Have you ever wondered how you end up at a final destination URL even though it might not be the specific URL you clicked on? That, my friends, is what we call a “redirect.”

 

What is a URL Redirect?

A redirect is the action that occurs when you forward a user or a search engine bot to a different URL than was originally requested. Sometimes a redirect is as simple as navigating a user to a more relevant page on the same domain they requested, and other times its as complex as sending the user or bot to a completely different domain. The three most popular redirects are a 301, 302 and meta refresh.

 

URL Redirect Types

  • 301 Redirect  (Permanent Redirect)
  • 302 Redirect (Temporary Redirect)
  • 307 Redirect, the successor to 302 (Temporary Redirect)
  • Meta Refresh (On-Page Redirect)

 

301 Redirect – Moved Permanently

Firstly, the number “301” is just the HTTP response status code for “moved permanently,” one of those trusty old SEO glossary buzzwords. Tet status code tells search engine bots and web browsers that the content on the page requested has been permanently moved to another URL. This type of redirect is considered best-in-class from an SEO standpoint, because it preserves up to 99% of the link authority from the redirected page, transferring it to the new destination.

 

302 or 307 Redirect – Moved Temporarily

A 302 redirect is a temporary move that essentially tells the search engines that the destination URL will only exist for a moment, and that the original URL should likely stay indexed.

 

Meta Refresh

Contrary to the prior redirects, which are server side, a meta refresh is a page-level redirect. You’ll usually see them in situations where a website says “if you are not redirected in X seconds click here.” These redirects are not recommended to be used from an SEO standpoint, because it doesn’t necessarily offer the best user experience. 

 

When should I use a 301 vs 302 Redirect?

When should you use a 301 redirect vs a 302?  If you plan on permanently moving your page to a new destination, there is no question that you should use a 301 redirect. As stated previously, 301 redirects transfers anywhere from 90-99% of the link authority from the old page to the new page. So if you built strong links to the page you’d like to redirect, using a 301 redirect will preserve almost all of its strength. Google even outlines the usefulness of the 301 redirect in its Webmaster Guidelines stating, “If you need to change the URL of a page as it is shown in search engine results, we recommend that you use a server-side 301 redirect. This is the best way to ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct page. The 301 status code means that a page has permanently moved to a new location.”

Counter to the 301 redirect, 302 and 307 redirects don’t pass link authority to the destination, since the redirect will not be permanent. This type of redirect should generally be avoided for SEO purposes, but can be used during maintenance periods or for very temporary periods. For example, if your original page isn’t displaying the right customer experience, but another similar page is, a temporary redirect would ensure that your users don’t incur a disjointed journey until the fix is in place.

 

How to Create Redirects

Alright, enough of the technical stuff, I’m sure you’re here to figure out, “How do I create a 301 redirect?” Well, there are a couple of different ways that you can create redirects, depending on your preference. You can either use a WordPress plugin, or  if your website is hosted on a server running Apache, you can make changes inside of your .htaccess file.

 

How to Create a 301 Redirect in WordPress Using Plugins

If editing your .htaccess file proves to be too difficult or burdensome, one of the simplest ways to create a 301 redirect is to use one of the many plugins inside of WordPress.

One of my favorite plugins that I personally use to create my redirects is Simple 301 Redirects. Another good plugin that’s an option is Redirection.

For this example we’ll use Simple 301 Redirects. Install it like you would any other WordPress plugin, then move over to your settings in the WP Dashboard. You’ll see an option titled “301 Redirects,”which you can click to get started.

Once you’re in the actual interface you’ll see that its incredibly easy to understand. There is a “request” and a “destination” section, and the plugin gives you examples of how what each looks like.

First, you’ll enter just the URL slug of the page you want to redirect in the “request” section.

After that, you’ll enter the full URL of the new page in the “Destination” section.

You can add as many redirects as necessary, but MAKE SURE you click the “Save Changes” button in the interface, otherwise your redirect will not be recorded.

 

How to Create a 301 Redirect Using .Htacess File (Advanced)

To find your .htaccess file, you’ll need to log in to your hosting account’s cpanel. The screenshots below are provided from Siteground, my preferred hosting platform.

