301 redirect is one the most efficient search engine friendly ways of redirecting your page to a new location, and preserving its ranking in Search Results. It’s mostly used when you have changed the name of a page on your site or you have moved the site or page to a new location. This redirection method is called 301.
Scenario: You’ve had a website up for a while, and is ranking well in search engines, and getting some good quality traffic to your site. Now as its coming closer to Christmas and New Year, you want a fresh look and a new site. So you’ve got your designer and developer to build you a fresh new site, with some great new features.
The problem your facing is, when you upload the new site you will need to remove your old site from server, and the files and the structure of your new site is completely different to the one that you have currently.
It could be different for couple of reasons:
- You’ve built your new site using a CMS system
- You’ve build your new site on a new domain name
- You’ve re arranged the content and style of your site
So how would you get your new site up, and also retain the work and the rankings of your existing site, rather then starting all over again.
- Create a page that notifies your visitors that this page is no longer here (custom error page 404)
- Redirect your users and the search engines to a new location (301 redirect) – preferable
I know for the two above I would choose the second one, as it’s much easier for my visitors and also I will not affect my search rankings.
How to create a hassle free 301 redirect
Now you don’t need to be an experienced programmer or developer to arrange a 301 redirect, it can be done with the help of a good hosting company, many of the times the redirect option in your hosting control panel, allows you to create a domain redirect to a new location.
Now if you don't have the faculties to arrange it via your hosting control panel, the second best way to do it is manually using a . htaccess file.
- Open notepad and name the file without any extensions .htaccess, or download the .htaccess file of your server if you already have one.
- Paste this code into the notepad: redirect 301 /old/old.htm http://www.you.com/new.htm (replacing the urls with your old and new url, do not add www. to the first url)
- Upload the file to your server
- Test, by going to your old url and see if it redirects to a new site.
There are many ways of redirect a site, but 301 redirect is the safest method, as it will keep your old search engine rankings and also pass on the page ranks to your new site.