301 forwarding, also known as 301 redirect, is an HTTP status code that indicates a permanent move of a certain web page. In the field of search engine optimization (SEO), this type of redirection plays an important role, as it helps to avoid possible problems related to duplicate content and to preserve link popularity.
How 301 forwarding works
Over time, a web page may be moved to a new URL, for example, due to a website redesign or reorganization. In such cases, 301 redirection should be used to ensure that visitors and search engines are properly redirected to the new URL. Through this permanent redirection, search engines like Google know that they should consider the new URL as the relevant page and index it. At the same time, the link popularity from the old URL is applied to the new URL, which means that the new page does not have to start from scratch and does not lose important rankings in search results.
Advantages of 301 redirects
- Avoid duplicate content: Using 301 redirects can avoid duplicate content, which is often caused by different URL structures. Duplicate content can lead to poorer search engine rankings, as search engines have a hard time assessing the relevance of different versions of a page.
- Maintaining link popularity: Due to the permanent redirection, all incoming links from the old URL are also transferred to the new one. Thus, the link popularity remains and the new URL benefits from the previous ranking power of the old page.
- Optimizing the user experience: Visitors who land on an old URL are automatically and seamlessly redirected to the new URL without feeling any disruptive interruption to their navigation of the site.
How do I create a 301 redirect?
The implementation of a 301 redirect can vary depending on the web technology used. In the case of WordPress, there are several plugins and methods to set up such redirects. One common method is to edit the .htaccess file on the web server, adding specific instructions for the redirect. It is important to be clear about the correct syntax rules and follow best practices to avoid possible mistakes.