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The Marketing Glossary

301 Redirect

| 301 ˌrē-də-ˈrekt |

What is a 301 redirect?

A server-side 301 redirect alerts users and search engines of a webpage’s change of URL. It allows users to find the old page by automatically redirecting the user to the new and notifies web crawlers that a webpage has permanently moved to a new location.

Why do I need a 301 redirect?

A 301 redirect is crucial during the process of redesigning a website or before a domain has been altered. If a specific page’s URL structure has changed, for example, “example.com/old-page” to “example.com/new-page”, you would set up a 301 redirect so that visitors who may have the old URL bookmarked, visitors who access the site from an old hyperlink of the former URL, or who may try to enter in the URL into a search bar will be directed to the intended page. Not only will visitors be able to get to the page you intend, 301 redirects are also the best way to maintain the SEO value of old pages. The value of inbound links (or backlinks) and on-page SEO will naturally pass over to the new URL destination.

What’s the difference between a 301 and a 302 redirect?

A 301 redirect is permanent, whereas a 302 redirect indicates a temporary move. Choosing between a 301 and a 302 redirect allows search engines to know whether to index the new page (301) or to wait until a permanent destination has been found (302). A 301 redirect is sometimes referred to as is a permanent move of address, while a 302 redirect might be pictured as a short-term forwarding address.

What’s the best way to do a 301 redirect?

A 301 redirect can be implemented via a .htaccess file, by using PHP, ASP, Java, or even a simple WordPress plugin. You should ask your web developer how they plan to manage redirects on any new website redesign project.

Is there a limit to how many 301 redirects you can have?

No. There is no limit to the number of 301 redirects that Google will index. However, according to Matt Cutts from Google, when you have a “chain” of redirects, that is, 301 redirects leading to other 301 redirects, then Google’s main crawler, Googlebot, may stop indexing the link if it is longer than 5 or 6 redirects.