A 301 redirect is a server side, permanent redirect, which automatically sends users to a different URL from the one they typed into their browser, or selected from a search engine results page.
Without a redirect in place if you delete a page on your website and your users try to access that page, they will be served a 404 error message which is annoying and frustrating. To remedy this, the addition of a 301 redirect will permanently redirect the original URL to the new one and ensure your users get to the content they are are looking for.
As well as aiding user experience 301 redirects are essential for SEO. If a search engine finds a 301 redirect when crawling your website, it indicates to them the need to remove the original URL from their index and replace it with the new one. In addition, the new page will adopt the SEO value of the original page - over time the search engines will credit the new page with the rankings, backlinks, page authority and trust of the original URL.
301 redirects are important for when individual page URL’s change, but they become even more vital if you’re rebuilding your site with a new URL structure or are changing your domain entirely.
It is critical to observe best practice, including an effective 301 strategy in order to maintain domain authority and protect SEO value.
Find out the difference between permanent HTML redirects and other forms of redirect and why it’s important to use the right option for your project.