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The Importance of 301 Redirects
5 CommentsMonday, 18 February 2013 | Rich
When you change a page URL on your site, you run the risk of causing damage to your site's SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If the URL being changed is already indexed by Google, changing the URL will result in a 404 (Not Found) error next time Google visits the page. Even though the page still exists, Google doesn't know where it is and will consider it to have been removed. The page's place in the index (and any link authority it had) will be gone.
Link authority can be defined as the quantity and quality of incoming links to a page from external sites, along with the relevance of those links to the page content. Needless to say, it takes a long time to build link authority and a simple URL change to wipe it out entirely! Along with the SEO impact, there is also the loss of traffic from human visitors finding the old link and being served with a 404 error page.
Does this mean that you should never change any of the URLs throughout your site? No, not at all, there is a very simple solution! A 301 redirect is, technically, a specially formatted line of text which is placed in the site's .htaccess file, a special file which runs on the server every time a page is requested.
It has always been possible to add 301 redirects to a Bluepark site via the Configuration section, on the Site Options tab, at the bottom of the page. Now, however, your Admin Console will prompt you whenever you change a page URL relating to a standard page, a blog category or post, a product or a category. If you accept the recommendation, the redirect will be added to your .htaccess file automatically. You can see that it has been added by viewing Configuration: Site Options, where you can make further additions or modifications as necessary.
If you've only just created the page, there is no need to worry about adding a 301 redirect. You only need to do this if the page has already been indexed by search engines, or if the link has been published in some way and is already in use.
We trust that all of our clients will find this feature very helpful in keeping their site's pages indexed and ranking well, whatever their URLs may be!