Redirects are an important SEO tactic, used to patch up holes in the fabric of your website.
Protecting Landing pages
Say Google puts one of your web pages into search results (ie it becomes a landing page), so it is likely that searchers will see and visit that page. All is good.
You then unceremoniously remove that page, or change its URL address. Google will still display the original address in search results (sometimes for quite a while). Visitors who click the search result will see a page not found error because that page no longer exists
So, you are likely to loose that client, but wait there’s more!
Google is likely to:
- Remove that page from search results
You loose a valuable organic landing page and all the subsequent traffic it may have delivered to your site into the future.
- De-rate site because now its got errors
Google doesn’t like poor quality content (which includes errors)
Woe is you! Not only did you loose a lead and probably all future leads to that page, but now Google has punished your site and you’re likely to loose even more leads.
Here’s another scenario where 301 redirects can save your site. Let’s assume that someone had kindly put a back link to the landing page mentioned above. This is gold because Google likes them, and frankly its probably one of the reasons the page is a landing page anyway.
People going to the remote site might click on the back link to your site; discover your products and services. Instant sales leads from that back link. Wow!
Then you decide to remove the page or change its URL as per our scenario above. The backlink doesn’t connect to a page in your site anymore. It goes no-where. Google’s love of your site is reduced because you lost that backlink and maybe others. Even would-be sales prospects from the remote site can’t click through to your site anymore so they go and buy elsewhere. Dark days Trev.
This is where the 301 redirects can save your website’s SEO credability. Patching previous landing pages or back link inbound pages to real pages will preserve their status. Importantly using a 301 redirect (permanent) instead of temporary (302) or refresh redirects ensures search engines remain happy with your patching.
301 redirects are The SEO Marketer’s friend