What are 301 redirects?

You may have heard your marketing consultant refer to “301 redirects”, and you may be wondering well, what does this mean?

Well, in a nutshell 301 redirects are often used when a business wants to point one web page to a new page that they have created to replace it.

This article will look at what 301 redirects are, and why agencies use 301 redirects


What is a “301 redirect”?

Instead of deleting a page, and losing all of its SEO value, sometimes an agency will use a 301 redirect.

This basically means that the old webpage address is pointed towards a new page.

This is achieved by implementing something called a 301 redirect, which some web designers may refer to as a “permanent redirect”.

Therefore it is thought that if you have a page that has a lot of good quality backlinks pointing towards it, then using a 301 redirect may allow some of the “link equity” or “link juice” to pass through to the new page.

Also when a 301 redirect is implemented correctly by your agency, the user should not experience any delay, they should just be taken straight to the new webpage the web designers have created to replace the old page.

So therefore a 301 redirect is quite simply a permanent redirect from one page to another, yet an SEO agency such as ours sometimes use 301 redirects and that’s because we do not want to lose the “link equity” and all of the SEO goodness that has been built up to that page.

Therefore the agency may choose not to delete that page, but to instead use a “301 redirect”.


Why are 301 redirects used?

Let’s say for example that you run a solicitor’s practice, and you are about to purchase another solicitors practice.

You don’t want two website’s, you just want one website, yet your SEO consultants have advised you that there are lot of good-quality backlinks leading to the website that you have purchased from the solicitors practice that you have acquired.

Therefore in some instances, the agency may recommend that a 301 redirect is used through from some pages, through to the relevant pages on your existing website.

If this is carried out correctly (white hat), and by correctly we mean following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and the agency has done the work in a white hat way, then this can help the business to have link equity passed from the backlinks, to then be pointed from the old page, to be redirected through to the new page.

Obviously if a lot of time and hard work has been spent by another agency implementing white hat SEO, you don’t just want to delete those pages, and for all that hard work to go to waste, so you might employ an agency, which can use those 301-redirects and point the redirect towards the new page.

However, this has to be implemented correctly, as if it is not implemented correctly, and thought through, then it can mean that your SEO becomes damaged.

Therefore you should only choose an SEO agency which has a large amount of experience in using “301 redirects” and helping “link equity” to pass from one page onto a new page of your company website.


Why 301 redirects are often used for products that are no longer available

Let’s say that you sell products, and that product page has accrued a lot of SEO goodness, in the way of good quality backlinks for example.

Yet, that product might be out of stock temporarily, yet an SEO agency such as ours, may recommend that you do not delete that page, and then simply recreate it when the product comes back in stock, that’s because this will wipe out all of the SEO work that might have been carried out to that product page.

Instead what should be built into the e-commerce website, or a web developer might be needed, is just to temporary mark that page as the product is currently out of stock and state when it will come back into stock.

This will mean that the page can continue to be live, does not need to be deleted, but also the web developers should suggest other products that are available, this will help your SEO company to start reducing the businesses “bounce rate”.

As obviously if you land on a page and see the product is out of stock, the customer might leave that website and purchase from else where, so the agency should aim to keep the customer on the website for as long as possible by offering different alternative products that they may wish to purchase.

With that said, deleting the page every single time the product is out of stock, well that will not help to improve that pages SEO, therefore you might wish to either mark the product as “out of stock”, or if the product will be permanently out of stock, because it is has been replaced by a newer model for instance, you may wish to talk to your SEO agency about using a 301 redirect, to redirect that old page to the new page where the product or the newer model is now being sold.


Why is a “301 redirect” often referred to as a “permanent redirect”?

You may hear your agency refer to a “301 redirect” as a “permanent redirect”, that’s because they are permanent redirect to a new page which a lot of marketing companies believe help’s the “link equity” from the old page, then pass onto the new page.


Why you should choose a “white hat” agency to implement 301 redirects

301 redirects are often referred to as part of the “technical SEO process”, that’s to say the work should be undertaken by a competent SEO agency, you should therefore use an agency which has experience of implementing 301 redirects.

You should choose a skilled agency, that’s because if they are carrying out 301 redirects on a large scale, for example on an e-commerce website, then this needs to be undertaken by somebody who has a large amount of SEO experience, and will follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and must do this in a white hat way.