We've all had to change the structure of our websites from time to time. Our domain name changes, we add/remove things from the blog URL structure (e.g., the month/day) and we move around pages per the new plan. But if search engine traffic is important to you, you'll want to know about an important SEO tool used when content moves on your Squarespace site. You'll want to know about the 301 redirect.
What is a 301 Redirect?
If you've ever moved houses, you may have went through the effort to fill out a Change of Address form with the United States Postal Service. The post office had an updated record of where you lived and was therefore able to send your mail to your new address instead of your old one. The Change of Address form is like a 301 redirect.
When you move content around on your website, your content is changing addresses on the web. A 301 redirect provides a map from your old URLs to your new ones. When someone tries to visit a web page that has been 301 redirected, they are automatically taken to the new page.
Why Should I 301 Redirect for SEO?
When people link to your web pages, you're building SEO equity for that page and your website as a whole. The more links you have to your site, the more likely you are to rank for key search phrases. 301 redirects are the only way to retain SEO equity when URLs change on your website. If you think someone may have linked to a page you plan on moving, perform a 301 redirect.
Performing a 301 Redirect in Squarespace
Squarespace makes it pretty easy to create a 301 redirect. In fact, they automatically redirect your old content to your new Squarespace site if you use their blog importer. And for those redirects that you'd like to create manually, they provide an easy 301 redirect utility. Let's take a look.
To use the Squarespace 301 redirect tool, select the URL Shortcuts link from the Website Management menu.
Enter your old URL into the shortcut URL field and the new URL into the existing URL field. Select 301 Redirect from as the navigation method and then select Update information.
That's all there is to it. When someone tries to visit your old URL, they will be automatically redirected to your new URL. And the SEO equity you've built to your old page will pass through to your new page as well.
The scenarios for 301 redirects are endless. Moving web pages, changing publish dates of blog posts with dates in the URLs, changing blog URL structure to no longer contain dates at all... these are all great times to use a 301 redirect in Squarespace.
What questions do you have about 301 redirects? Be sure to leave your thoughts and questions on 301 redirects in Squarespace in the comments section below.