We recently added a great new feature to SiteWorks: the ability to create 301 Redirects.
What is a 301 Redirect?
A 301 Redirect allows you to move a page without losing the original page’s Search Engine ranking.
For example, if you have a page called Page1 and you want to rename it to Page2, the current Google ranking of Page1 will be lost. When a user finds Page1 in their Google search, it will come up with a 404 – Page Not Found error and Google will eventually remove this page from any search results. Meanwhile your new page, Page2, will have to crawl up the Google ranks, just as Page1 had done way back when.
Rather than lose the great Search Engine status you have achieved, you can now create a 301 Redirect. It allows you to forward the old URL to the new URL, thus telling the Search Engines, and subsequently the users that find your old page, where this new data can be found. Eventually the new page will crawl up the Search Engine ranks, but in the meantime, the Search Engine ranking for your old page content will remain intact.
How do I create a 301 Redirect?
In SiteWorks, head to Site Settings under the Dashboard tab. In the left side navigation, you will see a tab for 301 Redirects. This is where you will create all of your 301 Redirects, and there are two ways to do this.
If you have a lot of pages that need to be redirected, you can create a CSV file with all of the new and old URLs separated by commas. The 301 Redirects page has a link to our sample CSV file, which you can download and use to create your own in order to prevent any errors when you upload it.
If you only have a few pages that you feel need to be redirected, you can manually enter the old URLs and select the new URLs in your SiteWorks site.
One thing to note here, when you enter your old and new URLs, whether in a CSV or manually, you need to remove http://www.yourdomainname.com from the URL and be sure the URL begins with a slash (/).
When can I remove 301 Redirects?
It is recommended that you leave them there forever. Ideally, Search Engines will have reindexed your content after a few months, but in case they have not, or if there are other websites that link to your site, it is good practice to leave the redirects in place. By leaving them you are not hurting anything, other than possibly having a lengthy list on your 301 Redirects page in SiteWorks, and are ensuring that Search Engines and users will not encounter broken links to your site.
At the end of the day…
301 Redirects are most useful when you first launch a new site, in order to keep the Search Engine status of all your pages intact. However, as you continue to update your site, be sure to add 301 Redirects any time you move a page within your site. Organic Search Engine rankings take a long time to achieve and are a valuable marketing tool that you do not want to lose.