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Web Site Redirection - How to Implement a 301 Redirect

You just created a new web site but want to pass on the search engine rankings of the old one to the new one. What is the most effective and spider/visitor friendly strategy to implement your web site redirection? You should use a 301 redirect.

What is a 301 redirect?

It is used when you want to redirect your web site or web pages. 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.

Requirements for using a 301 redirect

Apache server.
Most hosting services used these days have Apache servers. Check with your host if you are not sure.

.htaccess file
When a search engine spider requests a web page, your web server will check for an .htaccess file. The .htaccess file contains specific directions that are processed then sent back to the browser.

How do I implement a 301 redirect?

1. Create an .htaccess file - you can use Notepad to create the file. Remember to insert a period at the beginning of the file name with no extension at the end (ie .htaccess).

2. Create a line of code that reads like this:

Redirect permanent /

The first "/" indicates that everything from the top level of the site down should be redirected.

All current links within the search engine results from the old site will redirect to the top level of your new site.

If you already have an .htaccess file on your server, open it up in Notepad and look for lines of code that are there. If lines of code are present, don't change any of them but leave a space, then insert the above 301 redirect code.

3. Save the .htaccess file to your root directory and upload it to your server.

4. Test it out by typing in the old web site address. You should immediately be redirected to your new web site address.

Redirecting a Web Page

The above example shows how to redirect a whole web site. What if you want to just redirect a web page that you have changed but want to keep the rankings of the old page?

Follow the same steps as above but write the code like this:

redirect 301 /old/old.htm

/old/old.htm (the original folder path and file name) (new path and file name)

When the search engine spiders visit your old web site or web pages, they will automatically be redirected to the new web site or web page.

It may take several weeks or months for the old rankings to be passed on to the new site. Therefore don't remove your old domain name, web site or web pages just yet.

Herman Drost is the Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner and author of - Affordable Web Site Design and Web Hosting. Subscribe to his "Marketing Tips" newsletter for more original articles. Read more of his in-depth articles at:

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