How to Redirect a Web Page Using a 301 Redirect
By Herman Drost
You've just redesigned some pages of your web site. The pages have high search engine rankings that you
don't want to lose. How can you safely redirect web site traffic from your old pages to the new pages
without losing your rankings? You can do this by using a " 301 redirect"
What is 301 redirect?
301 redirect is the best method to preserve your current search engine rankings when redirecting web
pages or a web site. The code "301" is interpreted as "moved permanently". After the code, the URL of
the missing or renamed page is noted, followed by a space, then followed by the new location or file
name. You implement the 301 redirect by creating a .htaccess file.
What is a .htaccess file?
When a visitor/spider requests a web page, your web server checks for a .htaccess file. The .htaccess
file contains specific instructions for certain requests, including security, redirection issues and
how to handle certain errors.
How to implement the 301 Redirect
1. To create a .htaccess file, open notepad, name and save the file as .htaccess (there is no extension).
2. If you already have a .htaccess file on your server, download it to your desktop for editing.
3. Place this code in your .htaccess file:
redirect 301 /old/old.htm http://www.you.com/new.htm
4. If the .htaccess file already has lines of code in it, skip a line, then add the above code.
5. Save the .htaccess file
6. Upload this file to the root folder of your server.
7. Test it by typing in the old address to the page you've changed. You should be immediately taken to the new location.
Notes: Don't add "http://www" to the first part of the statement - place the path from the top
level of your site to the page. Also ensure that you leave a single space between these elements:
redirect 301 (the instruction that the page has moved)
/old/old.htm (the original folder path and file name)
http://www.you.com/new.htm (new path and file name)
When the search engines spider your site again they will follow the rule you have created in your
.htaccess file. The search engine spider doesn't actually read the .htaccess file, but recognizes the
response from the server as valid.
During the next update, the old file name and path will be dropped and replaced with the new one.
Sometimes you may see alternating old/new file names during the transition period, plus some fluctuations
in rankings. According to Google it will take 6-8 weeks to see the changes reflected on your pages.