL’s which could potentially jeopardise the amount of organic search engine traffic a site receives.

What is a 301 redirect?
This is where a 301 redirect comes into play. The links are server side code which tells search engine spiders or a web browser that a page has changed URL’s permanently.

Setting up a 301 redirect which says old_blue_widget.html has changed to new_blue_widget.html will help the search engines update their search results.

Within a few days you’ll see the new Blue Widget page replace the Old Blue Widget page in the search results without any lose in position or traffic.

There are many ways of creating the links but we’ve always found the best way is to include the 301 redirects in the htaccess file on a linux server or in the conf file on a Nginx server.

The htaccess or conf files are one of the first things accessed on the server when a customer or search engine spider reaches the server where a client’s website is hosted.

How to setup a 301 redirect?
To redirect a search engine spider or customer visiting an old page on a client’s website we would use a 301 redirect like the one below –

RewriteEngine on
Redirect 301 /old_blue_widget.html

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