Mastering the Art of 301 Redirects in WordPress
Have you recently changed your WordPress site’s URL structure or moved domains? Do you wish to keep your search engine rankings, avoid broken links, and ensure a seamless user experience for your visitors? Then you must set up a 301 redirect!
What is a 301 Redirect?
When a user attempts to access a page on your website or enters a URL into their browser, they send a request to your server to display the content at that location. However, if the page doesn’t exist, they will receive a 404 error page, which can be frustrating for your visitors.
Setting up a 301 redirect is a server-side way of informing the user’s browser that the content they’re looking for has permanently moved to a different location. This redirects both users and search engines to the new URL without displaying the 404 error page. It’s a graceful way of redirecting visitors to the new location of the content they were trying to access.
Why Do You Need to Set Up a 301 Redirect?
If you move your website or change your URL structure without setting up a 301 redirect, a few problems may arise. For example:
- Users visiting your site will experience broken links
- Your search engine rankings could decrease
- Visitors searching for your old URL will receive a 404 error page
By setting up a 301 redirect, you can prevent these issues and ensure that users and search engines can access your site and its content without any problems.
How to Set Up a 301 Redirect in WordPress
Setting up a 301 redirect in WordPress is simple, and you can do it using various plugins. The two most popular options are Yoast SEO and Redirection Plugin.
A. How to Set Up a 301 Redirect with Yoast SEO
- Install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin from the WordPress plugin repository
- Head to the SEO > Tools > Redirects page in your WordPress dashboard and enable the redirects module
- Click the “Add new redirect” button and enter the “Source URL” and “Target URL”
- Choose “301 Moved Permanently” under “Redirect type” and click “Save.”
B. How to Set Up a 301 Redirect with Redirection Plugin
- Install and activate the Redirection plugin from the WordPress plugin repository
- Go to “Tools” > “Redirection” in your WordPress dashboard, and click on “Add New”
- Fill in the “Source URL” and “Target URL” fields and choose the “301 Permanent” option under “Action”
- Click “Add Redirect” to save your new redirect
Testing Your Redirect
Once you have set up your 301 redirect, it’s essential to test it to ensure that it works correctly. This can be done in many ways:
- Use a redirect checker tool: Free tools like Redirect Checker can help you verify that your 301 redirects are set up correctly.
- Test URLs manually: Copy and paste recently redirected URLs to your browser to confirm that the redirect works as expected and directs you to the correct new URL
- Scan for broken links: Use a broken link checker tool to scan your site for broken links.
As a site owner, setting up a 301 redirect in WordPress is critical if you’ve moved your site to a new domain or made any changes to your URL structure. The process is straightforward and can be done using popular WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO and Redirection Plugin. A 301 redirect is a must-have feature that helps you avoid broken links, maintain your search engine rankings, and provide a seamless user experience for your visitors.