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301 Redirect Example

Today's Daily Golden Nugget is an example of how to create 301 redirects from your old website to your new website.

Many web design companies or consultants will build you a new jewelry website design without considering how it will destroy your current website's ranking.

We've covered the topic of "301 redirects" several times in our Nuggets and training. It is an important service that you need to ask your website guy to do. However you will need to do the redirects yourself if you've decided to do your website yourself or hire a young programmer.

So let's explain exactly how to create 301 redirects for your jewelry website.

First, you have to make a list of all the pages on your existing jewelry website. If you have a small website you could click through all your pages and copy the URL directly from your web browser. If you have a larger website you could use Google search to find your page.

Let's go through the clicking process first. We're actually going to use a real jewelry store for this demonstration, but we're changing the domain name to "" to maintain anonymity. Starting at the home page of the existing site we simply click all the links and copy the URL. This is what we get:

That's not actually the full list of pages found when simply clicking through all the pages of the current live site. The full list was too long to include.

Now let's take a look at to see if we missed any pages. In the search box we're typing "" and are surprised to see Google reports 485 pages! Ack! Let's dig in...

What you need to do is copy down all the URLs shown as green text on the SERP. If the URL is abbreviated or truncated, you will have to click into the page to get the URL. Otherwise, just copy it from the SERP.

After a quick glance at the SERP for this example, we realize that this website has undergone many changes but no one ever deleted or redirected dead pages. Google (and the rest of the internet) never forgets about pages even if you take them off your navigation menu.

Here are a few more pages we've found:

The Staff and Pandora pages were removed from the main navigation at some point. It turns out that there are a lot of blog pages. Thankfully, we don't need to 301 redirect those.

After you have the list of pages, you should open up a plain text editor and manually type out the 301 redirect file. The plain text editor for Windows is called Notepad and on a Mac it's TextEdit.

Here's the format of the redirect file:

Redirect 301 {old address} {new url}

Make sure to use a regular space as a separator rather than pressing Tab.

It would look like this:
Redirect 301 /bridal.php

Notice how the {old address} is just the old file name, but the {new url} is actually the full website address including the http:// and the

Here's what the full redirect file would look like, notice how we changed the page names for better SEO.

Redirect 301 /bridal.php
Redirect 301 /bridal_engring.php
Redirect 301 /bridal_buildring.php
Redirect 301 /4cs.php
Redirect 301 /bridal_weddingbands.php
Redirect 301 /watches.php
Redirect 301 /menswatches.php
Redirect 301 /ladieswatches.php
Redirect 301 /watchservice.php
Redirect 301 /designerjewelry.php
Redirect 301 /customdesigns.php
Redirect 301 /estatejewelry.php
Redirect 301 /jewelryandwatchcare.php
Redirect 301 /about.php
Redirect 301 /lookgooddogood.php
Redirect 301 /staff.php
Redirect 301 /pandora.php

Look carefully at those last 2. Since the old staff page was supposed to be deactivated we're redirecting it now to the new home page. Since the store no longer carries Pandora, we're directing that page to the new Designer Jewelry page.

Save your text file as the name .htaccess

Yes, that's a little bit of a strange name.... (dot)htaccess ... It's a special file name that web servers understand.

The last step is to give that file to your web programmer or upload it to your website yourself when your new website goes live. Assuming your website is configured correctly, the 301 redirects will go into effect immediately.

This simple example only took about an hour to write up, but if we were doing this for real it would take the better part of a day. Usually website companies will charge a premium to build these 301 redirects for you. Consider the cost as part of the preservation of your website history. Without it, you are starting from scratch every time you redesign your website.
AT: 08/10/2011 10:56:57 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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