Have you ever clicked on a link only to find that the destination page no longer exists? It’s a frustrating experience that leaves a sour taste in the users mind and also means a potential lost customer for the website owner.
This problem can occur for a number of reasons,
- The website owner changes the URL structure of their website
- The user follows an incorrectly formatted or truncated link
- The destination page no longer exists
Regardless of the reason, one of the best ways to capture this lost traffic is to implement a 301 redirect to help visitors find what they’re looking for. 301 redirects tell search engine spiders and web browsers that the destination page has “permamently moved” to a new address.
When visiting a page with an active 301 redirect, the web browser will automatically send visitors to the new page and spiders will gradually transfer the historical data of the URL (PageRank, link popularity etc.) to the new URL.
Here’s a visual description of how a 301 redirect works,
Using one of the examples above, let’s say another website is linking to your content using the address www.example.com/shoes/red with the address should be www.example.com/red-shoes.
To avoid losing these visitors, just implement a 301 redirect for the directory /shoes/red and point visitors to the correct directory /red-shoes. You’ll capture all visitors going to the incorrect URL and also give your correct page a boost in rankings from an additional backlink.
If you’re using a common CMS like wordpress, there are a number of plugins that can help you manage the redirects on your website. Otherwise, log in to your hosting account or speak with your provider to learn how to implement them on your website.