I will start by telling you that sooner or later you will be using redirects on your site; it’s a fact. It is an essential part of the process when you want to change things up on your site.
By changing things up I mean procedures like changing the domain of the site, or if you simply want to change the location and URLs of your posts.
I, for one, didn’t expect that I will be using redirects so often on my site but here I am. Not only that, but I was also shocked to find out that if not done correctly, you might lose all of your SEO capabilities and progress.
That’s right! If you want to retain your SEO and your rankings on search engines like Google, then you have to redirect your site or posts properly.
What are 301 redirects and how do they work?
To put it simply, 301 redirects are a process where when someone clicks a certain link, that link redirects them to another page. A 301 redirect basically tells search engines like Google that the page has been moved to another location. This is important because search engines will then know how to properly evaluate your SEO for that specific page (post).
Another example is when a user has a certain link bookmarked. If you have changed the location of that link to somewhere else and you hadn’t redirected it, then when the user clicks that link, it will show them the dreadful “404 Page Not Found”. You want to avoid this because then the user will assume that the site is broken and out of commission. Just make sure that you know how to redirect 404 pages and in turn reduce the bounce rate on your site before you get started redirecting.
Redirects play a crucial part in your site’s development and how it is going to grow forward. Don’t think of redirects as something complex or time-consuming. Well, it just so happens that you could simplify the process even further by downloading a plugin that makes the job of redirecting a whole lot easier.
A simple, yet very effective and powerful 301 redirect manager is all you need to get started. With a plugin, you will remove the painful process of going to each page and redirecting them manually. Your best bet is to find a plugin with powerful features that will help you in your redirecting endeavors. A plugin like the “Easy Redirect Manager” can help you redirect your pages in bulk for example.
If you want an in-depth guide on all of the types of redirects and how to properly redirect pages on your site (if you are using WordPress), then channel your attention towards this Ultimate Guide.
When and why would you want to do redirects?
As previously mentioned, the biggest reason for one to do redirects on their site is when they want to change the URL of the site. This is when you want to shift from a, let’s say “.org” to a “.com” or vice versa. Don’t worry, you won’t be the first nor the last person to do this shift.
Some people just opt for creating a whole new website from scratch. This also is nothing new and you do not have to worry about losing your SEO because you can keep all of that with the power of redirects!
So, what are the signs that you need a new website? Well, the short answer would be that its speed has drastically decreased, some of the features that it uses are outdated, or it is just not as esthetically pleasing as you might have thought. Whatever the case may be, you will be redirecting a whole load of pages and articles.
Why are redirects important for SEO?
If you have an article that is ranked first on a search engine, you wouldn’t want to give up on the throne, do you? You can retain this position by doing a simple 301 redirect which will not interfere with your article’s ranking on search engines.
Additionally, this also means that if you are running a site that may not be as popular or has a small volume of visitors daily, it is still important that you do redirects. Your foundation has been built and preserving it plays a significant role in your further progress.
Tips to get you started
If you are planning on doing a whole lot of redirects at once, then this whole process might make the site go offline for a day or two. The issue then arises in the form of visitors visiting your site only to find out that the site is shut down. This might deter them from visiting the site again in the future because some of them might think that the site is either broken or that you have run out of business.
Regardless of the scenario, you must set up an under-construction page that will great the visitors and then inform them that the site is under maintenance and that it will be back online soon. This will assure them that you are still present, just making some changes under the hood, and will also make them feel like you are making critical improvements to your site (which you are).
Additionally, you should put some effort into making an under-construction page because once you make it, you can use it till the end of times and you won’t have to change anything about it (except the date when the site is going to be back online).
A rookie mistake that you should avoid at all costs is making things contradictory. Google is no fool and it will know if you are trying to pull something shady. If the article is named “Top Red Persian Carpets” then it knows which keywords must go into this article.
So, watch out that you don’t redirect your page to something completely different and contradictory. If you are redirecting an article about “Red High Heels” then don’t redirect it to an article discussing “Red Running Shoes”. Google will notice this, and it will in turn label the page as a “Soft 404”. Make your precise measurements, prepare your materials, and dive into the redirection process that your website will undoubtedly thank you for!