If you’re a website owner, you may have come across the term “301 error” or “301 redirect” before.
These errors occur when a page on your website has been permanently moved to a new location, but the old URL is still being requested by visitors or search engines.
This can lead to a poor user experience and negatively impact your search engine rankings.
Fortunately, 301 redirects can help solve this problem.
By setting up a 301 redirect, you can automatically redirect visitors and search engines to the new URL, ensuring that they can still access the content they’re looking for.
In this article, we’ll explore what 301 errors are, why they matter, and how to fix them.
We’ll also discuss some common causes of 301 errors, such as site migrations, changes to your website’s URL structure, and incorrectly configured redirects.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to identify and fix 301 errors on your website, ensuring that your visitors can access your content and your search engine rankings remain intact.
Causes Of 301 Errors
301 errors occur when a requested page or resource has been permanently moved to a new URL.
There are several reasons why this may happen, including:
Incorrect URL Redirects
One common cause of 301 errors is incorrect URL redirects.
This can happen when a website owner changes the URL of a page without updating any internal or external links that point to the old URL.
When a user clicks on one of these outdated links, they will be redirected to the new URL, but the server will return a 301 error code to indicate that the resource has been permanently moved.
Another cause of 301 errors is server misconfigurations.
This can happen when a server is unable to properly handle a request due to a configuration error.
For example, if a server is configured to redirect all requests to a specific URL, but the redirect is not properly configured, it may result in a 301 error.
Finally, the outdated cache can also cause 301 errors.
When a user visits a website, their browser will often cache certain resources to improve performance.
However, if a resource has been permanently moved to a new URL since the user’s last visit, their browser may still try to access the old URL from its cache, resulting in a 301 error.
To fix 301 errors, it is important to identify the root cause of the error.
This may involve updating outdated links, correcting server configurations, or clearing browser cache.
Impact Of 301 Errors On SEO
When you move a page from one URL to another, you need to use a 301 redirect to tell search engines that the page has been permanently moved.
301 redirects have a significant impact on SEO, affecting everything from link equity to crawl budget.
Here are some of the ways that 301 errors can impact your SEO efforts:
When you move a page to a new URL, any links that point to the old URL will no longer be able to pass link equity to the new page.
However, by using a 301 redirect, you can tell search engines that the old URL has been permanently moved to the new URL, and that any links pointing to the old URL should be counted as links to the new URL.
This helps to preserve the link equity of the old page and pass it on to the new page.
When users click on a link that points to a page that has been permanently moved, they will be redirected to the new URL.
If the redirect is not set up properly, users may encounter errors or a slow page load time, leading to a poor user experience.
By using a 301 redirect, you can ensure that users are automatically redirected to the new URL, without encountering any errors or delays.
Search engines allocate a certain amount of crawl budget to each website, which determines how frequently they will crawl and index your pages.
When you use a 301 redirect, search engines will need to crawl both the old URL and the new URL to update their index.
This can use up a portion of your crawl budget, which could impact the frequency at which your pages are crawled and indexed.
By understanding the impact of 301 errors on SEO, you can take steps to ensure that your website is properly optimized and that your SEO efforts are not negatively impacted by page moves or deletions.
Sure, here is the section you requested:
How To Identify 301 Errors
Using SEO Tools
One of the easiest ways to identify 301 errors on your website is by using SEO tools.
There are many SEO tools available online that can help you identify 301 errors, including Google Search Console, Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMrush.
Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that can help you monitor your website’s search performance and identify any issues that may be affecting your website’s visibility in Google Search.
To identify 301 errors using Google Search Console, follow these steps:
- Log in to your Google Search Console account.
- Click on the “Coverage” tab.
- Look for any errors listed under the “Errors” section. If you see any errors listed, click on them to see more details about the error.
Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMrush are paid SEO tools that offer more advanced features than Google Search Console.
To identify 301 errors using these tools, follow the instructions provided by the tool’s documentation.
Another way to identify 301 errors on your website is by manually inspecting your website’s pages.
To do this, follow these steps:
- Open your website in a web browser.
- Navigate to each page on your website and check the URL in the address bar.
- If the URL in the address bar is different from the URL of the page you were expecting to see, you may have a 301 error.
You can also use a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your website and identify any 301 errors.
Screaming Frog is a paid tool that can help you identify a wide range of issues on your website, including broken links, duplicate content, and more.
By using SEO tools or manually inspecting your website, you can easily identify any 301 errors that may be affecting your website’s performance.
Once you have identified these errors, you can take steps to fix them and improve your website’s visibility in search engines.
Fixing 301 Errors
If you encounter a 301 error, the good news is that it’s usually fixable.
Here are some common solutions to try:
One common cause of 301 errors is outdated or incorrect redirects.
To fix this, you’ll need to update the redirect to point to the correct URL.
If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you can usually update redirects through a plugin or in the CMS’s settings.
If you’re not using a CMS, you’ll need to update the redirect manually in your website’s code.
Server Configuration Fixes
Another common cause of 301 errors is server misconfiguration.
To fix this, you’ll need to check your server configuration settings and make sure they’re correct.
Some common server configuration fixes include:
- Checking your .htaccess file for errors
- Checking your server’s DNS settings
- Checking your server’s SSL certificate
If you’ve updated your redirects or server configuration settings and you’re still seeing 301 errors, it’s possible that your browser or server cache is causing the issue.
To fix this, try clearing your browser cache and server cache. You can usually clear your browser cache through your browser’s settings.
To clear your server cache, you may need to contact your web host or server administrator.
By trying these solutions, you should be able to fix most 301 errors and ensure that your website is running smoothly.
Preventing 301 Errors
If you want to prevent 301 errors from occurring on your website, there are a few best practices you should follow.
Regular Website Audits
One of the best ways to prevent 301 errors is to conduct regular website audits.
This involves reviewing your website’s structure and content to identify any issues that could potentially cause 301 errors.
During your website audit, you should pay particular attention to your website’s URL structure.
Make sure that your URLs are descriptive and easy to understand, and that they accurately reflect the content of the pages they represent.
You should also check your website for broken links and missing pages.
If you find any broken links or missing pages, you should either fix them or create 301 redirects to ensure that visitors are directed to the correct pages.
Proper URL Mapping
Another key factor in preventing 301 errors is proper URL mapping.
This involves mapping your website’s URLs to the appropriate pages and content.
To do this, you should create a comprehensive list of all the pages on your website, along with their corresponding URLs.
You should then map each URL to the appropriate page or content.
When mapping your URLs, it’s important to ensure that each URL is unique and descriptive.
This will help search engines and visitors understand the content of your pages, and will also help prevent 301 errors from occurring.
By following these best practices, you can help prevent 301 errors from occurring on your website, and ensure that your visitors are able to easily find the content they’re looking for.
When it comes to managing URL changes without losing SEO value, 301 redirects are an important tool to have in your arsenal.
These redirects are permanent and tell search engines and web browsers that a page has moved to a new location.
By using a 301 redirect, you can ensure that users are directed to the new page and prevent them from encountering frustrating ‘404 Page Not Found’ errors.
Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind when working with 301 redirects:
- Use 301 redirects for permanent URL changes. This is important for preserving SEO value and ensuring that users are directed to the correct page.
- Make sure to update internal links to reflect the new URL. This will help ensure that users are directed to the correct page and that search engines can crawl and index the new page.
- Avoid chaining redirects. This can slow down page load times and negatively impact SEO.
- Test your redirects to ensure they are working correctly. Use tools like Google Search Console to monitor for any errors or issues.
By keeping these key takeaways in mind, you can effectively manage URL changes without losing SEO value and ensure that users are directed to the correct page.