Building a new site? Don’t forget 301 redirects

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We’re involved in several website redesigns at the moment, as a result of that and a few SEO conversation I’ve been having recently I thought I’d post about the importance of the 301 redirect.

Maintaining your SEO value should be a key part of a new website project (and ideally enhancing it!). As well as getting the copy right, and re-researching the right keywords for the right pages etc you should worry about maintaining your relationship with Google.

Critical to this is making sure that if URLs are changing you’re not going to loose the value the old page had. (In an ideal world the URL would stay the same, but this isn’t always possible either due to technology or budget!).

For example on our current website (one of the redesigns we have underway) we have a page about our strategic reviews of online businesses at this URL:

On the new site it’s going to a sub-category of a different page to where it currently is, and so will gain it’s parent category’s name in the URL eg:

So we want to make sure we maintain the SEO value of the current URL (plus make sure anyone following the link above still finds the right page. To do this we need to set up a 301 redirect – a permanent redirect that Google’s spiders will follow, and pass on the value they attributed to the old page.

So what do you need to do to make sure you get all these redirects right?

1. Make a list of all the URLs you’re currently using on your site

2. Decide where you want those to point on your new site

3. Breif that to your developers

4. TEST IT! You must make sure it happens, there’s too much at stake not too.