While the UI itself looks different across hosting platforms, you can easily find it of you look for something called a “File Manager” inside of the cPanel.

You can implement 301 redirects through code changes to your .htaccess file, which is a text-based configuration file that controls the directories and subdirectories that sit on an Apache web server. This is only recommended if you are an advanced user, since editing the .htaccess file to add 301 redirects manually does come with some risk.

 

301 a single page URL to another

If you’re making a simple change from one page to another, entering the below snippet inside of your .htaccess file will satisfy that. You can enter as many of these redirect scripts as needed.

Example:

  Redirect 301 /old-page/ http://www.yourdomain.com/new-page/

 

301 an entire directory and all of its contents to another directory

If you’re changing your site’s architecture and renaming a directory, or even migrating a deprecated directory, you’ll want to move all of the old content over to the new relevant destination. Instead of 301 redirecting each page in the directory, the .htaccess script will allow you to move the entire directory to its new destination.

Example:

   RedirectMatch 301 ^/old-directory/ http://www.yourdomain.com/new-directory

301 an entire domain to another domain

RedirectMatch 301 ^(.*)$ http://www.yourdomain.com/

 

Domain Redirects

Redirects are not solely used for page-to-page transfers, they often can be used at the domain level. Instances like moving from HTTP to HTTPS, or executing a domain migration require 301 redirects to maintain SEO authority.

 

Takeaways

Redirection is an integral part of SEO that is often overlooked or left by the wayside, which can have negative consequences. Far too many successful businesses have seen their traffic plummet as a result of improperly using redirects or forgetting to use them at all. Make sure that you properly implement 301 (and 302) redirects when necessary to keep your sites authority and relevance at an optimal state.

Google wants to help you optimize your web presence. One of their tools for doing this is Search Console. If you are already signed up, you will most likely have received an email from Google saying that the new search console is ready.

For now, the new search console is running alongside the old version. You can use whichever one you like via interconnected links.

According to Google, the new search console reports offer: “more transparency into Google’s indexing, stateful two-way communications between Google and website owners to help resolve issues faster, and a responsive user-interface.”

Here’s what you need to know to get the most from Google’s new search console.

Improved Usability

They have made the most popular functions easier to use day-to-day. This version aims to make it easier to fix pending issues. You can also share reports to improve collaboration.

When you go in, you’ll see that it looks very different. The driving force behind the changes was not cosmetic. The search console has been completely rebuilt. The old functionality is still there, but Google has made many improvements.

Search Performance Report

Let’s start with the main difference in this new version of Search Console. Google has kept that brilliant feature that lets you overlay total clicks, total impressions, average position data, and clickthrough rate on the same page. This visualization remains just a click away.

In addition, however, you can now filter by multiple variables. You no longer have to choose between search type, page, query, device, and country, one at a time.

This allows you to be much more specific about your analytics research. It will save you time if you want to know more about your clickthrough rate on mobile phones during Easter, for example.

That’s not all. Google says that users were consistent in asking for more months of search data. The new search performance report has improved on the three months of data to give you up to 16 months of data.

Index Coverage Report

This has been updated from the Index Status report. It will give you insight into how your URLs are being indexed, including warning you about potential issues and letting you know why Google is not indexing some of them.

With new issue-tracking functionality, Google will alert you to new issues as they are detected, making it easier for you to monitor and fix problems.

You can export the data so that you can analyze it more deeply, though this functionality is best for sites that submit sitemap files.

AMP and Job Postings

Search Console will now help you to implement Search Enhancements, starting with accelerated mobile pages and job postings. With these reports, you will be able to see the specific warnings and problems associated with these areas.

• AMP- Feedback is faster now. Google will run several tests at once and let you know without delay when your pages do not pass. You will also receive a log of URLs that have been successfully fixed, across multiple pages.

When issues have been fixed, Google will recrawl and reprocess the URLs, giving them a higher priority.

• Job Posting report – If you post job listings on your website, you can use this report to see relevant statistics. Google has made it easy for you to spot indexing issues and resolve them.

