June 10


What is a 301 Redirect

By Jason Khoo

June 10, 2020


Hi guys, and welcome to another edition of Zupo SEO Talk & Tea. 

Today's conversation is, what is a 301 redirect? The reason why we're talking about this is because I was filming another video, and I was talking about 301 redirects and I realized, I don't think I've ever made a video about that.

So I'm assuming if you're watching this, you probably don't know what a 301 redirect, and today's video will be about defining what that is. But before we jump on in, if you're new to our video series, this is Zupo SEO Talk & Tea, so we don't start any SEO conversation without introducing some tea.

So today we have a green tea that is kind of an interesting green tea. It tastes a little bit sweeter than your normal green tea, but there's no sugar added or anything, so it has that like sweet bitterly taste. I have no idea how to relate that to any food because I can't think of what the hell is sweet and bitter, but I know this is.

So let's go ahead and jump on in. So what is a 301 redirect? A 301 redirect... And by the way, I'm not going to be very academic with this. If you want to Google what the actual academic definition is, I would actually suggest that. I, when I define things is much more executional than academics, so I'm going to define this executionally.

A 301 redirect is essentially a code or a signal you can put on your website that tells Google, this page is now that page. So it's essentially what you would use if you were moving pages to signal that you have moved a page.

So let's use a quick example. Let's say I have a piece of shop and you have, let's just say your About Us page. This happens all the time. I know the example sounds weird, but it happens all the time. Let's say you have an About Us page, there's pizzashop.com/about, and that's cool. It's where your About Us page is, and then you just say, you know what? I'm going to redesign it and we're going to move the URL to pizzashop.com/about-us. We're going to change it from /about to /about-us.

The reasons can be very many. For us, we can be like, you know what? I think I want to put About Us, or sometimes it's not even something you intended to do, you just randomly did it. But a 301 redirect would then tell Google, okay, this .com/about is now moved to /about-us. It tells Google that I am permanently redirecting this old page to a new URL.

And use cases of 301s are very many. Like for example, when you are merging two blog posts, let's say you wrote a blog post about let's just say how to make a pepperoni pizza, and then you have another blog post that says how to make pepperoni, and then you think to yourself, why don't I just combine that? And so you decide to combine the blog posts.

Well, you're going to have to delete one of them because you're going to combine them. Well, that's another reason for a 301 redirect, which is you can say, How to Make a Pepperoni blog post when I delete that, we're going to move it and merge it with How to Make a Pepperoni Pizza. So that's a one blog post.

Well, 301 redirect would then tell Google, "Okay, we used to have to the How to Make Pepperoni blog post is now being moved into another piece, so the old URL is now associated with this new URL as merging these two. The reason why that's important is two pronged; one, as your site grows, old pages will be deleted and new ones will be created. The problem is Google's indexing your site, so they know where all the URLs are.

When you update and delete URLs, they need to know. But the only thing is in their index, they may not know you have updated. A 301 redirect is their way of telling, "Oh, let us not show searchers that page anymore, because it's not there anymore." The 301 will tell them what the new page is. That's why [inaudible 00:03:49] really important is it tells Google and searchers where to go if they're looking for an old URL.

Second, it passes a SEO value. For the How to Make Pepperoni blog post, if you want to merge it together, let's say you got some press about it. Some people really liked it and they linked it to it. Well, if you do not 301 redirect from that blog post into the one you're moving into, what will happen is you'll essentially lose the links because they will be central 404 page, which means it doesn't exist. And the 404 would then be like, okay, this URL exists, but there's no content on it. The links being sent there would be sent there, but there's nothing to see.

So 301 redirect will also pass whatever link value to that URL, so where you eventually want it to go. That way, all the work you've ever done can be amassed together, that way you're not starting all over again. So where a 301 redirect is very important is that it lets you be nimble and flexible. If you want to make your site big, if you want to make adjustments, 301s do not sacrifice SEO, it actually lets you move things quite efficiently.

So if you want to make changes, you don't have to be like, "Oh, well, we spent so much work on this page, you can 301 it, and it will pass all the SEO value for you. So a 301 redirect is very important in the sense that life is going to make changes, business will have changes, your website will have changes.

301s allow you to make changes without sacrificing your SEO, and it also allows you to actually strategically place where you want your legs to be going. So 301s can be used in a variety of ways. Just defining it doesn't really give it justice of how many things you can do with it, but a 301 to be honest is an SEO person's tool belt. You'd be surprised how much you actually use it. And it's something that's very important as you work on your own SEO for your site or you work with clients.

But I'm going to go ahead and finish it off there with 301 redirects, there is a lot of great literature out there, again, like I said, if you want a more academic definition that you can quote, that's not kind of what I'm here to do. I would really encourage you to Google it, because I'm not going to memorize a definition like that, but I will tell you how it's used.

So if you guys found that valuable, if you liked what you saw, I would appreciate if you guys liked and subscribe, I'm going to go ahead and pour out my tea and then I hope to see you guys again soon. Thanks everybody. Ooh, that's good.

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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