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301 Redirects: Don’t change a URL till you watch this

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I hope you find this video helpful! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap.

If you ever change the URL for a page or post on your website, you need to set up a 301 redirect

A 301 redirect tells the internet “hey, this URL no longer exists, this is the new URL.”

This is important for a couple of reasons: user experience and backlinks:

  • If a user navigates to the old URL and a 301 redirect is not set up, they will see a 404 Page Not Found error. We’ve all been there and this is frusterating.
  • If your old URL has any backlinks (ie other website’s linking to your old URL), the “link juice” from the linking site won’t pass to yours. This is a deeper topic, so make sure you check out my other videos on backlinks.

Recommended 301 Redirect Actions:

  • Identify pages that need a 301 redirect set up using Google Search Console.
  • Learn how to set up a 301 redirect. This video shows you how to do it in WordPress. If you’re not on WordPress, I have linked other resources below.
  • Set up the 301 redirect.

 

If you ever change the URL for a blog post or a page on your website, you need to set up a 301 redirect. Think about 301 redirect as going to the post office and filling out the form:I no longer live at this address, please forward all my mail to this new address. It’s the same thing with a 301 redirect, so basically, you’re saying this old URL no longer exists. So, send the user to this new URL.

And so this is important for a couple of reasons. One is user experience. You don’t want to be sending users to a page that is going to result in a 404 or not found error, which is basically just a page. I think we’ve all seen it that just says page not found. So that’s one reason. The other reason is actually from an SEO perspective. When you set up a 301 redirect, you’re passing any link juice that the old URL has to the new URL.

And a backlink is a separate topic you’ll probably have to go check out my other videos on backlinks that are coming in the future, but in general, it is also very important for backlinks as well. Now luckily setting up 301 redirects is pretty straightforward and can be done automatically if you’re in WordPress. I will link for resources below if you’re not using WordPress, so if you’re using it like with Wix or something else, so you can go take a look at that.

But if you are in WordPress, you are in luck. The free redirections plugin is so so good. This is what the plugin looks like. If you go to your plugin library, you can just install it for free and set it up. You don’t need to buy any of the paid redirection plugins. I’ve been using this one for five or five years now, and it’s always served me very, very well. So once you’re done installing it, under the tool section in the WordPress backend, you’ll just come to redirection and you’ll see a long, long list of redirects kind of as you grow and change URLs.

I clearly have a lot here and so if I wanted to create a new redirect, all I would do is click add new, and then I would put the old URL in the source and then the new URL in the target and then click add. But I will say when you go through the initial configuration of this plugin there is an option to set these up automatically and so I checked that, so I rarely ever have to look at it.

And so it really just happens automatically for me. Now, if you’re thinking, “oh my gosh, I haven’t been doing this. I don’t know what URLs are broken; what do I do?” Not to worry, I got you; all you’re going to do is head over to Google Search Console, go over to your pages, and then review why pages aren’t indexed. And if you have any not found 404 errors, you can just click in and start going through these URLs. And so what will happen if I open what happens if I open up this URL is it’s going to bring me to a 404 page.

And so, if there’s a relevant page that I could redirect it to, that would be great. Like for example, if I just change the URL for personal trainers web design, then I would take this old URL, come back to redirection, put the source in here, and then put the new ones, like personal trainer. And then once I added that redirect, then I could just go ahead and validate.

For some instances where you actually don’t want to set up a 301 redirect if a page is not found. For example, the person who owned the Samantha Digital Domain before me wrote this blog post. This was never a blog post I ever wrote on my blog. And it also has no backlinks. It’s not ranking in Google. There are really no KPIs that make it a worthy page to 301 redirect. So I will just let it sit here and eventually Google will just remove it from its index. However, for example, this page, this website template kit URL, if I come here, I hope I realized you might be able to not see my URL. Okay, so if I were to pull that up here and come over to the results, you’ll see I have nothing, but I do actually have a similar page, so for example, if I come over to it and I come over to my travel blog website template, so it’s just that the URL change. So this is a really good example, so travel blog template kit, so what I’m going to do is come over to source URL, take what was from Google Search Console, and then grab the correct URL.

And then I can put that in here and click add a redirect. Then, I can come back to Google Search Console and click validate fix. So I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Hey!

Hey there! My name is Sam and I have been building WordPress websites and doing SEO since 2020. I have made so many mistakes and wasted so much time over the years. My goal for these videos is to help you avoid those mistakes and save time.

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