As with the other reports, Google has made its processes more transparent and is providing the tools to gain insights and achieve better rankings.

The Future

We think that Google has done a great job with these Search Console improvements. They allow website owners and web professionals to work smarter and achieve better results in less time. What’s not to like?

What’s yet to come? We think it would be good if Google also provides some handy functionality regarding backlinks and link-building. Since this is the key indicator by which Google ranks websites, businesses would benefit from being able to build links authentically and identify issues. Those issues would include broken links, of course, but also some functionality for improving the level of internal linking wouldn’t go unused!

If you are the owner of a local business, you know how important it is to be visible to your prospective customers online. Half of consumers performing a local search online visit the location in-person within a day. Add to that, the fact that about one in five of those local searches then results in a sale within 24 hours. Most of the sales following local searches (around 80%) are offline purchases, so that proves more traffic to your website brings more traffic to your door.

With more and more businesses becoming aware of the importance of local search, the competition has become stiffer than ever.  We’ve come up with a list of local seo tools that will help you outrank your competition and dominate the search landscape in your industry.

 

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Regardless of how much SEO you know, you’ve heard about backlinks and how getting a ton of backlinks will end all of life’s problems.

You can’t ignore it. You either need to do it or pay someone else to do it. Whichever you choose, we want to make link-building easier.

We’re going to help you get organized. Here is the ultimate cheat sheet on link building. Use this page as a reference and you’ll know what is required regarding links and you’ll be able to stay on track. (more…)

Local searches are an important part of any SEO strategy. Google My Business helps you optimize that local angle and get a competitive edge, if you know how to use it right. Google My Business is free, so it’s worth figuring out how to leverage it.

The Benefits of Google My Business

To qualify for Google My Business, your brand has to have an actual brick and mortar location. Each location you have is an individual listing. People who provide services like carpentry or cleaning are considered service area businesses, who can also qualify by telling Google they deliver goods or services to customers at their locations.

Qualifying local businesses that claim their Google My Business listing can advertise important information – all of the details potential customers want to know. You can list when you are open, your address and phone number, payments you accept, and other data that will assist your local searchers and help you show up in search engine results.

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Supercharging your web traffic with SEO tools does not have to be expensive! Some of the best SEO tools around are free and can make a big difference in how your site ranks in search engine results pages. With the right tools, you can boost your site to a new level of success!

 

1. Screaming Frog

My go-to technical SEO resource

Screaming Frog is an SEO spider tool. That means it crawls websites’ URLs and fetches the onsite elements you need to have to analyze SEO. You can use the free version or get more advanced features with a paid license.

Screaming Frog is the absolute first tool I use when I start my Technical SEO Audit for a client, as it is an invaluable tool to help you not only identify broken links, redirects, but its a great tool to minimize duplicate content and optimize site structure. Regardless of whether you’re working on an enterprise level site, or a site for a small business, Screaming Frog is your best friend.  You can also use it to analyze info like page titles and metadata, review directives and robots, and generate sitemaps. Advanced features include technical support and Google Analytics integration.

Up to 500 URLs are included in the free version of Screaming Frog, which is plenty for a small to medium-sized site and offers a great way to get started using the tool.

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Your web presence is non-negotiable — if you want to attract business, people need to find you online. But if your website is slow and clunky, potential customers will click away before they can engage. Worse yet, they might never come back.

When you take a look at how much revenue you could lose through a slow site, you can quickly see why there is a need for speed.

How Fast is Fast?

Web analytics tell us how fast is fast enough. The research shows that half of visitors expect your page to load in under two seconds.

Around 40 percent of visitors will give up after three seconds, and 14 per cent of people who don’t like your load time will shop elsewhere. Over half of them won’t stay loyal to your brand.

Other numbers show that 80 per cent of people will not come back to your site following a slow load time, and half of those people will share their poor experience with friends, family, and others.

Clearly, the faster the better, and you need to load in at least two seconds. It’s worth understanding exactly why speed is important, though — it impacts more than just immediate customer satisfaction.

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