Users face 301 redirects unknowingly while browsing the internet every day.
It is a common phenomenon that you click on the link of a webpage and land on a different webpage even without being aware of that.
What is a 301 Redirect?
A 301 redirect is an HTTP status code indicating a web page has been redirected from its previous location to another.
Http 301 implies a permanent movement of a web page’s location. It informs the browser about the new location of the content.
Does 301 Redirect Affect SEO?
Focusing on the relationship between the 301 status code and PageRank is a common concern for SEO professionals.
PageRank is a Google’s formula that calculates the ‘value of a page’ by measuring the number and quality of backlinks on that page.
Though PageRank is more than just another ranking factor, it is directly proportional to the page’s ranking.
Before 2016, using an HTTP 301 redirect to move a web page to a new location caused a loss in PageRank.
However, Google changed its policy on this matter in 2016.
That ensures no more damping factor and loss in PageRank for using 301 move permanently.
That means if you move domain.com/page1 to domain.com/page2, the redirected page will have the same authority as the original page.
That is why 301 redirects can help you significantly boost your organic traffic.
However, ensuring that your website does not have existing 301 status code issues is a must. Otherwise, those will create obstacles to enhancing your SEO.
How to Identify 301 Redirects?
An in-depth website audit is an ideal way to identify 301 status codes.
You must choose a reliable and accurate tool to perform a site audit, and the RankWatch Site Auditor is the best tool available online.
You only need to follow the steps mentioned below,
- Log in to your RankWatch account and go to the dashboard.
- Click on the ‘Site Auditor’ tab and enter the domain of your website.
- Click the ‘submit’ button.
- The site auditor summary dashboard will instantly generate a detailed crawled report showing HTTP status code distribution chart and total site score.
- The HTTP status code distribution chart includes all the essential crawling stats like 200 pages, 301 redirects, failed URLs and many more.
How to Fix Existing 301 Redirect Issues?
You can fix the existing 301 redirect issues in the following ways,
Redirect the HTTP Version of the Website to the HTTPS Version
SSL certificates add an additional layer of security to your website for your visitors, and Google considers the HTTPS version as one of the ranking signals.
Hence, your website must use HTTPS, especially when SSL certificates are available for free nowadays.
However, ensuring that your visitors visit the HTTPS version of your website is more important. You need to redirect the HTTP version of your website to the HTTPS version for that.
You must check the URL of your website’s home page to ensure that the 301 permanent redirects are functioning correctly.
The URL should appear like https://[www].yourwebsite.com/, plus a lock icon.
How To Remove 301 Pages From Your Sitemap?
Google refers to the sitemap of your website to decide on the pages to crawl and rank.
The pages with HTTP redirect 301 issues practically do not exist anymore. Hence they should be removed from your sitemap to stop Google from crawling them for no reason.
That will also prevent wastage of the crawl budget.
How To Avoid Redirect Chains?
If the initial URL reaches the destination URL via two or more redirects, it is called a redirect chain.
A redirect chain spoils the user experience by slowing down the redirection process.
Though crawlers are capable of following multiple 301 URL redirects, Google advises avoiding them wherever possible. It also advises keeping the chain length between 3 to 5 redirects in unavoidable cases.
Repair Redirect Loops
When one of the 301 redirect URLs of a redirect chain redirects back to another 301 redirect URL of the same chain, it creates an infinite redirect loop.
It confuses the crawlers and kills the user experience. It would help if you fixed all redirect loops occurring on your website in the following ways,
- If the URL is not meant to be redirected, then change the HTTP status code of the URL to 200.
- If you want the URL to redirect, repair the destination URL and remove all other in-between redirects from the loop.
Fix Broken 301 Redirects
If 301 redirects to a page that returns a 4XX or 5XX HTTP status code, it is a broken 301 redirect.
Broken 301 redirects are harmful for both crawlers and visitors.
Crawlers can’t access any page at the destination URL, and as a result, they stop crawling. On the other hand, visitors get frustrated and mostly leave the website.
Do Not Use 302 and Meta Refresh Redirects for Permanent Move
Replace all 302 and meta refresh redirects used for a permanent move in your website with 301 redirects.
302 redirects indicate a temporary move instead of a permanent move, and Google suggests avoiding the use of meta refresh redirects under all conditions.
Stop Organic Traffic to Pages With 301 Redirect Code
You must ensure that the 301 redirect pages of your website are not crawled and indexed by the bots. Those pages should not receive any organic traffic.
If pages with 301 status code receive organic traffic, it implies that Google has not found the redirect until now.
That may happen if you have added the redirection recently. Google will detect it on the next crawl.
However, you can fast pace the process by generating an indexing request for the destination URL in Google Search Console.
The Best 301 Redirect Checker Tool
If you are looking for a 301 redirect checker tool that will provide you with the redirect path instantly, we suggest you try the RankWatch redirect checker tool for free.
It is one of the most accurate redirect checker tools with the utmost user-friendly interface.
Let us explain how to use the tool most effectively by following simple steps.
- First, manually enter the URL in the ‘Enter URL’ box to check the redirection path.
- The tool also allows you to insert the URL from any existing CSV file stored in your system.
- After entering the link, you need to click on the ‘Find Redirect’ button.
- The RankWatch redirect checker will produce a detailed report showing the redirect path and other information in a blink of an eye.
Users face 301 redirects while browsing the internet, even without being aware.
An HTTP 301 is an HTTP status code that indicates a web page has been permanently moved to a new location.
Google’s present policy provides the same authority to the redirected page as the original page, which is why 301 redirects can help you increase your organic traffic.
Before that, you must check that your website does not have previous 301 redirect issues using a reliable tool.
However, using an accurate redirect checker tool to get the details of the 301 redirection path can save a lot of time and effort.