Sometimes it is simply impossible for businesses to maintain their URL structure on their website redesign. It can be devastating for a business if they do not set up their URL structure correctly. A 301 redirect will attempt to pass some of that power from the old URL over to the new one. There are many ways you can do this depending on your site structure.
What is a 301 Redirect?
From the eyes of the search engine the “301” lets them know that a page has been moved to a new destination or URL. This allows your website to try and maintain some of that URL power without losing rankings that can sometimes happen when URL structures are changed. You will need access to your .htaccess file to complete this task. You have a few different ways to set this up depending on how it is that you are constructing your site. If you don’t have an .htaccess file in your root directory, open a new text file and create one. If you do have one there, open it for editing. At the bottom of the file add this line
redirect 301 /old/old.htm http://www.yourwebsite.com/newfile.htm
What this does is it tells the search engines there is a new path way for those old URLs and it properly carries visitors to the new path way or file. If you do not have a .htaccess file you will have to create a new one in notepad and save it to the root folder of your server. What you have to do is now wait a little bit for Google to go through an update to make sure it goes through properly. Don’t be worried if you see the domains doing some wacky things in the search results because this is a common when you first start a 301 redirect. It usually takes about 4-6 weeks for everything to appear in the search results how it should.
Does this always pass over your link power? No. It is however the safest possible way to launch a new website and keep all the power and work you might have done marketing your prior website. What you don’t want to happen is for your search rankings to fall off the face of the earth due not properly implementing your 301 redirect.