Have you ever come across a “404 Page Not Found”?
Well, of course, you have.
Then you know that it made you lose interest in visiting the site again when you can clearly see that something is broken.
For these reasons, it is very important to redirect your URLs (there are a whole lot of reasons that we will touch on in just a few moments).
Sooner or later, you will be faced with the need to do a 301 redirect on some segments of your site.
I will be discussing what exactly redirects are, why they are important and I will give you a good plugin that you can use to great effect!
Not only will this plugin help you redirect your URLs, but it will also help you with organizing and planning future redirects more efficiently than some other redirect plugin.
What is redirecting anyway?
Do you want to redesign your entire site, change up the category system and sort out what posts go where?
If your answer is yes to any of the above-mentioned things, then your buddy is in need of redirecting!
If you do not want to lose visitors because they have been hit by a “404 Page Not Found” then you really are in need of redirecting.
Not only will it hurt your visitors and traffic to your site, but it will also decrease your site authority when it comes to Google.
That’s right, Google does not like it if you do not redirect your URLs because it makes you look less professional and incompetent. It also makes you lose your pages rank in the long run, so keep that in mind also (especially if you are writing SEO).
So, basically, what you are doing by redirecting your URLs is telling search engines like Google where the site has been moved to so that Google knows where it has to analyze the SEO and where visitors will end up at.
So, let’s say someone has a certain URL saved or bookmarked and somewhere down the line you have changed the URL to something else.
When that person clicks that old URL, he will be led to a “404 Page Not Found”.
When you redirect the URL to go to the new URL, the user clicks the old URL and it will then, in turn, redirect them to the new URL.
When do you want to redirect?
When you make minor changes like deleting an old blog post, changing up the design of the site, reshuffling the category system, or you want to make some general changes to the URL. All of these things, be they big or small, require you to redirect them at the end of the day.
It is crucial that you redirect your URLs that you have altered or changed, but it is also very important that you do it right the first time.
It is worth your time and patience and it will prove to be beneficial to your site in the long run, but if you “screw” it up, then you might have more problems.
By this, I mean that you have to be careful to not get a “Soft 404”. This occurs when you redirect a URL to a contradictory URL on to something that does not make sense.
For example, the first URL is talking about German cars and you redirect it to a URL that is about Russian trucks. Google is not foolish or stupid and it will recognize that something does not add up and will then put a soft 404 on them.
How to quickly and easily do a 301 redirect?
What you want to do is just simply download and install a plugin that will help you out with your redirecting endeavors. And that plugin is “301 Redirects – Easy Redirect Manager”. As already said, it is quick, simple, and light on your site.
It does the job very nicely and everything is laid out in an organized fashion with a very friendly user interface. The user reviews are over the top and the customer service will more than surely fix your problems if you arrive at any setbacks. I still cannot stress it enough how fast it is to redirect your URLs.
If you are a big or small site, this plugin will prove to be more than handy when you will need to do some redirecting.
Why? Because it is easy to use, and you can teach someone to do it in no time.
Plus, it has an import/export feature for bulk redirects management.
That comes really in handy when you have a whole metric ton of redirects on your site (trust me you will have quite the number of them).
So, what did we learn today?
It is very important to redirect your URLs when you make small or big changes to the site.
In the long run, it is very advisable that you redirect your site whenever possible.
Just make sure that you do it right and that you don’t mess up with what is redirected to where, because as I have already stated, Google will see that something does not add up and he will, in turn, declare that URL as a soft 404.
Take your time with it and no stress, but just get it done.
Because if you don’t, it will hurt your site authority and lower your pages rank by a lot (especially if you do not redirect multiple URLs), and you definitely don’t want that, right? Right.