Implementing a 301 redirect solution on your WordPress website is extremely important for a number of reasons:
- You might be about to go through a site migration and change a bunch of URLs from an old domain name or an old post;
- You might be trying to consolidate low-quality pages on your website to generate more traffic and bring them together into a larger, better quality page or a new site;
- You might have a seasonal campaign that just ended and you want to redirect users to a new one that is more relevant;
I will show you exactly how to correctly create and verify a 301 redirect on WordPress (without needing to manually edit your htaccess file via FTP) and preserve as much SEO link juice as possible. We’re going to be doing this with a 301 redirects plugin (not the Yoast SEO plugin that many use for WordPress SEO).
Before that though, make sure you have a backup of your website on hand because, if you make a mistake, there is a small chance you may unintentionally cause some pages to become unavailable depending on how your website is structured and the rules that you setup.
First of all, let’s go through the high-level overview of the entire process:
- The goal: To properly implement and test simple 301 redirects on a WordPress site
- The ideal outcome: Your page will redirect to the page you’d like it to, and is no longer displaying a 404 status code or old content. So both the users and the search engines are being forwarded to the new location of your choice.
- The prerequisites: This exact process only applies to WordPress.org sites.
- The importance of this action: Having users and search engines experience a 404 or getting outdated content is obviously bad, so you want to avoid this as much as possible.
- Where this is done: This is done in your WordPress admin panel.
- When this is done: Anytime you detect 404 errors on your website. Or anytime you’re consolidating pages. If you have a large number of low-quality URLs that are all kind of about the same topic, it’s actually a very good, healthy thing for your website to kill a lot of those pages and point them to a new, updated version of that content.
- Who does this: Whoever’s responsible for website management, SEO, whoever’s managing the technical stuff on your site.
This walkthrough includes the most common ways to implement redirects:
- Redirecting a single page
- Redirecting an entire subpath to a specific page
- Moving to a new URL structure
Continue reading below to learn how to do each one.